Troubles With High Calling Volumes Can Be Foreseen – And Prevented

Office-based and remote contact centers over the globe experience a high calling volume that, in most cases, seize their previous successes.  Today, as never before, managers of small and mid-sized contact centers were forced to look for rapid, flexible, and effective solutions. Now, in this article, you’ll hear from Kevin Lasky, the Vice President of SKWeston & Company, the Global BPO Consulting, and the Professional services company.  And we'll share with you the proven and effective ways to handle and turn high-volume picks into profit. Without further ado, let’s get started. 

 

 

Table 1. Average calling volume in a contact center

What Is A High Calling Volume In Your Contact Center?

A high calling volume is the number of calls your call center achieves unexpectedly. In most cases, contact centers are incapable of handling these volumes because of a lack of agents, expertise, knowledge, management, technology, and more.

Additionally, they burden your agents, increase burnout, and have many side effects on your business. 

Whether Your Goal Is Long Or Short Term Growth... Customers Want...

During the pandemic, businesses face new customer behavior they never met before. What are the feelings of customers about the incapacity of any kind of contact center to handle their requests?

Frankly, customers feel they are capable of eliminating business relationships with the company without a second thought. Even if the case is long queue time, abandoning the call, or lousy service.

Or, while buying from a company, customers seek another brand for switching. As a result, business owners have to satisfy any kind of customer’s demands, if they want to survive in the new economic environment.

The phrase “The customer is always right” becomes the mantra, and companies wish to sell the hell yet to retain customers.

Beware Of Tricks And Traps Of These High Calling Volumes Challenges

Before the solutions, take a brief view of the most demanding issues your contact center must solve. Insufficiency of resources (human, technological, software, Internet).

The Most Valuable Assets Of Your Contact Center

The most valuable assets of your company are people. The lack of resources for handling the high volume is the most significant issue contact centers face these days. Your contact center must be fully completed by agents and supervisors, especially during high-volume picks. 

In the majority, heads of contact centers have a wrong perception about the upcoming calling volumes. And they lay off necessary personnel, place wrong shifts, and lose control over the situation. When the volume hits, a center is incapable to carry out all requests and issues. Or when agents are in their places, yet managers and supervisors are absent. 

Even an experienced agent needs some piece of timely advice, especially, in an intensive shift.

Hardware Is The Foundation Of Your Agent’s Workflow

Many workers that switched to work from home complain their companies aren’t providing them with the hardware they need.

Statistic: Has your employer provided you with any of the following for your WFH environment? | Statista

Source: Statista

Here’s what owners did to furnish their workers with the hardware: 

Statistic: Technological devices provided to employees to enable flexible working in Europe in 2020 | Statista

Source: Statista

The basics of your agent's workflow lay in the hardware they use - desktops, laptops, tablets, headsets, and internet connection. 

These Simple Tools For Money Generating

Never neglect the choice you make to furnish your agents with the hardware for work. For instance, It’s much better to use desktops and laptops from Apple instead of other brands.

They have fast SSD hard drives and up to 16+GB RAM that is just enough for fast work. You may use other brands, just make sure that the work of agents is not limited by the long-time downloading or switching between apps.

Source: Brand preferences for laptop computers from February through June 2018, Statista

Headsets 

According to Wirecutter, from New York Times, in the article “The Best Wireless and Wired Headset", these are the top headsets for office workers:

Additionally, ask your agents personally what hardware they prefer to use. Failure to furnish your staff with the hardware causes the lowering of productivity.

Reasons To Choose The Proven Internet Provider

To ensure the best internet connection, you should choose a proven local internet provider. Usage of a good internet connection will ensure the great quality of sound, messages, and rapid response to customers' requests.

Never look for a bargain when you choose the provider for your contact center. Cheap usually means weak. There is always some kind of a flaw in cheap products and services. Isn't it?

The other positive effect of the proven internet provider is that when you meet some problem with the connection, those providers are eager to provide technical solutions to fix the problem. On the contrary, providers that charge less money provide slow repairings on the restoring of internet connection.

How The Little Business Can Make Big Money Today?

The contact center software is the proven way for small and mid-sized businesses to switch to remote work without any money losses whatsoever. Here are the 4 single most important advantages of contact center software:

  1. Almost zero expenses. Agents could work remotely by having desktops, laptops, headsets with microphone, and internet connection. Almost all people around the world have these pieces of hardware. What the owner of the business is investing in is a subscription for each seat of an agent.
  2. None of the restrictions. Office-based contact centers face tough times these days. They’re not allowed to work within the offices, which is to leave the small room. And the only reasonable way is to work from home. Even if restrictions will straighten in the future, they’ll never affect your remote agents today and in the years ahead.
  3. Fast speed of launching. Using on-premise software requires a decent investment in the infrastructure, supplying engineers, and maintaining professional staff. 
  4. The flexibility of the on-premises contact center software is daunting and requires constant updating. In the case of cloud-contact software, you achieve an all-in-one tool for initiating any kind of inbound and outbound calls and messages without the expenses listed above.

Owners of SMBs need a constant cash flow right now, and they need a tool that brings a fast ROI. With cloud software, it’s so simple to do. Think about it. Today you can implement your remote contact center within 24 hours and never think about troubles.

The contact center software team is constantly working on updates and provides 24 hours a day support. All you do is earn money without worrying about sophisticated technical details. In addition, you’ll achieve user-oriented manuals to initiate your own calling campaigns.

Long queues

Yes, customers are waiting in a queue for the agent that answers all their urgent questions. Despite the fact that customers are eager to wait for the answer for some time, they’re not allowed to wait for more than two minutes. The longer the queue time, the higher the hang-up rate before the conversation. 

How much time, on average, do customers wait in a queue before hanging up?  

“This is going to vary, depending on the vertical.  For example, Telco customers are accustomed to waiting longer than an eCommerce provider.  To dig even deeper, one needs to study caller patterns by region and vertical to determine appropriate queue time.”

— Kevin Lasky, Vice President, SKWeston & Company

Long AHT time

Average handle time is the indication of the performance of a contact center. Think about it, what’s the reason a contact center has long and routine conversations? Isn’t it about experience, knowledge, and technology? Calls from customers are usually urgent, and any kind of waiting will cause the lowering of customer satisfaction. 

Is there a rough time limit for customers to wait in an on-hold mode?

“Generally, it is between 2-5 minutes.  The key is to establish expectations prior to putting the customer on hold.  For example, “is it ok if I put you on hold for 2 minutes while I research your issue”.  The other key component is when the 2 minutes is up, a CSR comes back on the line to inform the customer that they are still researching.”

— Kevin Lasky, Vice President, SKWeston & Company

Abandon rates

Abandon call is usually the subject of the outbound calling, yet what about a callback? How frequently do contact centers during tough times arrange a callback and experience an abandonment rate? The answer might surprise you.

FCR rates

According to the surveys, first call resolution is one of the metrics your contact center must strive to. All other metrics have a secondary value. 

Second and third calling rates

The best of the best contact centers have second and third contact resolution rates. Depending on the request, you might look for a solution. And if the problem is finally solved in a second and third call that will be a good indication. Yet, to truly maintain the performance and achieve lasting relationships these calls must be rapid. 

No callbacks due to high calling volume

There is an opinion that during a high volume, you can sacrifice with the callbacks. Yet, it’s the wrong opinion, and if you follow, prepare for competitors that take the edge on your niche.

What is the practice of preventing escalations in contact centers?

“There are two key components:  1) give the CSR all the tools and training to diffusing the situation to prevent an escalation. 2) As part of their toolset, it is important to have a robust Knowledge Base/CRM that will provide the necessary information to de-escalate the call and prevent an unnecessary transfer to a supervisor.”

— Kevin Lasky, Vice President, SKWeston & Company

Recommendations For Business Continuity Is Only As Good As Its Outcomes

Your contact center already experienced some kind of outages, isn’t it? Well, that’s not in the best interest of your customer. Instead of excuses, you need to find the solutions, which you find below.

Need Some Electricity?

To prevent any electricity outage, consider purchasing a generator or energy storage. On average, the preferable capacity of these storages are ranging from 3 kW to 22 kW and more. Let’s explain to you the ways to exclude any electricity outages in your remote contact center.

Electrical appliances

Watts

Quantity

Total watts

1

Air Conditioner

2400

2

4800

2

Tube Lights

72

20

1440

3

Personal computer or Laptop

400

15

16000

4

Printer

500

3

1500

5

Boiler

1500

1

1500

6

Microwave

1400

1

1400

7

Electric Kettle

2400

1

2400

Table 1.1 Electricity calculation of your contact center or remote location during an electricity outage 

Then, we need to sum our Total watts to achieve our overall electricity load. We can use this formula for defining real generator or storage necessity:

That’s for the contact center that includes up to 15 seats. If you have fewer or more seats, you can make easy calculations singlehanded.

Now we need to choose the generator based on our total load. Yet we need to choose not 100% of our generator, yet 125% to handle electricity picks. So 125% from 29040 Watt will be 36 300 Watt.

In this case, your tool for business continuity is a - 40kw Diesel Power Generator. Or 40 kW, energy storage. Count your own appliances by the example listed above and define your generator or energy storage.

For People Who Want To Ensure Internet Continuity

The only proven way to have the internet 24/7 is to have a proven local provider. Comcast, Bright House Networks, WarnerMedia are the largest internet providers in the US. In the UK, the top internet providers are Virgin Media, BT, and Sky. Search for the largest providers in your country and choose only the reputable and proven ones. 

Either way, the internet connection must be strong to make your contact center work 24 hours a week. However, there are other ways to ensure business continuity. 

There is a cheap solution for the internet for your contact center. And that’s a portable WiFi HotSpot. The prices on amazon for such devices range from 30 to 200 dollars. It will be useful to have these devices in your contact center to ensure business continuity during internet outages. 

If you have trouble with defining which internet providers are proven, consider the satellite internet connection. In the US, satellite internet became popular from year to year with the speed up to 200 Mb/s, for the price starting at 99 US dollars. With satellite internet, you could work anywhere, from the jungles of Brazil, to the rainforest, you name it.

Why Should Restrictions Limit Your Revenue? 

The hard truth is that customers are not interested in restrictions and how they involve your company. They still need to satisfy their needs or they switch brands.

During the pandemic, restrictions for office-based contact centers are the real challenge. You need to consider the ways for switching to work from home fast, changing your on-premise systems to cloud, etc.

Here’s the real situation with work from home in 2020 and afterward. 

Statistic: Change in remote work trends due to COVID-19 in the United States in 2020 | Statista
Source: Statista

Surveys showed that before the pandemic only 17% of employees worked from home 5 days a week. After the pandemic and beyond, the number of workers from home skyrocketed to 44%.

Remote work was a long time before it was the subject of business. It eliminates the expenses on offices, traveling to work, and backward. Today, businesses switch to remote work, whether they want it or not. Fortunately, the software gives all the necessary advantages to generate money and comply with the restrictions. 

After the pandemic, more companies applied the ideas of hybrid work and work from home. For small and mid-sized centers the solution is in the cloud. 

The Truth About Achieving The Best Performance Of A Contact Center

  1. Achieve real-time and historical data about the most demanding and frequent calls.
  2. Encourage customers to communicate via different channels (live chat, social media, email).
  3. Choose the contact center software that furnishes the historical and real-time data about all contacts with customers. Having the data, observe the big picture of contacts volumes, agents activities, and outcome performance. 

Frankly, each contact such as calls, chat messages, social media messages, and emails have a certain percentage of contact center volume. Your primary goal is to orchestrate on all channels to occupy the maximum requests in a minimum time. 

Count the average volume for each digital channel during a day, week, and month and prepare your agents for presence across the most frequent channels of communication. 

The best of the best contact centers handle requests on all channels because they forecast contact volume based on previous real-time and historical data.

Here Are Only Some Of The Self-Service Features To Help You Fatten Your Business

Take a look at the most profitable and effective self-service features for your contact center.

Knowledge Bases And FAQs Sections Handling With The Most Part Of Requests

Reduce high calling volumes by agentless features like FAQs and knowledge bases. Work of centers is much easier when you give the chance to customers through self-service. 

Customers are delighted to visit the website, find the necessary information, and solve problems singlehanded. According to surveys, most customers will visit your website first before calling you. 

The only requirement for the agentless function is that it must be customer-oriented, easy-to-understand, and solve the problem.

Try to think like customers, with their level of knowledge about a product, to optimize smooth searching through your FAQ and knowledge base. Exclude the terminology from your customer-oriented materials, which might puzzle them. Highlight in different colors the most important information, and use a user-friendly interface.

IVRs And Chatbots Handle Requests

A properly organized interactive voice response system will drastically reduce your inbound calls and save vital time for you. Yet, most of the IVRs over the globe are angering customers. The reason is that the work of IVRs is not customer-oriented. Instead of providing a valuable solution, it just prevents the caller from speaking with the live person.

How to solve this problem and properly organize your IVR menu? Here are the most valuable rules you should follow when you consider launching IVR in your contact center. For instance, IVR menu must:

  • be customer-oriented, and not just block for conversation with a live agent
  • use the natural tongue of a customer to prevent frustration
  • be integrated with other digital channels such as web and mobile applications
  • be constantly updated to meet customers’ needs
  • customer satisfaction level must be measured
  • combine speech and on-screen interaction to increase performance
  • consider the previous actions of customers
  • solve inquiries of customers at a maximum speed
  • no navigating with complex menus, hierarchies, and personal information
  • be the process, not a product. It must be constantly developed.

If you have negative customer satisfaction because of your IVR, it seems you need to work more on it. The outcome of complete and customer-oriented IVR is the skyrocketing of revenue without involving any agent in a center whatsoever. Interestingly, companies on Fortune 100 list already recognized the benefit of the IVR, which helps them handle 50% of requests.

Gold Mine Is In Omnichannel

Stop stumbling around one particular channel because customers contact you on all possible channels. The most successful companies already acknowledge the benefits of presence across voice, web chat, social media, email, and SMS. 

The other big thing in the contact industry are messengers such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, and more.

“WhatsApp is very popular across the globe, except the USA, so a company should offer it up in those regions.  In the USA, Facebook, Twitter and SMS are the most popular messenger tools”.

— Kevin Lasky, Vice President, SKWeston & Company

Omnichannel is widespread and successful in industries such as:

  • E-commerce;

  • Retail;

  • B2B;

  • B2C.

On the other hand, you’re throwing your money away if you lack some digital channel. And this presence is easy to establish. The first step in that direction is to achieve a proven contact center software that integrates your contacts. 

How does poor omnichannel involve a high calling volume?

“If a customer goes to an Omnichannel and expects their issue to be resolved, and is not resolved, they will immediately call the Contact Center.  Not only does it push the customer to call, but, as they will be upset that they could not be serviced in an omnichannel, it will increase handle times as well.”

— Kevin Lasky, Vice President, SKWeston & Company

Chatbots

Should businesses give an option to call a contact center if a customer is browsing a website for too long? Or it might intimidate them?

“Best Practice around this issue is, if a customer is browsing a website too long, a BOT would pop up and ask the customer if they need help or want to be transferred to their Contact Center.  This will allow the BOT to try and answer their question prior to transferring, thus potentially avoiding an unnecessary transfer”.

— Kevin Lasky, Vice President, SKWeston & Company

Chatbots are a remarkable tool for handling high calling volumes. Here are the most valuable features customers expected from chatbots.

The reason why you need a chatbot is the same as IVR, knowledge bases, and FAQs. It reduces high calling volumes while agents have the most demanding phone conversations.

“All those channels can be very useful in reducing call volumes.  However, we cannot stress enough that you need a solid Knowledge Base/CRM that will allow consistent service across all channels.  As stated above, if you don’t, much of this volume will push a customer to a Contact Center with higher AHT (as they are now angry due to the lack of service in Omnichannel''.

— Kevin Lasky, Vice President, SKWeston & Company

Learn From KPI Metrics

As a manager of a contact center, your most valuable assets are real-time and historical data. The most significant benefit of the Key performance indicators is the ease of view of the big picture in your contact center.

Think about it. 

Of course, use track the situation when you are in an office-based contact center. Yet, what if you handle the remote? How can you occupy all data to forecast high calling volumes, foresee customers’ calls and act accordingly? 

The answer is the KPI metrics. They will give you the full picture about rates such as:

  • Call volume;

  • FCR;

  • Conversion rate;

  • Average Wrap-up time;

  • Abandon rate;

  • Percentage of call transfer;

  • Percentage of repeated calls.

All these metrics will give you the clue about whether you need to change your current strategy or not.

Maximize the utilization of resources, using ACD, SMS, and follow-up emails

When agents are overwhelmed with inquiries, transferred and repeated calls make high calling volumes turn a working shift into a nightmare. Nothing to worry about if you have an automatic call distribution (ACD) system

Particularly for customers, the ACD system establishes the accurate routing logic that grants reaching the relevant agent within one call.

Through rapid call distribution, the queues flow, and staff achieves an adequate workload during the day. And customers will be delighted by calling one time, speaking with one person, and solving their problem at a minimum time. 

Fattening Income From SMS

The benefits of the SMS in informing about deliveries, payments, discounts, and promotions are still huge. Your contact center could launch massive SMS campaigns, delivering valuable information about your company and products. Franky, SMS still generates the money. Look at the data below.

Save And Earn Thousands With Emails

Despite the popularity of emails, they’re promising to skyrocket in the years ahead. For instance, in previous years banks had much paperwork for consumers. Today, they try to exclude their paperwork to the maximum by sending emails with contracts, promotions, and information. As a result, banks continue to grow without involving any live manager, paperwork, and time. You should also use this advantage to inform and follow-up customers.

For contact centers, follow-up emails are a solution to problems, acquiring customers, and closing sales. Like any other channel of communication, it generates a bundle of money while reducing high calling volume.

A toll-free or local phone number?

Should businesses use a local phone number instead of a toll-free number? There is an opinion that customers likely use local phone numbers instead of toll-free. 

“These days, with most customers utilizing Cell phones, it truly does not matter.”

— Kevin Lasky, Vice President, SKWeston & Company

A brand new approach to the SMBs and enterprise-level contact center industry

In this article, the Voiptime Cloud with the cooperation of SKWeston & Company, the global BPO Consulting company, highlighted the most relevant questions you may have regarding different aspects of operating contact centers.

Keeping our customers intelligent by articles such as this, we keep them tuned and prepared. 

Knowledge is one of the aspects the Voiptime Cloud shares with readers. Frankly, we deliver high-capacity contact center software to small, mid-sized, and enterprise-level companies. Contact our team to achieve one of these high-capacity tools for revenue velocity.

It’s easy to order the Voiptime Cloud contact center software. Contact the Voiptime Cloud office by visiting voiptimecloud.com and using webchat. 

Or fill the Get A Quote form on the voiptimecloud.com website, especially when you reach us outside of working hours, on Saturday or Sunday. In case of order form, our team will contact you promptly and at the nearest time.

Are you in a hurry? If so, for even faster service, you can also order by phone. Just contact the Voiptime Cloud office. Our lines are open from Monday to Friday. And our phone number is: 

1-720-362-5005

Anyway, no matter how you order, we’ll contact you promptly, as soon as we hear from you. Thank you.

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