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Businesses that close or change their schedules in an emergency are often left in the dust with their plain old telephone service lines. With an easy to use and easy to update VoIP system, you’ll be able to keep your customers in the loop. Whether you are redirecting calls, closing for the day, or closing until further notice, you’ll have the ability to let you callers know exactly what is going on. The best part is, there are two convenient ways to make any of these changes, or utilize any of these features. You can make all of these changes yourself by logging into your CallHarbor manager portal. If you simply don’t want to stress about it, you can give us a call and we’ll take care of it for you! Let’s look at a few different tips for keeping customers informed during emergencies.

Tip 1: Update Your Auto-Attendants to Keep Callers Informed

Updating your auto attendant is one of the easiest and quickest ways to keep customer informed when they call in. You can build out your auto attendant to direct callers correctly. Your business has the option to change the greeting of the auto attendant to let your callers know new hours, contacts, etc. If you live in an area that frequents weather emergencies, you can build out auto attendants in preparation for the emergencies. It’s an easy way to prepare. You can simply turn on the auto attendant from your user portal, or give us a call and we will turn it on for you.

Example:

“Due to today’s weather emergency, we will be closed today and tomorrow. We will reopen on Saturday at our normal hours of 11am – 10pm. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please visit our website to make any reservations, or press 1. Press 2 to reach catering. Press 3 to hear our specials of the month. Thank you.”

Tip 2: Have Your Auto-Attendant Direct Callers Elsewhere

One great way to utilize your auto-attendant during an emergency is by directing callers elsewhere. If you have more information on your website, let people know there will be constant updates. If you are utilizing social media, you can let callers know to check in there. Your business may have multiple locations and if one or some of them are not being affected by the emergency, you can redirect callers to those locations for answering questions or getting more information. If you offer services such as support, billing, or sales on your website, let callers know they can still complete these actions. If possible, you want to give callers options so they don’t feel stuck or helpless.

Example:

“Thank you for calling ABC Co. Due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, we’re experiencing longer than normal hold times. For faster service, you can visit our website for support, sales, and billing needs. If you have questions regarding your account, please reach out via live chat or send us an email at support@abcco.com.”

Tip 3: Create a Separate Emergency Number

New challenges and new situations require new solutions. Creating a dedicated channel for your customers to use during emergencies shows that you care. Having dedicated channels for these situations will enhance your customer service, while also streamlining your support. This will also redirect emergency traffic away from your regular support line, so that both sections of callers can get the care they need.

CallHarbor gives you local numbers for free, so you can get a specially dedicated emergency hotline for no extra charge. It will be good to have a separate number/hotline where you can put information about how your business is handling the emergency and have agents dedicated to answering questions and concerns related to the emergency. You can use this to battle misinformation, and make sure your customers have the proper data, info, instruction, etc.

Example:

“Thank you for calling ABC Co. In response to the increased volume of calls due to the tornado warnings, we’ve created a hotline dedicated to issues related to XYZ. Please dial 1-248-123-4567 or press 8 now to be transferred to that line. For non-weather emergency related issues, please remain on the line.”

Tip 4: Utilize SMS/MMS to Keep Clients Informed

Using SMS/MMS is convenient and easy. You can set up SMS on two different levels. By utilizing it on a user basis, or by allowing queue texting, your business can enjoy the advantages that come with business SMS. You can allow customers to text into a queue, such as support, or a dedicated emergency queue, and agents can answer and talk with them through the CallHarbor portal. If you are utilizing SMS on a user level, that specific user or extension can text out from the portal or from the CallHarbor mobile app. Even better, business SMS is included in your CallHarbor plan for free so you don’t have to worry about any extra charges on your end.

If you’re providing care or relief to your clients right now, consider reaching out to them via text. While normal conditions would require you to consider the norm of asking before you start texting, some of these norms must be discarded. If you are texting out, your text messages should be keeping your clients informed and essential during these times.

Read our blog article here to see how chat and SMS improve your customer service always, not just during an emergency!

Example:

“Hey Name, this is your real estate agent. Unfortunately due to the weather emergency this weekend, your house showing got canceled. Please give me a call or text if you have any questions or concerns! I’ll be sure to keep you informed.”