2 Ways To Even Out Those Spikes In Call Volume

Having trouble staffing for call volume that looks something like this?

Having trouble staffing for call volume that looks something like this?

I had lunch with a consultant friend of mine today and we got to talking call centers.  He mentioned that a client of his had a question and I thought it would be a great topic for discussion.  Here it is:

We are generally staffed well enough to handle our call volume but find that we regularly have spikes that we can’t handle.  Those spikes lead to excessive wait time and a poor experience for our callers.  What do you do to handle those?

That’s a terrific question.  Let’s assume that your boss won’t sign off on overstaffing your customer service staff at the risk of overspending and underutilizing your agents.  Let’s also assume that asking your customer service leaders to drop what they are working on to take calls is not a sustainable solution.  Given those assumptions, here are two things you might try.

Use the Queue Callback feature in your ACD (Automatic Call Distributor)

We are currently using Five9 which is a cloud-based ACD platform.  With Five9 we give callers the option to request a callback rather than sitting and listening to hold music.  Customers whose issues aren’t urgent can hang up, go about their business, and rest assured that they will get a call back from the next available agent.

Use a third-party service on top of your ACD

Fonolo is a third-party, cloud-based solution that you can lay on top of your ACD.  You can place the Fonolo widget right on your support page.  Callers can input their phone number, account information, and the department they would like to reach and Fonolo will do the heavy lifting for them.  It will call in on behalf of the customer and the caller will receive a call when they are connected with customer service.

In both of these cases, you haven’t fixed your call volume spike but you have definitely improved the caller’s experience.  You also evened out the call volume for your staff and allowed them to be better utilized.

What is your company currently using to manage call volume spikes and improve the experience for your callers?

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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