Not picking up the calls is costing you business and clients.

Still, on average, organizations miss 62% of the phone calls. The reason could be ineffective management, resource crunch, or a burned-out team.

And if you don’t have any solutions within the organization, you can always outsource them.

Outsourcing call center services can prove to be a game changer for your existing customers and potential leads if you get it right. 

But here’s the tricky part. Your customer communication isn’t always going to be a smooth sailing ride. There will be days when you’re bound to get hit by the massive call overflow.

How do you plan to offer a seamless customer service experience still? Let’s tackle that.

In this article, we’ll see how to manage the call center overflow effectively.

What is call center overflow?

An overflow of calls is a huge and usually unexpected increase in the incoming call traffic that your team struggles to manage.

In simpler words, overwhelming your team with more calls than they can handle.

Overflow of calls can happen due to multiple reasons, the good and the bad. It could be because of a temporary glitch in your product or an indicator of a growing business.

Either way, it’s crucial to maintain a positive customer experience.

Impacts of failure to manage call center overflow

Customers walking away frustrated

Imagine how you would feel, waiting on a service call for over ten minutes and still hearing that annoying elevator music.

Presumably, unappreciated. And fairly so.

Businesses thrive with a strong base of satisfied customers, and service plays an essential role in it. Failing to support them in their hour of need can cost you recurring revenue.

Potential leads slipping through the calls

Want to know a secret to easier and quicker sales? 

Answer your calls. Prospects who promptly reach out to you have a stronger intent to buy.

That’s why around 50% of the sales are closed by the team who responds first to a query.

And that’s always better than following up multiple times with a client, just to hear no at the end.

Losing upsell opportunities 

A customer hanging up the call without a satisfactory answer leads to a poor customer experience. 

It means they would think twice the next time they need to call you. With so much friction, you can’t build trust among your customers to pitch any upsell or cross-sell to them.

And it can result in untapped potential going to waste.

Dent on the brand reputation

Happy customers attract other customers.

It’s true because businesses value referrals from their friends and colleagues. You can bring onboard more clients simply by serving your existing customers right.

On the other hand, an angry customer can vent their frustration on bigger social media platforms causing significant harm to your brand image.

Impact of poor call center management [Source - Replicant]
Impact of poor call center management [Source – Replicant]

How to manage call center overflow?

Work with multiple channels

Don’t leave the burden of effective customer service on just calls. 

Set up multiple channels for your customers to reach out to you and get answers to their concerns. Alternatives like live chat support offered by online chat companies work really well for agents to have some breathing space between answering back-to-back calls and customers to get assistance without holding a phone to their ear.

Distributing your load among chat, email, and calls, lets you manage more customers while juggling extra tasks behind the scenes. And since driving chat conversations are more straightforward, you won’t have to train your team on it extensively. 

It will reduce the chances of call overflow to an extent, and even if that happens, you can always suggest other options to customers to reach out to you.

Plan team’s availability

Sometimes work can drown your team completely. And the situation worsens if someone from an already burdened team takes leaves.

But all team members need some time off, even if they are from the customer-facing ones.

The good thing is that you don’t have to choose between your team’s well-being and customer satisfaction. Better planning can tackle this situation better. 

Ensure that at least 70% of your team is always available to answer calls. You must also plan the frequency and time of the breaks your team takes during working hours.

Ideally, to ensure better customer service, you must align a smaller team for night hours or leaves. 24/7 support is a big hit among the customers.

Implement the right technology

The perk of living in a digital world is enjoying a solution for every problem.

When you handle overflow in a call center, there are bound to be some missed calls. But you can still engage the customer with an intelligent call-back system. It ensures that a call is triggered immediately to the number whose call you just missed as soon as an agent gets free. 

It can eliminate manual tracking of the missed calls and keep you in the good books of the customer. 

You can even collect a customer’s queries on the call through voice mails. Your agents can go back to the recording for context and serve the customers better.

Train your team to be call ninjas

You can’t manage call center overflow with an untrained team.

That’s why it’s critical to prepare your agents for not just answering the calls but doing it effectively.

If there is a spike in incoming traffic, you can’t afford your agents to spend long minutes on a call trying to answer a simple query.

Train your team on the product to provide the optimum solution in minimum time. The less time they spend on each call, the more customers they can handle. 

However, you must remember that it’s not a battle between speed and efficiency. You should answer customer calls efficiently with speed.

Customer expectations from a call support service [Source - GetVoIP]
Customer expectations from a call support service [Source – GetVoIP]

Set up a virtual receptionist

A virtual receptionist can make handling call center overflow seem like a cakewalk.

It’s a digital program to guide your customers on the call with the help of artificial intelligence and custom call flows.

It asks questions, assists callers with suitable answers, and redirects their calls to the concerned department.

Even if you aren’t experiencing a call center overflow, it can still add real value to the customer experience.

Route the calls smartly

How calls are rotating among your agents can make or break your whole call center.

Therefore it’s essential to spare a few minutes and set the call routing properly.

Ideally, you should use a round-robin algorithm that can identify the free agents and route the call among them equally. 

You can also check which agent picked a particular customer’s last call and route the call to the same agent. The customer won’t have to repeat their concern to the new agent and can continue the conversation where it was left off.

Get the caller out of the queue

Queues might be doing more harm than good if your caller is stuck in it with the only escape of disconnecting the call.

To avoid annoying the customer, shorten the queue time to a maximum of three minutes. Meanwhile, you can share important information about alternative communication channels with them. 

Before your call system disconnects the call for queued callers, it’s crucial to inform the caller that all the agents are busy at the moment, but you will reach out to them shortly.

Trim and accessorize your IVR

Your IVR is the thing a caller comes into contact with even before the agent. But that’s not where your callers want to be for long. 

So, keep your call flow short and make it easier to connect to the live agent. You can even embed voice bots to your IVR.

Voice bots are intelligent systems that can process natural language and answer the caller accordingly. During call center overflow, these voice bots can prove to be life savers. 

These will filter the frequently asked queries to provide more bandwidth to your team. Your agents can use that extra time to handle more complex concerns.

Monitor meaningful metrics

You can’t overlook tracking the current performance if you wish to improve your services.

And it’s not a one-time activity that you can do once in a while. Unless you are religiously following the data, you would not be able to face the heat during call overflow.

Here are some key metrics to watch out for:

  • First Call Response: how many resolutions were provided in the first call only.
  • Average Call Handling Time: how much time your team spends per call on average.
  • C-Sat: The customer satisfaction score you should collect after every call.
  • Average Ringing Time: how long your team takes to answer the calls.
Key call center statistics to watch out for your customer services [Source - FinancesOnline]
Key call center statistics to watch out for your customer services [Source – FinancesOnline]

Go On – Start managing call center overflow smartly

It’s understandable if you find all these tips to manage call center overflow little overwhelming. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a robust call center system that can manage overflow efficiently.

However, if you don’t have the privilege of time and budget to spare on this problem, you can work on a smarter solution: call center outsourcing.

You can outsource your customer service to provide 24/7 call, chat, and email support. Since the outsourcing firms have a sufficient and highly trained workforce, you won’t have to worry about call overflow again.

To get started with call center outsourcing to manage your customer calls, you can try AM2PM outsourcing services that are affordable, secure, and professional. You can enjoy the benefits of advanced tools and technologies for a better sales pipeline with happy prospects and customers.