An unexpected rise in the number of incoming calls is one of the top challenges that every call centre manager faces once in a while. Sometimes the reasons are understood–even projected. However in many scenarios such spikes in call volume comes are unexpected.
Managing high number of incoming calls is a challenging task. While inbound call centre do keep a margin for managing such a situation, in most cases, such a preparation falls short to control the influx. This results in disappointed customers and stressed customer care reps at the workplace.
A recent study conducted by Parature, a customer service software powered by Microsoft, revealed that customer expectations are on the rise. 68% of customers have stopped to deal with a business due to poor customer experience and 56% have higher expectations for customer service now than they had earlier.
Read Also: 5 Best Examples of Good Customer Service
To ensure that your customer experience doesn’t suffer from high in-call volume, you can consider the following best practices.
Forecasting: Forecasting is an important aspect to consider when it comes to tackling overflow of calls. Though it is a basic requirement, but some managers do not follow this and blame other scenarios for high call volume. Even more, there are strict patterns to certain spikes, this important aspect is missing in several call centres. For example, some spikes occur in the morning time, evening time, Sundays and during mega events. To control the in-call volume during such time periods, it is important to perform a careful observation of the spikes patterns. In addition, call centre managers should employ professional tools and methods that work best for optimisation of customer service.
Adequate staffing: It is the key to offer a great customer service. Most of the outsourced vendors that offer inbound call centre services will often hire temporary or seasonal staff to handle influx of incoming calls. Such temporary team of customer care reps– that could be increased as per the needs–is provided with basic training on the most common call types and processes. In that manner, it minimises the pressure on your permanent staff as well as the cost of extended training.
Integration with sales team: In an organisation, teamwork plays a major role in handling unexpected scenarios. Close coordination between the marketing team and customer care team could resolve issues when call spikes occur and lead to better strategies. It is important to involve customer care staff in marketing activities. This will help the customer service team to understand possible queries that probably customers might ask, and respond them in an appropriate way.
Call-back technology: With the help of call-back technology, customer queries can be resolved efficiently. It is generally done by utilising ticketing technology to enable a customer to have a call-back. When the in-call volume rises, call centres could request callers to send an SMS or email with some instructions, a code which will register the type of the query and the deadline to have a call-back. If done properly, this technology decreases the customer frustration waiting in a queue and also provides flexibility to the agents to find out the solution that resolves customer complaints.
Flexible deployment plan: An action plan is very crucial to handle spikes in the call centre. For example, the plan could fix deployment based on the call queue size. 10 calls in a queue means cancellation of meetings while 25 calls in a queue means cancellation of training programs and short breaks.
Integrate self-service channels: In this technology era, there are many options available to curb spikes. So, you can integrate self-service options, such as IVR, regular updates on social media, SMS, emails, web chats and detailed FAQs in your system to reduce overflow of calls. Outsourced vendors that offer inbound call centre service should incorporate self-service channels to deliver great experience to customers.
In a nutshell, irrespective of the challenges, call centre managers acknowledge that in-call volume is a good thing and reflect a company’s efforts in marketing and outreaching wide audience. Effective management of this challenging task will surely transform it into a great business opportunity.