Handling High Call Volume During Peak Season

As the holiday season approaches, many call centers deal with large peaks in call volume. A significant percentage of retail companies have to hire seasonal employees to help satisfy their customer need during the holidays. During this peak season it is crucial to maintain a high service level. Multiple studies have shown that 15% of callers hang up after waiting on hold for just 40 seconds. If 15% of customers hang up after 40 seconds, then we can definitely assume that as hold time increases, so does the percentage of customers who abandon their phone calls.

Here are 3 suggestions to help keep your hold times down during peak season:

Agents need to be aware of their call times and how they are affecting the queue. If an agent knows how many calls are waiting for them and they can see the number of calls in the queue, they are more likely to handle their calls in a timely fashion. One way to help agents be aware is to allow them access to real-time dashboards showing them the key performance metrics that determine wait times and service level. By having this information at their fingertips, your agents will be more empowered to positively affect your center’s wait times.
One of the reasons for increased call times are escalation calls. It is crucial to the success of a call center to implement a proven process for escalation calls. These calls take enough time even with a solid process in place but escalation calls without a process can completely overload the queue. Be sure to have supervisors available for these escalation calls and remember to keep your customer data available at all times. By implementing this process your call times and wait times will be greatly reduced.
Many companies find that they simply can’t handle the increase in call volume during their peak seasons. This is the perfect time to outsource some of this volume to a third party source. Manage your redundancy and maintain a high service level and low wait times. Keeping your wait times low will keep your customers happy, which always results in positive business results.