High call volume is when your business receives more calls than it typically does. And all businesses with phone customer service or technical support departments will experience unexpected spikes in call volume at some point in time.
If your business is not equipped to handle a call surge, you risk customer dissatisfaction as well as employee frustration. The former will harm your bottom line, while the latter can lead to burnout and, eventually, high attrition rates.
To avoid this, you need to have a strategy to handle an unexpected increase in the number of incoming calls. Here are five ways your business can expertly handle a high volume of phone calls, so you can keep both your customers and your agents happy.
Call Tracking & Call Spike Forecasting
To determine what causes spikes in call volume, businesses should not rely on guesses or gut feelings. Gathering historical data and looking for patterns is a much more reliable way to determine what causes phones to ring off the hook and when these events typically happen.
This will give you a better understanding of call volume trends, which factors contribute to spikes, and how many calls you should expect within a given time frame. You must use your weekly and monthly forecasts as the foundation for your staffing and scheduling decisions.
Ensuring Sufficient Staffing for Call Spikes
Once you have a good idea of how many calls your business is likely to receive, you can make informed decisions regarding scheduling.
For example, if your data shows that calls frequently spike on the last day of the workweek, you should have more employees handling the phones on Fridays. You can also cut costs by having fewer employees on duty on days when call volumes are likely low.
If your data shows that your business doesn’t have enough employees to handle your anticipated call volume, then it’s time to start hiring. No matter how hardworking your staff is, if the numbers—headcount and volume—don’t align, then you risk lower quality and efficiency.
Training & Equipping Your Team for Call Spikes
An employee who isn’t knowledgeable about your products or services and isn’t well-trained in call handling will only contribute to unmanageable call volume instead of help with it.
If the employee cannot deliver the first call resolution (FCR), this will result in the customer phoning back until they get a solution. Also, if they take too long on a call, this affects another metric, average handling time (AHT). This results in fewer calls being answered within their shift.
Making sure your staff are experts on your product or service is just the first step. They also need to be trained on call handling, managing AHT, and customer service.
Providing Self-Service & Callback Options
When call volumes spike, making sure everyone who calls your business gets to talk to a real person is difficult, if not impossible. To avoid delays, businesses may consider offering self-service options.
Customer self-service allows callers to get answers and solutions independently, without the need for human interaction. Examples are phone menus, chatbots, FAQs, and tutorials.
However, keep in mind that relying too heavily on self-service may put off your customers. In a survey by Clutch, almost 90% of respondents stated that they prefer speaking to a live agent.
Another option is to offer callbacks to your customers. You may inform them of this option via your website, chat service, or phone menu.
Outsourcing to a Call Center Agency
For many businesses, hiring and training more agents or investing in new hardware and software is not feasible, budget-wise. A more cost-effective alternative is outsourcing to a call center agency.
Outsourcing allows your business to provide your customers with access to live support even during periods of high volume. A call center agency will deploy agents to take calls, answer questions, and provide solutions to your customers.
When you outsource, you do not have to make a massive investment in new hardware, software, and training. The people who will answer your calls will be trained by the agency and equipped with the tools they need to help you achieve your customer support goals.