Online retail is predicted to be a big winner this holiday season. The National Retail Federation forecasts online sales to increase by 7 to 10 percent over 2016 to as much as $117 billion.

As more holiday shoppers shift from shopping in the store to buying online, there’s little doubt that your ecommerce customer engagement center will be getting more phone calls, emails, and requests to chat than ever before. How can you prepare? Here are four tips to get you started.

Staff Right

Getting your staffing balance right is a must. You’ll either have excessive hold times or fewer holiday profits if it’s not. To help you estimate the call center staffing mix:

  • Review historical peak season contact center data,
  • Take into account projected growth, promotions, and sales, and
  • Match against service level goals.

Brand and Product

Your call center is often the first one-to-one interaction your customer has with your online store. Help your agents become your ambassador by helping them understand your mission, core vision, and values. Give your agents an understanding of your brand voice and persona so they can provide the level of interaction your customers expect.

Product knowledge is equally as important. In addition to including it in your training mix, consider having your top-selling or newly introduced products in your call center so agents can interact with them.

Enjoy the Season

Customers, associates, and colleagues are all busy personally and professionally. Keep that in mind as you prepare for the season. Outline your peak season expectations relating to your call center agents’ pace, quality, morale-building activities, etc.

Keep an eye out for burnout. As interactions increase, so does the stress on our associates. Plan to make the season a success for everyone involved.

Don’t Forget About Returns

Returns and exchanges are a top concern for many online shoppers, especially when buying gifts. Whether it returns policy questions or deadlines in place for full refunds, give your agents the information they need to guide your customers through the process.