5 Ways to Mitigate Surges in Customer Support Volume

Call Center Agent on phone to customer

There comes a time when you might face a sudden surge in customer support volume, and you have no idea where it just came from. While many calls can be justified, some seem to be unnecessary. At the same time, you have to keep a friendly and supportive tone while repeating the same information over and over again.

Wouldn’t it be so much better if you were to find a way to cut all unnecessary time and effort consuming calls? Or to have a plan to face the surge when it happens? Here’s how you can do just that.

1. Create a Clear Vision of Customer Journey Map

The good thing about customers is that they are somewhat predicable. You can build personas for each one of them and predict their behavior based on your interaction with them so far. To do that, try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Visualize every step of your customer journey, what they experience, how they interact with your services and products, and what they might feel every step of the way. Once you create a clear map of every obstacle and inquiry, you’ll be able to forecast their reactions and expect their calls long before they pick up their phones.

2. Proactively Take Steps to Solve Issues Before They Arise

After forecasting many of the issues with which your customer might need your help, you should take proactive steps to solve them before they take place. Some of the ways you can minimize the customer support volume are:

Create A Plan To Handle Season Surges & Emergencies

If you know you have a season when your call center phones start ringing non-stop, you need to plan for it beforehand. How are you going to handle the rush hours? Are you going to hire new agents? Will you open new channels? When all else fails, are you willing to outsource the job? You also need to have an emergency plan to execute immediately if things start to go wrong.

Build a Culture of Self-Assisted Customer Experience

You’ll find that most of the customers call for completely obvious inquiries. That is, it’s obvious for you. It might not be so much for your customers, and that’s why they’re calling. To avoid a lot of these calls, you can create some FAQs lists and comprehensive user guidelines to promote the culture of self-assisted customer experience.

Automating the Customer Experience

Likewise, if you’re dependent on online platforms or e-commerce stores for your business, try to automate the process to eliminate the need for human interactions as much as possible. Add a search bar, guide the user throughout their journey from choosing the products and until the checkout.

3. Categorize Calls Depending on Customers Needs

After a while you’ll be able to categorize your customers based on their needs, and decide which is the most suitable channel for them to communicate with. You can also incorporate an Interactive Voice Response System to take your calls and direct them to the appropriate agents and teams to handle the customer.

4. Make Sure You Have Well-Trained Agents To Handle Calls

When a customer keeps calling back complaining of the same issue, you have to make sure that it’s none of your agents’ fault or lack of assistance that’s creating the problem. Your agents need to be both talented and skilled enough to handle difficult customers, while giving them the proper assistance needed. Their advice should be well-informed, verified, and useful.

When put in an urgent situation where you need to hire new agents without the luxury of a two month training program, you should have a crash-training program ready to prepare them for handling your customers. The brief training should provide them with your business strategy guidelines, customer relationship management skills, and branding tone of your company.

5. Think About Service Outsourcing

Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to business and taking decisions, you need to be realistic about your resources and capacity to handle the surges. If your data says that you are understaffed or overwhelmed with the urgent surge, it’s wiser to look for alternative options – one of which is to outsource the service.

In this FAQ on customer service outsourcing, Julia Luce explains how it’s always best to put your customer needs in mind and how to leave them with a positive customer experience. If outsourcing the job will deliver the best results, so be it. While some companies will still be skeptic about it, and while outsourcing comes with its own set of pros and cons, the key lies in the outsourced agency you’ll be hiring. You need to look for the right agency that uses your branding tone and aligns with your business strategy in their contact with your customers.

Managing Your Customer Support Volume

Whatever the reason for the sudden surge in your customer support volume, you should always learn from it and plan for the future. When you look deep enough into the problem, you’ll be able to visualize a customer journey map that’ll help you take the necessary actions to reduce the volume and eliminate unnecessary communication.

You should also make sure your staff are well-trained to give proper assistance and guidance to manage redundant calls. If you weigh your resources and reach the decision that it’s best to outsource this job to professionals who can meet your standards and satisfy your needs, then that might be the best course of action, especially in emergencies.

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