During the corona virus pandemic, it’s necessary to solve complex problems that the customers of the business are experiencing. The number of incoming calls has increased considerably as people are looking for reliable guidance during these difficult times. Managing a high number of calls from customers who require immediate attention, without delay, is challenging, to say the least. When there are too many calls in the day, wait times increase and, ultimately, customer satisfaction drops.
Even if your organization was skilled at managing incoming calls, chances are that you’re overwhelmed at present. Given the fact that the way a company handles incoming calls is a powerful indicator of its values and performance, you can’t afford to disappoint. Please continue reading to discover the ins and outs of managing high call volume and high-volume callers.
Optimize team scheduling to maximize productivity
Call volumes have reached new heights, which is why it’s important to maximize your resources. Take the time to look over your team’s work schedule and ensure you have enough contact center agents to handle the number of incoming calls. Some people might be on holiday, while others may have taken sick leave. Some changes are in order. If you have home-working agents, use split shifts (AM inbound and PM inbound). It can lead to happier employees all around.
Communicate the start times in advance for more predictability and stability. People need the chance to plan their activities. The question now is: How far in advance should the schedule be posted? Ideally, 5 weeks in advance. You don’t want to overwhelm your team. Consider letting go of control and let one of the contact center agents arrange the schedule for the upcoming month. You’ll be surprised to see how diligently the task will be carried out.
Improve the call handling experience with on-hold music
An increase in the number of calls translates into an increase in on-hold times. Customers don’t expect you to pick up the phone right away, but they don’t want to be kept on the line for a very long time. Callers who hear music on the line are more eager to stay on hold. If all the lines are busy or it’s necessary to transfer a call to another agent, it’s great to have a piece of hold music that can distract the person and eliminate boredom. It’s highly unlikely that customers will express frustration.
The on-hold music should be aligned with customer preferences. For instance, you can’t play country music for someone from the urban landscape. Customers should be pleased with the selection of music. See what type of music is popular in your industry. No, you don’t have to spy on the competition. Nowadays, you can find the most important answers on the Internet.
While you have people’s undivided attention, keep them informed about business opening times, market your products and services, and reassure callers they’re still connected. The background music will make the message more effective creating an emotional impact. On-hold music on its own is a very powerful tool, but it becomes much more effective when it corresponds to a message. That is something to keep in mind. The music catalog should be up to date; don’t use the same songs over and over because you risk losing customers.
Make sure contact center agents are well-equipped to handle customer issues
The last thing that customers want is to be passed from one contact center agent to the other, which implies additional waiting time. Speakers should possess the knowledge and power to handle customers’ issues professionally. This is precisely why you need to make sure that the first contact is well-equipped. Offer daily training and coaching. This shouldn’t be limited to new hires. Even employees who have been in business for quite some time need continuous training and coaching to keep sharp.
Do everything within your power to make the workplace more enjoyable and relieve stress, anxiety, and, above all, to keep people motivated. If you boost productivity among contact center agents, you’ll increase customer retention rates as well. Recognize achievements and reward excellence, if this is the case. This way, employees have the motivation they need to align their behaviors with customer needs and expectations.
Think about adding other customer service channels
Here’s a thought: Why don’t you add other customer service channels? Since the coronavirus outbreak, many companies have provided real-time customer support via live chat. People can get an instant response to what’s bothering them and agents who work on chats can solve several problems at the same time. It’s what you would call a win-win situation. Equally important is to focus on social networks. Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only social media sites to keep an eye on.
If you have the time and resources, create a web-based knowledge base that enables you to deliver support at all hours of the day and night. The knowledge base is practically a repository of information that can be easily accessed and shared. It can feature several types of content, including but not limited to:
- Step-by-step guides
- Video demonstrations
As you can see, there are numerous alternatives to traditional phone support. It’s recommended to offer customers more options to reach out to you and empower them to solve their own problems.
Contact centers are forced to adapt to a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you don’t want to lose customers, it’s paramount to handle incoming calls and gauge positive reactions. The reputation of your business is at stake. High volume calls and high-volume callers can push your team to the limit, but it’s not an impossible challenge.
Handling phone calls the right way is of the essence. By making simple changes you can make a great difference. Not only can you keep loyal clients but also attract new ones. In case you didn’t already know, the word gets around and, if you do things right, customers will no doubt recommend your brand.