Telephone marketing firm offers business tips on handling coronavirus calls

KALAMAZOO—The coronavirus outbreak is boosting traffic on telephone systems, according to Kalamazoo-based Easy On Hold, provider of telephone greetings and on hold marketing messages.

The company urged crisis managers to not overlook the phone in their integrated communications strategy and to use the latest streaming phone on hold technology for faster information updates for callers.

“The coronavirus scare is causing certain segments of our customer base to be overwhelmed with inbound calls from worried customers—health care and travel in particular,” said CEO Julie Brown. “Callers are reaching out to get immediate answers and to talk with a real human, but if the contact center isn’t properly staffed, calls are put on hold without the right information or experience, or sent to voicemail. That’s unsettling in a crisis situation.”

Brown says crisis communication managers should include the phone system in their strategy. “Think through all the possible caller expectations and messaging that you may possibly need in a crisis, including contact center staffing, phone tree design, even the recordings you’ll require, and how you’ll achieve them,” she said. “Many companies want their customers and stakeholders to know that they do have a robust communications plan in place.”

Brown says that her company is coaching her clients to focus on four aspects when it comes to managing callers: Get Front of It, Be Current, Be Brief, Be Repetitive.

Streaming phone on hold and contact center queue technology developed by Easy On Hold “allows communications managers to create crisis messaging scenarios in advance, pre-loaded to play on a certain schedule or on the fly,” Brown said. “Streaming technology also allows them to program emergency messages to play more often than other content. In a crisis situation, that’s important control for the corporate communications team.”

Brown advised communications managers to “manage the caller experience well and you will earn trust and loyalty, and maintain control of their brand’s messaging. Your caller picked up the phone to talk to you because they’re anxious. Reassure them with current information and confidence that you’ve thought of everything—including their calls.”

Easy On Hold was founded in 1997 and claims the telecom industry’s first on hold streaming system in 2013. More at https://easyonhold.com/.

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