Call Center agents around the world are experiencing call traffic surges as a result of the lockdown imposed by many countries worldwide.
Citizens have been forced to stay at home, albeit against their will. Online platforms and phone calls have become the best option for customers to reach out to brands, and this has led to a significant rise in customer inquiries across various channels.
According to Zendesk data (Call Center Studio is integrated with Zendesk), in March, remote work and learning companies saw customer requests through their native messaging channels increase by 600%, and customer requests through chat increase by 220%.
For airline companies, ticket volume increased by 65% via their messaging apps, and by 940% via chat.
It is evident that there’s enormous pressure on call center agents across the world, an increase in wait times, and an inadvertently increase in the frustration levels of customers.
How can call center agents ensure that customer queries are resolved with the best service experience?
5 tips for contact center agents during a call traffic surge
- Set up the right IVR and on-hold message
- Show knowledge and understanding of customer challenge(s)
- Have strong multi-tasking skills
- Have a lot of patience
- Be honest
1. Set up the right IVR and On-Hold Message
It gets frustrating when you are waiting in a queue and have no idea when you’ll be attended to. The same principle can be applied to your call queues.
Telling customers how long they have to wait provides a much less frustrating experience than waiting in the queue for an extended period with no updates as to when you’ll be answered.
You can also provide suggestions to possible issues your customers could be looking for using information from frequently treated queries.
2. Show knowledge & understanding of customer’s challenge(s)
Customers usually expect call center agents to have answers to their problems right before they finish their inquiries and often feel disappointed because agents take extra minutes or sometimes ask them to call back.
Considering the waiting time a customer had to go through, this could lead to a public backlash on the brand/company.
To prevent such events, agents need to be proactive with solutions to customers.
Through studying interactions on the call center software dashboard and using AI conversation learning tools such as Google Dialogflow, agents can show a good understanding of customers, providing them with tailored responses.
Customer service reps must be able to retain as much product/service knowledge as possible.
3. Have Strong Multi-Tasking Skills
Due to an increase in requests from customers via multiple channels, an agent must be able to manage these efficiently using omnichannel communication call center software.
For example, a yelling customer could be on the phone, another on Whatsapp sending multiple messages, while another is on the company’s webchat.
These require a high level of multi-tasking to manage every inquiry while maintaining a calm and friendly gesture.
4. Have a Lot of Patience
Patience has never been more necessary for customer service agents than in these times.
Customers could be very agitated and offensive; as a call center agent, there should be room for considering numerous reasons for such uneasiness.
If a customer seems upset, frustrated, forgetful, tense, or foggy, an agent needs to give them space to express themselves – in full – without intermittently cutting them off.
Although this could translate into longer call times for some customers, it’s better to have a call that takes an extra couple of minutes than it is to have a customer need to call you again with unresolved queries.
Also, some customers may be less internet savvy and will require more time and calm in treating their cases.
5. Be Honest
Often, the major challenge customers have with call center agents is the lack of honesty.
Agents, in an attempt to calm customers or get them off their necks, provide inaccurate responses.
It’s better to tell a customer that you can’t provide the requested information at the moment and will get back to them than to respond inaccurately.
Most times, agents feel uneasy admitting an error. But when you tell customers the truth about any situation and define the steps being taken to make things right, your customers walk away knowing that they can depend on you to give the truth. You build their trust in your business.
In conclusion, the longer the lockdowns, the more customer expectations will grow.
The best way to be on top of the situation is to ensure your call center agents are always on their best behavior and equipped with the right tools to manage, engage with customers across all communication touchpoints.
The digitalization of call center operations is a necessity. Let’s talk.