Are you prepared for higher call volumes this holiday season?

Posted on: November 23rd, 2016 by Art Barger

The holidays are here, and that means consumer demands will soon be on the rise.

One of the top priorities for banks and businesses this time of year is making sure their customer service staff is equipped to handle increasing customer demands. For contact centers, this means dealing with more calls per hour.

According to the article, “Seasonal hiring for the holidays on the rise,” the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that retailers will hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers during the holiday season. Resizing their workforce is critical to managing what is expected to be a 3.6 percent increase in holiday sales over last year.

For the rest of the year, your contact center will play a huge role in supporting higher fourth quarter sales, and a lot of that hinges on how well you can deliver exceptional customer service over the telephone. To do this successfully, call center managers take different approaches to ensuring their staff is prepared for spikes in call volumes, including:

  • Hire more staff: Bringing in more staff is a common practice for many businesses during the busy holiday season. While more employees ensure that the phones are getting picked up, increased training, labor and overall operating costs can put a serious dent in quarterly profits.
  • IVR messaging: Customers don’t like to be put on hold. They called to get answers and expect to talk to a live person for help. While call-back applications can help manage customer expectations and ease caller frustration, it doesn’t resolve customer issues in a timely fashion.
  • Outsourcing: Much like bringing on seasonal staff, outsourcing a professional call center can help manage peaks in call volumes. However, the costs to train additional staff and handle overflow calls reduces holiday profit margins.

Meeting the expectations of your customers during predicted increases in call volumes is a challenge all contact centers face, particularly during the holiday season. The ability to scale your team during predicted, as well as unexpected, call spikes plays a huge role in customer service and how consumers ultimately perceive your brand.

Automated contact center tools like the TRUSTID® Physical Caller Authentication don’t add more staff or overhead to handle higher call volumes. Instead, they help optimize your caller identification process. By instantly and invisible verifying the level of risk each inbound call presents to your business, validated good customers are automatically routed to call center agents.

Because these calls were authenticated before the phone was picked up, phone reps don’t have to devote precious time interrogating them. They can greet them before addressing why they are calling for faster call resolution, which lowers call handling times and associated labor expenses on each call.

For inbound calls that are verified as high risk or spoofed, businesses have the option to automatically remove known bad calls from the telephone system without the impostor even knowing it. As a result, contact centers don’t have to invest precious time and resources talking to social engineers trying to gain access to your good customer information and accounts.

Nothing is more important to your telephone channel over the holidays than providing exceptional service to every caller. Optimizing your contact center operations with tools like TRUSTID help secure your telephone channel and meet your customers’ expectations without adding more expenses that dip into your business profits. In the end, delivering a better customer experience is crucial to improving your customer satisfaction and retention rates throughout the holiday season, and beyond.