How to manage customer service spikes
The key to avoiding long customer hold times and wasted agent idle time
Imagine no wait time, no lost sales, no unhappy customers. That sounds like business nirvana to me. In fact, it’s something every business strives for. Your customer’s experience with your business can have a big impact on your bottom line.
And it’s certainly challenging in an environment of “I want it now” and “make me happy, no matter what.” If you fail to meet expectations and deliver a good experience, people will hear about it. In fact, a recent study from Harvard Business Review shows that nearly 50 percent of customers who have a negative service experience tell more than 10 people about it. Doing the math—that really adds up.
Improving customer service should be a top priority
Still, while 81 percent of executives say customer experience is essential to their competitiveness, only 20 percent truly follow a defined process. This process should include being prepared for an influx in call spikes.
We need to face the reality that it’s nearly impossible to predict the level of activity you’ll experience. Very few businesses have a steady flow of activity. It doesn’t matter what industry, all businesses experience spikes in activity, whether they are seasonal, time of day, or spikes based on a promotion or unforseen event.
Sometimes the causes are understood—even anticipated—however, in many cases these peak periods come as a shock to the system. It could be inquiries around a promotion, seasonal retail sales volume such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, or more insurance claims activity due to a storm. No company is immune to spikes.
Having trouble staffing for call fluctuations?
I’ve had some really interesting conversations with customers about managing call spikes. One of the most common comments I hear is that they’re generally staffed well enough to handle call volume, but they regularly have spikes they can’t handle. Those spikes lead to excessive wait times and a poor experience for callers.
What happens when call volume gets out of control? What strategy do you have in place to ensure that the customer experience doesn’t suffer?
The good news is that there are some key strategies you can implement to manage staffing during those peak times.
|Identify bursting trends|
|Learn where to optimize|
|Evaluate outsourcing partners|
I’ve provided a few examples of areas you should consider when planning for heavy call volume. Check out an on-demand webinar, which goes into more detail, including some examples of how Liveops helps our customers manage spikes.
No matter how well or how far in advance you prepare, spikes are going to happen. Try to embrace them by being prepared, and remember, these spikes mean your company is doing well. The only thing worse than spikes of activity is no spikes of activity! With that, I’ll leave you with happy spike-planning.
- Watch a webinar on managing customer service spikes
- Download a free white paper on how flexible agents are evolving the traditional model