How To Manage a High Call Volume SuccessfullyPosted: August 8, 2023 - By Health Dev
When more inbound calls come into a business than its employees can manage, it’s called a high call volume. Many companies use a benchmark such as any call volume that is 10% higher than what the team typically handles is too much.
What is considered a high call volume will depend on the business. But these percentage benchmarks do a good job of providing general guidance.
Managing high call volumes is important for businesses because it helps ensure that all customers are getting the attention they need in a timely manner. This can help build customer loyalty and trust, which translates to increased sales and revenue over time.
Reasons Why You Might Receive an Influx of Calls
Alright, so what does high call volume indicate? If you’re unsure where the surge of callers originates, there are a few usual suspects.
If your business is receiving an influx of calls, unreturned calls may be the culprit. Most businesses are accustomed to their customers calling in, whether it’s for customer service, sales inquiries, or complaints. But if those initial callers don’t receive a response, they will often call back repeatedly until someone answers the phone. This can lead to a spike in incoming calls that could easily overwhelm even well-staffed teams with limited resources and capabilities.
If an organization doesn’t keep track of its unanswered phone messages, it could find itself receiving multiple requests from the same person about the same issue. This can easily lead them down a rabbit hole with no resolution in sight. Companies should take steps such as tracking all incoming inquiries and responding promptly, even if only with a short acknowledgment, so that customers don’t feel ignored or forgotten when trying to contact your business for help.
The Time of Year
The time of year can have a huge impact on call volumes for businesses. Depending on the nature of your business, certain times may be busier than others due to seasonal needs or special events. For example, companies that sell holiday decorations may expect a higher influx of calls during the winter months leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Similarly, tax-related services tend to receive more inquiries toward late March and April as people file their taxes before the deadline.
In addition, many businesses experience increased calls around holidays such as Easter or Thanksgiving when customers want help with gift ideas or preparing meals in advance, especially if they’re ordering something online that requires assistance from customer service representatives over the phone.
Firms offering travel packages will also likely see an uptick in inquiries close to summertime when families plan out vacations for their kids’ school breaks. This is particularly true for those who specialize in international trips since travelers need extra guidance navigating different countries’ entry requirements and customs regulations ahead of time to ensure everything goes smoothly upon arrival at their destination.
Successful Marketing Campaigns
When a business has run a successful marketing campaign, it can often result in an influx of calls. This is because campaigns typically include messaging that encourages people to contact the business directly. For example, if the campaign includes special offers or discounts for those who call in, this will likely draw more attention than usual and spur customers to contact the company.
These campaigns are especially effective when they are targeted at specific demographics or customer segments, such as new customers or loyal ones, since these groups may be more inclined to take advantage of the incentives offered to them. Additionally, businesses often use their marketing efforts as an opportunity to introduce themselves and build relationships with prospective clients by offering helpful information about their products and services via phone rather than emails alone.
Overall, successful marketing campaigns can lead to high call volumes. Increased awareness among potential customers plus incentive-based actions encourages them to make contact with your company’s representatives over the phone. Many consumers still prefer this method of communication despite digital alternatives being available today.
Effortlessly Handle a High Call Volume in 8 Ways
So, how exactly do you remedy an unusually high call volume?
1. Identify Peak Times
Identifying peak times is an essential step in managing high call volumes. By doing so, businesses can anticipate periods of increased demand and plan accordingly to manage it. Peak times vary by industry and can be determined through analysis of historical data or customer feedback.
For example, a restaurant may see high call volumes on evenings during weekends, while a retail store could have more calls before major holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving Day when shoppers are looking for deals or answers to product questions.
Knowing the peak hours allows companies to prepare their staff with additional training before these busy periods and adjust staffing levels according to the needs at any given time throughout the day, week, or month. With this information, businesses will be better equipped to handle large numbers of incoming calls without making customers wait too long on hold, resulting in improved customer satisfaction.
2. Offer a Callback Option
Offering a callback option is one of the easiest and most effective ways to manage high call volumes. With this option, customers don’t have to wait on hold or in an automated queue. They simply leave their contact information and receive a call back when it’s convenient for them. This not only reduces customer frustration but also helps businesses prioritize calls from more urgent clients without leaving other customers waiting in phone lines for hours.
Businesses can implement callback options by using automated systems that allow customers to enter their phone number into the system, specify when they’d like the call back (e.g., immediately or within two hours), and then hang up until receiving notification of a return call from an agent. Alternatively, companies could offer live agents who manually take down customer information before providing them with estimated times for follow-up calls after assessing queue sizes during peak call activity.
In either case, offering a callback service provides both convenience and cost-saving benefits to end users due to its ability to reduce wait times associated with handling long queues manually over the phone. This often requires more staff members working extended shifts during peak periods if traditional methods are used instead of implementing such solutions proactively ahead of time.
3. Help Callers Get in Touch by Text or Chat
By allowing customers to reach out with their inquiries through text or chat, businesses will have the ability to respond quickly and more efficiently than if they were fielding a high call volume. Plus, it’s easier on both parties since there are no long wait times.
For example, when customers need help with an order status update in real time, they can send a text message request right away and receive an answer almost immediately. This is much faster than waiting on hold for several minutes just to get one question answered over the phone. On top of that, customer service representatives save time by being able to handle multiple chats at once instead of dealing with each caller individually as they would during a regular phone call conversation.
Chatting also helps streamline communication between business owners and their customers since all messages are recorded and visible in one place. This makes it easy for them (and the staff) to keep track of conversations without having to write down notes after every call.
Businesses should consider implementing both options across channels so that customers always have access to support at any time of the day. This ensures everyone stays connected even during times of high call volume.
4. Automate Ticket Routing
Automating ticket routing allows customer service teams to quickly and accurately route incoming calls or messages, helping them better manage high call volumes.
For example, if a customer has an issue related to their account balance, they can be routed directly to the accounts team, who are best placed for resolving the query. This saves time and resources as customers don’t have to repeat themselves or explain their problems multiple times before being connected with the right person. Automated ticketing also allows companies more flexibility in how they organize staff on different shifts. One team may be able to deal with basic queries, for instance, while another deals only with urgent matters, so there’s no need for all employees to cover every shift at once during instances of high call volume.
Moreover, this system helps ensure that customers get through faster by eliminating wait times associated with manual processes like manually transferring calls between departments, which wastes valuable time for both your business and your customer base.
5. Answer Common Questions on the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Menu
With an IVR system, customers can quickly access information or be directed to the right department without having to wait in line for an operator. By offering common questions on the menu, you’ll be able to reduce high call volume and save time.
For example, if your business offers customer service solutions for mobile phones, you could offer options such as “I need help with my device” or “I would like more info about data plans.” This allows customers with basic inquiries to get their answers quickly without needing further assistance from a live representative. It also helps route those needing additional help more efficiently through automated ticket routing to the appropriate department. Through these measures, customers can speak with someone directly and get their issues resolved immediately.
6. Use a Communication Software Solution
Communication software allows businesses to create custom workflows, assign tasks, and set up automated notifications that alert staff when the queue gets too long or when a high call volume occurs. They ultimately increase productivity and help ensure no caller has to wait for their turn. Customers can be connected right away with an available representative.
The right communication solution will also provide a unified dashboard where managers can track key performance indicators (KPIs) like abandoned calls, average hold time, first response time (FRT), and others. Through these statistics, the software can provide insights into why customers need help so improvements can be made to service offerings quickly.
With this data at hand, it’s easy for managers to make informed decisions about staffing needs during a high call volume or if more resources should be allocated toward one particular contact channel over another (e.g., email vs. phone). Lastly, this type of communication platform often includes features such as automatic scheduling. This saves employees from manually entering each appointment request and also reduces errors.
7. Direct Callers to Self-Service Resources
Self-service options can include FAQs, knowledge bases, tutorials, and customer portals where customers can find the information they need without having to speak with a customer service representative. This approach not only reduces high call volume and overall wait times for callers but also allows businesses to redirect their staff’s attention away from repetitive tasks and toward more complex issues that require human intervention.
When setting up your self-service resources, it’s important that they are easy to use and intuitive. Don’t frustrate customers further by making them search around aimlessly for what they need. Additionally, make sure you provide detailed instructions when possible on how to best utilize the various self-service tools available. Finally, if any changes are made over time, document these clearly, so customers know exactly what has changed since the last time.
8. Train Staff on Proper Phone Call Etiquette
Training staff on proper phone call etiquette is an essential part of managing high call volumes. Proper training helps reduce frustration and stress for both the customer and staff while creating a positive environment and experience during every conversation.
Staff should be trained to listen actively, speak clearly, and remain patient at all times. They need to be trained to ask relevant questions to better understand the customers’ needs or issues quickly without wasting their time. They must also take ownership of each interaction by apologizing when needed or offering immediate solutions, if possible. Also, teach employees how to escalate calls properly, when necessary, to provide customers with seamless experiences.
Finally, businesses that handle large call numbers daily should ensure they have backup plans in case something unexpected happens. If a system crashes or power goes out, service should not get interrupted as much as possible.