About 48% of the companies that have adopted the contact center technology believe that unpredictable customer traffic is one of the top most challenges they have to face. While it may be high on some days, it could be incredibly low the other days. The customer traffic can even differ according to the days of the week and also the timings of the day. Although it is difficult to predict this customer traffic, contact centers should be able to organize their resources in order to attend all the calls in a satisfactory manner, without any delays.
Call centers are mostly cost centers and their success depends on how well they reduce these costs. The performance will be low, be it an over-staffed call center and an under-staffed call center. It is therefore important to analyze the customer traffic over time, find out the day of the week and the time of the day where the call traffic is high and then hire accordingly. Most employees in call centers work on shifts, which is a good thing. Accurate planning can help the managers strike the right balance between handling customer calls and reducing the overheads of the call center.
How to handle unpredictable customer traffic in call centers?
If customer traffic could be accurately predicted, call centers would never have to face any challenges at all. However, although you can have a rough idea, this cannot be predicted accurately in reality. Following a few tips given below can help call centers to become capable of handling this unpredictable customer traffic:
- During peak hours it often becomes unavoidable to put the customers in queue. It should be understood that today’s customers hate to wait and will most likely abandon the call if they are made to wait for too long. At such times, it is better to put some rules in place. For instance, the waiting time has to be reduced to 20 seconds. If the call cannot be answered within this time, there could be a system where the agent calls back the customer. Also, the average time that is needed to attend a call can be cut down during these peak hours so that each agent will be able to handle more customers.
- If the call centers are able to analyze the day of the week during which the call traffic may be higher, they will be in a better position to handle customers. This can be made possible by reducing the absenteeism on that particular day or by adding in another batch of staff for that day. By rewarding the agents who appear at work on that day, call centers can motivate their employees to handle customers efficiently.
- If the peak timings of each day can be determined, call centers can take measures to cut down the breaks during those hours in order to handle the traffic.
- Measures should be taken to increase the loyalty of customers. This includes hiring agents with good communication skills, reducing the call-waiting times and improving the customer experience.
- Having an intelligent IVR system in place can lower the burden during peak hours. Its abillity to route the call to the right agent with appropriate skills can definitely save the time of both the customer and the agents.
Customer service is the key to survival for contact centers today. It is important for the agents of every contact center to work towards enhancing the customer experience, even when they are handling peak traffic calls.
Image source: http://www.101holidays.co.uk/