High call volume can leave your business scrambling. Every call that goes unanswered is a missed opportunity to support your customers, gain new business, and build your brand. Are you missing opportunities during key seasonal rushes? For some companies, the summer season drives an increased need for their services. While, for others, the demand-driven during the holiday season can sustain them all year. Even amid this pandemic, Salesforce is predicting that we’ll see “30 percent year-over-year growth in overall global digital commerce this holiday season (up from 8 percent growth in 2019) and 34 percent growth in the U.S. (up from 12 percent in 2019).”
According to a survey from Think with Google, “up to 40% of (retail) sales will likely happen during the holiday shopping season.” The survey goes on to explain that: “…of those actively planning, 30% are expecting to start (shopping) before Halloween, with 9% starting before Labor Day.” And consumers are researching online and already deciding on brands and products before they shop.
“Businesses that succeed during the holidays will use everything at their disposal to make shopping easy and safe, including convenient digital ordering, creative and efficient fulfillment, and responsive customer service.” Managing the rush can be the difference for your business’s bottom line. Customer support, operations, and revenue are all snowballing, and it will occur between October and January. “The surge will likely result in an acceleration of digital commerce to 18 percent of total retail sales globally and 30 percent of total retail sales in the U.S. during this holiday shopping season.”
How can you prepare for a high call volume, customer rushes, or outages?
To begin, it is essential to understand how your customers prefer to contact your business. From there, you can start to understand the ideal way to manage their requests. According to Hubspot, “62% of customers want to communicate with companies via email for customer service. 48% want to use the phone, 42% live chat, and 36% “Contact Us” forms.”
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before it is too late:
- How do your customers contact you to place an order?
- How can they request more information?
- Who books and manages your appointments?
- How will you manage on-call during a rush or outage?
- When you are experiencing a rush or outage of service, who will take on these additional responsibilities?
- How will you notify customers during a rush season or outage?
So, you’ve seen the journey through your customer’s eyes and planned how to handle important communication during rushes and outages. Now, let’s review some of the best practices we’ve cultivated over the last 40 years of business!
Tips to help you manage a high call volume and increase in requests during seasonal rushes and other outages:
1. Schedule your teams accordingly.
When you expect a surge in your call volume, it is good to look at your teams’ work schedules. Notify all of your partners and team members that a “busier-than-normal” time is coming. It is essential to ensure that you have enough staff to manage the peak hours and prepare for the additional work. Communicate with confidence, so your partners and team members feel secure, even during unprecedented business times.
Ask your employees to give advance notice if they need any leave so you can schedule accordingly. Simultaneously, it helps to understand historical sick leave trends so you can be ready for the seasons where absences could affect your productivity. Make sure you have backup staff that can support any last-minute requests. Not sure how to begin tracking absences and reporting absenteeism trends? Head to this blog post to learn more!
Pro Tip: If you are partnering with a contact center, give them at least 30 days’ notice so that they can prepare to support your needs related to staffing, training, and more.
2. Create self-service resources to support immediately.
During peak call hours, it is common to receive similar kinds of questions multiple times from different customers. It may be regarding some new product, a promotional offer, or a recent update to your service. In these scenarios, it can be beneficial to create a FAQ section on your website that can serve as a shared knowledge base. This resource will empower your customers to help themselves while saving your staff time! And, the data support that customers prefer self-service resources to begin troubleshooting. According to the 2019 Customer Experience Trends Report from Zendesk, “customers are almost twice as likely to use self-service as a company is to offer it: 40% of customers start with a search engine or help center when getting in touch with support, while only about 20% of teams are offering self-service.”
Pro Tip: Do you work with resellers that need a better understanding of your product? Do you work with a contact center that is answering questions over the phone? A FAQ document can empower these partners. And an online FAQ can be updated quickly by someone on your team and emailed to all of your partners to provide a clear, consistent, updated message.
3. Add more customer service channels.
When the pandemic stopped people from leaving their houses, online ordering and chat became a prime source of business-to-consumer conversation. According to N.Y. Times, “some local sites saw growth over 150%, with popular sites like Facebook and general websites seeing user activity grow closer to 25%.”
Chat/SMS and social media have become the most attractive channels for businesses to stay connected to customers. You can send messages on the phone or spread awareness via emails. How are you engaging with your customers and leads? When you start consistently sharing messages, content, and support with people via multiple channels, it becomes easier to create a vast customer base full of brand champions.
4. Utilize a contact center to keep your data clean and accurate.
Although it may be difficult for your in-house team to manage these spikes in call volume, partnering with an experienced contact center can help you maneuver these scenarios with ease! Having a contact center partner who leads with compassion and kindness can make a huge difference in retaining customers; “$75 billion is lost by businesses annually due to poor customer service.”
At Call Experts, it’s our passion to track and organize customer experience data and trends so that you can easily organize operations and support for your employees and customers. Our technology and Experts gather the data you need to understand your historical call volume trends and analyze when call volumes took a significant spike in the past. This data can tell you how to manage your staff and when you will need additional support.
Once you identify the times of the year that behave as outliers, you can better prepare for and handle sudden surges in support calls, order placements, and outage reports. With our advanced tools and time-tested techniques, we will optimize your customer support experience and equip your teams with clean, accurate data to make smarter decisions.
Although it can be challenging to manage high call volumes, there are ways to create a successful customer experience while also supporting your employee and business needs! At Call Experts, we have over 40 years of experience providing operational support to businesses. Our AI-powered HR call-out lines make it easy for your:
- Employees to report absences and receive instant confirmation information.
- H.R. team to remain organized and focused instead of spending time updating spreadsheets.
- Leadership to see the data they need to make smarter decisions.
Understanding employee absenteeism is essential to maintain and grow your business. Be smarter with your scheduling and save your admin’s time! Please email us to learn more.