The busiest times for any contact center are here. Every contact center is busy throughout the year but festivals are the only time where inbound and outbound contact centers are expected to see a spike in queries. The contact center managers must prepare customer service centers for call spikes, both the expected and the unexpected, even when events can’t be anticipated.

Contact centers face expected, intense spikes of up to 10 times normal call volumes during periods such as Christmas, promotional events, vacation, and wedding season. Spikes of this magnitude present clear challenges, such as accurately predicting call volume, increasing and decreasing staff capacity in a short time, training large groups of new agents, and managing increased customer dissatisfaction.

The festive spike in consumer activity brings with it a corresponding rush on customer service and contact centers. While some businesses see increased call center demand at other times of year (flower companies around Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, Diwali or in weddings, etc.) the end-of-year shopping season presents the longest, sharpest, and broadest reaching increases of the year.

Offering a good experience in the face of increased demand isn’t impossible though i.e. an average wait time of fewer than 60 sections to speak to a live agent via phone and less than 30 seconds for chat support. 

While 53% of retailers believe the only thing they need to stay competitive during the holidays is hiring extra staff, a different study found that 54% of retailers are concerned about not having the right technology in place.

Having the right technology like in place gives contact centers a range of benefits:

  • Providing contact center agents with faster, better training
  • Ensuring true omnichannel support that makes all consumer interaction information available regardless of communication channels
  • Having all information placed centrally to be accessed by every contact center agent
  • Realizing infrastructure cost savings by using mobile app and supporting work at home models

No one plans a recall or a natural disaster, but service leaders can still prepare for these occurrences.

How can help your contact center solution:

  • Use remote agents: When call volume spikes, remote agents can be cost-effective and on call quickly, and can more easily prepare to respond during the influx of calls.
  • Create issue-specific hotlines: Designate a hotline to manage call volume during a specific spike. This tactic is commonly used for issues involving extreme weather.
  • Provide incident-related information through interactive voice response (IVR) systems: Leverage technology to provide customers with information without requiring direct contact with a service rep.
  • Outsource call overflow if necessary: If necessary, outsource to provide automated service or live agents to mitigate the call spike.

Get equipped with The ZOHO Telephony API that comes with the capability of voicemail. When a customer or candidate leaves a voicemail, it automatically gets logged as a new ticket. So agents/recruiters can respond at a later time. 

CTI, or computer telephony integration, is a key element of an omnichannel customer service strategy. It allows phone conversations and calls to be made into data. With CTI in place such as Salesforce CTI, agents can deliver contextual customer service to agents.

Service centers today must develop strategies, processes and get equipped to handle call volume for both expected and unexpected call spikes. These strategies could mean the difference between maintaining a high standard of service or not.

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