Contact center managers are, at their core, problem-solvers. One of the most challenging problems they often face is dealing with unpredictable spikes in call volume. Sometimes the causes of call spikes are understood, even anticipated. Yet, in many cases, these periods of peak call volume come as a real shock to everyone in the contact center. For example, a marketing event promoting a product sale would be an easy predictor for an influx in calls, whereas an unexpected power outage or sudden bout of the flu in the contact center isn’t something that can be readily planned for. Or is it?
Tag Archives: call-volume-spikes
After the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, calls to Air Canada’s customer service prompted a recording that said call volume had “temporarily exceeded the company’s capacity to answer or even place callers on hold.” While this was an extreme event, every call center faces the same problem at one time or another: Unpredictable spikes in call volume. These causes can be understood, even anticipated. However, as in the case of Air Canada, these peak periods can also come as a shock to the system.
While today’s tech-savvy consumers are using more non-voice channels to connect with businesses, the act of picking up the phone to quickly and verbally resolve an issue (complex or otherwise) isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The problem is that when calls spike, hold times spike, too. The effect of this on the customer experience is significant: 60% of customers will abandon a call after just one minute of waiting on hold. A quick glance at onholdwith.com confirms how much hold times infuriate consumers. If you want to improve customer loyalty and keep your CSAT scores healthy, you’ll need to make sure you have the right safety nets in place.
Every call center faces the problem of unpredictable spikes in call volume. Sometimes the causes are understood, even anticipated. However, in many cases these peak periods come as a shock to the system. The reality is that voice remains the most preferred channel for customers, but its popularity comes at a price: long hold times.
Unfortunately, the effect of this on the customer experience is significant: 60% of customers will abandon a call after just one minute of waiting on hold. If you want to improve customer loyalty and keep your CSAT scores healthy, you’ll need to make sure you have the right safety nets in place. Continue reading →
The call center experience is under great scrutiny from today’s consumers. There are many ways to fall short of their expectations. One surefire way of doing so is to put callers on hold. Tolerance for long wait times has been getting lower and lower. If the wait is longer than a few minutes, callers will complain to your agents (leading to longer handle times) and they will vent on social media (see onholdwith.com). Not good.
On the other hand, call center managers have to be cost-conscious in their approach to staffing. Hold times are often a simple consequence of a limited budget for agents. Luckily, there is a way to lessen the impact of hold times, without hiring agents: Offer your callers a call-back instead.
You can add call-back functionality to your call center through an independent vendor (like Fonolo) or through your existing call center platform, if it is available. Let’s look at the pros and cons of both options. Continue reading →
In a perfect world, your contact center would never put callers on hold. If hold time is unavoidable, the next best thing to do is offer a call-back option. Removing the frustration of hold time will lead to happier callers. For many contact centers, this improvement in the customer experience is the primary, or even sole, motivation for adding call-backs. (If you need a reminder of how much callers dislike waiting on hold, just take a moment to scan the tweets at onholdwith.com.) But there’s another angle to this story.
When deployed correctly, call-backs can deliver concrete ROI through several paths: lowered abandon rates, shorter handle time, reduced telco cost and more consistent call volume. In this new eBook, we’ll present these paths to ROI one-by-one, and walk through the calculation needed to build a business case for your organization. To make the math easier to follow, this document will use a fictitious company “ExampleCo” for all the calculations. It will draw from our experiences deploying Fonolo’s cloud-based call-backs, but the concepts are equally applicable to any call-back solution. Continue reading →
Consumers today are more demanding than ever, especially when it comes to the call center experience. If you leave callers on hold, they will complain to your agents (leading to longer handle times) and they will vent on social media.
Meanwhile, call centers are under pressure to live up to these expectations while keeping costs contained. If your company has long wait times, and if you don’t have the budget to staff up, you should consider adding a call-back solution.
Simply put, replacing hold-time with a call-back is the closest thing to a “magic bullet” that you’ll find in the call center world.
Monday: It’s the start of a new week and everyone is back to reality, trying to check everything off their “To-Do” lists. The problem? Mondays are notorious for high agent absenteeism. Whether it’s falling ill or just wanting to extend the weekend, being understaffed on Monday’s is commonplace in the contact center world. This, coupled with high call volume, can create a major meltdown for any call center.
However, there is a rather simple solution that can help smooth out those dreaded spikes in call volume, while making life easier for those agents who showed up to work.
Call centers are under a lot of pressure to deliver on consumer expectations while keeping costs contained. That central challenge was there even before social media, chat, and email showed up to complicate matters. Those alternate channels have taken some pressure off of voice calls, but the flip side of that is that the calls that do end up with an agent require more time and effort. As a result, many companies still have long wait times to speak to an agent. If you don’t have the budget to staff up, another option you should consider is call-backs.
Simply put, replacing hold-time with a call-back is the closest thing to a “magic bullet” that you’ll find in the call center world. Call-backs make callers happier, and agents more efficient!
One industry report that we always anticipate at this time of year is the annual “Contact Center Decision Maker’s Guide” from ContactBabel. The 9th edition of the report weighs in at a massive 300-pages with tables and graphs examining every aspect of the contact center world. Topics include WFM, headsets, agent recruiting, voice biometrics, and more.
The report also includes a chapter on queuing technologies and we were pleased to see that the industry is making good progress on this front. Best of all the report is completely free. Continue reading →
Then all at once, the message boards light up like Christmas trees, the phones start ringing off the hook and your agents turn to you with that “deer in the headlights” look. Facing spikes in call volume is one of the top challenges for contact centers.
It doesn’t matter how many support reps you have available: When spikes hit your contact center, hold times escalate, customers become frustrated, SLAs become impossible to meet, and your agents suffer the consequences. The bad news is that your great day at the office just took a turn for the worse. The good news is that we have a solution to this problem. Continue reading →