Whether they are tied to new product releases, holiday or seasonal promotions, unexpected global events or product glitches or mistakes, your call center is going to experience spikes in volume at various times throughout the year. The good news: It’s easy to prepare for these spikes and ensure that your agents have the resources and know-how to get through them while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction. Here are four ways to prepare for seasonal call spikes.
- Consult the Data
If you are using a call center platform like CallShaper, you are constantly collecting data on things like call volume based on day, time and other factors, common inquiries, average time per call, and more. And if you are saving this data year after year, it is going to tell you everything you need to know about how to prepare for spikes in call volume. When these spikes occur, are the calls more of the same, easy-to-resolve inquiries that your call center gets most often throughout the year? If so, maybe an increase in personnel during peak times is the answer. Are the spikes timed to new product launches that require agents to be knowledgeable about said new product? If so, maybe you need to schedule some training ahead of the launch. Does your data reveal bottlenecks or inquiries that are slowing your agents down? Addressing those ahead of a seasonal spike may be all it takes for your agents to weather the storm.
- Make New Hires Early
Say you’ve consulted the data and determined that the best way to deal with an upcoming spike in call volume is to increase your agent ranks. Once this choice has been made, it’s critical that you make new hires early enough that they are able to receive adequate training before being thrust into the role. If you make new hires too late, you risk them not being prepared for all the inquiries they face, which can have the opposite effect that you intended and only slow things down and increase wait times. Providing enough time to learn the ropes and even spend some time on the phones before call volume increases drastically will go far towards improving your call center’s ability to handle a spike.
- Run Simulations
Simulating the volume and the types of inquiries that agents will receive during an upcoming seasonal spike does double duty toward increasing preparedness. First, it will give them a chance to practice and make sure they feel ready as individuals to be jumping from call to call and diving into the types of calls that they are most likely going to face. Second, simulations can reveal any potential weak points that you may not have been aware of or that did not make themselves clear in your data analysis. This could be something as minor as your phone system being a little slow to pick up a new call once one ends or something else that was not obvious until you replicated the conditions of a seasonal spike. If this does happen, it gives you the chance to try and correct the issue before the real spike begins.
- Keep Collecting Data—And Making Adjustments
Data is so important that we put it on this list twice. Call centers don’t take breaks. While conditions like call volume, inquiry types and response time may change, there are no sessions or semesters for call centers. The wheels keep turning, so data collection needs to continue as well. And along with continuing to collect data, you must constantly adjust your processes when the data demands it. Customer satisfaction is the number one priority, regardless of the season, and any changes that can be made that will improve your customer experience should be made.
As we mentioned earlier, a call center platform like CallShaper that makes it easy to collect and analyze data is a critical tool in ensuring you are prepared to handle seasonal spikes. For more information on the software, contact us today.