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Blog - November 10, 2020

Make sure you’re ready for seasonal call overloads

Black Friday and the Christmas holidays are coming! A time you know will lead to more (online) sales. During these months your customer service departments will likely be buzzing with phone calls: people asking questions, wanting to know when their order will arrive, to return or exchange their product. Are your contact centers ready for these call spikes?

make sure you're ready for seasonal call spikes

With all the COVID-19 regulations around, online shopping has been booming business this year. This will be no different in the last months of the year with all those special sales periods. It’s harder to go out and go shopping in cities and malls. The annual call overload may therefore be even bigger than in the past years. For many companies, such events could easily account for over 30% of the total annual inflow of calls.

Every industry has seasonal peaks

More or less evident, almost every industry has annual calls spikes like these: the run-up to Tax Day for tax agents and authorities, people booking summer and winter holidays (as soon as COVID-19 is behind us) in Spring and Fall, insurance companies shortly after heavy Fall and Winter storms. The reasons for the spikes may be different but the effect is the same.

Create a lasting impression

You want to serve your customers and not keep them waiting too long. Many of these spike calls can be first-time customers you definitely want to convert into recurring customers. This is your opportunity to make a lasting impression. So open the door and don’t torment them with your IVR message announcing how many other callers you have and place them in the queue. They want an agent to help them. Now! So how do you make sure you’re well prepared?

Short term staff

Usually, these kinds of spikes only last for a limited period of time. This means you don’t want to hire too many extra agents. They need to be trained and maybe you’re even sure what to expect of the seasonal peak. What if you decide to turn down the sales a bit during Black Friday because you don’t want your brick-and-mortar stores to be overloaded with people? Then all your extra staff will be sitting there, not bringing in but only costing more money. So, what to do?

Back-up plan

We understand your dilemma and we’ve got your back, without costing extra money. For those times demand for your service is too high, we have a back-up solution. This Overload Solution will automatically be thrown into gear when the system recognizes call volume is exceeding your answering rate. It includes intelligent (re)routing functionalities, call-back features, together with messaging options to pro-actively inform your customer when waiting time is zero. And if you have several contact centers active at the same time, maybe all you need is an API that makes a real-time automated weighted distribution of incoming calls across sites based on call center capacity without human interaction.

Sales success

Seasonal spikes can be stressful for customer services. At the same time, they make up for a large part of your annual sales so you can’t afford to lose out on them. If you handle those calls well and beyond your customers’ expectations, they offer a perfect opportunity to turn customers into fans.

To turn an overwhelming inflow into success you will need to be prepared. Our Peak Time Solution will help you do just that, so you can seize the opportunity. After all: ‘’Success occurs when Opportunity meets Preparation.’’ Can we help you manage those calls so you can turn them into a success?


Editors note: this post was previously published on May 18, 2018, and has been completely updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy. 


Christmas shopping