5 Tips and Strategies for Dealing with a High Volume of Phone Calls
Your support department is a frenzied chorus of ringing phones. Representatives are assaulted with loudly ringing telephones that don’t pause, and customers are frustrated because they aren’t being answered. Does this resemble your support department in any way? Here are 5 solutions and tips on how you can deal with too many phone calls, without having to hire additional staff.
When Is It Too Busy?
“Know thy enemy”, the famous quote goes, so that you can win. Before looking for solutions, you must first know the problem. How many peak times are there when your support team receives too many phone calls to properly handle? Two hours a day? Only in middle of a big promotion? During holiday season? Monitor incoming calls to see when your peak times are.
1- Create a FAQ Message
You’d be surprised how many people are calling to find out the same things-basic information such as store hours, location, return information, or your email address. You can eliminate all these calls simply by creating a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on your website, and a similar message on your greeting or on hold recording. Find out from your support team which questions are frequently asked so you can include them. This will free your agents to answer only the phone calls that really need a representative's assistance.
2- Train Your Staff to Ask
We’ve all had the very frustrating experience of talking to a customer rep who forgot to ask us for the most important details, or blindly groped in the dark, asking questions that really didn’t matter. Asking the right questions is what makes a quick, successful phone call. When customers call, your reps must be trained to ask the right questions - and listen to the answers. Narrow down your questions to ask only that which will help in finding a solution for the customer.
This shaves off time on every phone call. Consider investing in training for your support team that will guide them in asking the right questions. It’s a skill that will pay for itself many times over, as cutting time per call means your support department can answer more phone calls in a shorter amount of time - with the same amount of staff.
3- Reassign Employees
You might have an employee or two who isn’t busy the entire day, or doesn’t have time sensitive tasks. You can assign these employees to answer phone calls only during peak times. Instead of paying them for time they sometimes spend twiddling their thumbs, you can ensure maximum productivity.
4- Automate at Peak Hour
You might appreciate the human voice more than that of an auto attendant, but perhaps you can consider using automation only during peak hours. This is a cost-effective way to help your overwhelmed support department, and while some customers may not like it, most would prefer an automated system to having their phone calls go unanswered.
If you find that your support team is almost always bogged down with more calls than they can take, you might want to think about outsourcing phone calls to a call center, rather than going the costly route of hiring more staff. One of the biggest benefits of contracting a call center is that you don’t have to spend hours training in more employees, because the reps in the call center are trained by the contact center itself. And even better, you won’t have to commit to another few salaries and benefits packages. Many businesses opt for call centers, because they are more time and cost effective. Popular call centers include XACT Telesolutions, Go Answer, and OnBrand24.
What’s the Catch?
However, outsourcing calls to a call center means that you may miss out on some really great advantages. Having an in-house support department means that your employees work within your brand. They know it better than anyone else, and will communicate your brand’s message in a way that employees at a remote call center can’t.
Your in house support department may also be more equipped to answer customers’ questions, which means satisfied customers and high return rates. And - this is a big plus- having your own employees listen to customers means that you can capture a huge reservoir of knowledge and feedback on how customers find your products or services, valuable suggestions, and what they would like to see from you.
What about Part Time?
Yet call centers aren’t an all or nothing solution. Employing the use of a contact center during promotions and busier seasons may be the smartest decision for you. This way, your support department will be the voice you want projected to customers for as many calls as they can handle. And the other customers will be spared the aggravation of their calls constantly going to voicemail.
At the End of the Day
To sum it all up, even if your support department is overwhelmed with phone calls at times, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to address this issue. But whichever route you decide to go, make sure your customers’ needs are always on the front burner. Well treated customers mean happy customers, and that means many more happy sales for you. Best of luck!