8 Proven ways to prevent high call volume

High volume times are stressful. But they’re also expected in customer service and it’s crucial your team can handle these surges. When volume’s high, customers tend to wait longer to get help and some may get lost in the shuffle or receive rushed, inaccurate resolutions. From there, CSAT can decline, customers may lose trust in your business, share their negative experiences with their network, and even leave your company for a competitor. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that you can prepare for high volume by creating a solid strategy that empowers agents and leaves your reputation intact. First, let’s define high volume:

What is high call volume? - When the number of inbound calls is more than what your team can accommodate.

The industry standard for high call volume is 10% above the normal level, but if your team struggles before the 10% mark, you’re experiencing high volume as well.

What causes high volume?

High volume occurs for a few reasons and companies can’t always foresee when they’ll experience a surge. In some cases though, businesses can expect more volume, especially during:

  • Holidays or season changes (pool maintenance companies will see more business from Labor Day to Memorial Day)

  • Service outages (calls will increase if a service temporarily goes down)

  • Marketing campaigns (a big initiative or campaign could increase call volume as more people are interested in your product/service and have more questions

  • Organizational pain points (extended training times, new agents, kinks within support team can increase handle times and cause backlogs)

How to prevent high call volume:

Just because some customers need support, doesn’t mean they should have to wait patiently (or impatiently) on the line for the next available person. Many strategies today empower customers to choose how and when they receive help. Others let support teams utilize their resources on the spot so the entire team stays organized and aligned. From self-service to automated actions, check out these 8 ways to prevent high call volume.

1. Self-service

During high volume times, support departments may need to answer the same questions over and over again, potentially causing friction for both agents and customers. When agents are busy repeating solutions to common problems, they can’t focus on more technical or complex questions in a timely manner. Customers who need to repeat their issues multiple times may feel the company isn’t efficiently solving their problem.

Prevent this scenario by giving customers ways to answer their questions on their own through up-to-date content. This powerful approach, commonly known as self-service, can help deflect calls. Through an external knowledge base (that functions as part of your knowledge management strategy) customers can look up their problem and find the solution on their own, minimizing the need to contact your team.

Instead of seeing a queue full of customers calling about the same easy-to-solve questions, businesses can clean up their queues, using a KB to deflect calls. Support teams can make their self-service strategy even stronger by analyzing knowledge base searches.

After looking into the keywords customers use, teams can create or edit existing content that addresses their issue, ensuring customers get the information they need. The more in-depth your knowledge base articles, the better you’ll be able to deflect tickets and free agents to resolve other tickets.

2. Offer callbacks to customers waiting in queues

Customers do not enjoy being left on hold, and if left waiting too long, they may feel less loyal to your business. Agents—feeling pressure to answer every call during surges— may rush through a resolution and compromise the customer experience or forget your company’s guidelines for answering calls.

A callback option offers a way to manage high volume by assuring customers you’ll address their issue without them needing to wait on hold. Companies can use callbacks when the waiting audio message has played a certain amount of times or if there are a few calls in the queue ahead of the caller. Callbacks reduce the number of calls coming in, give agents