Two Strategies to Manage an Increase in Inbound Call Volume
The nature of how we conduct business has drastically changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.
What has been the contact center’s response to Covid-19? Well, it’s encompassed a shift to working from home and strategic reliance on digital channels. Over the course of the last six weeks, we’ve seen at-home agent configurations double on our platform, inbound call volume increase, and digital channel adoption accelerate. In this new setting, efficiency and customer experience concerns are more paramount than ever.
Our COVID-19 taskforce has shared a few operational and campaign adjustments they recommend to help manage this new normal. Below are their top 3 approaches:
I. IVR can be your greatest efficiency creator.
Your IVR strategy can help minimize the impacts of this by increasing self-service and enabling faster talk-offs.
Increase Self-Service: Review your most common inbound call inquiries. Have they changed as a result of COVID-19? Can these calls be serviced through an IVR without an agent or with updated message prompts? If so, that may help avoid having an agent service the call entirely. This is especially true if your business has specific COVID-19 related developments that are driving consumer call volume.
Minimize Talk-offs: IVRs can also be used to confirm consumer identification before getting to an agent. The information that is inputted by the consumer can be presented automatically to the agent upon call connection. This can help eliminate critical seconds during talk-offs while also creating a more personalized experience.
Shift Volume to SMS: There will be some consumers that prefer not to self-serve and also that do not want to stay on hold. Minimize the risk of losing an opportunity to engage with this group of consumers by offering an SMS alternative. This allows consumers to go about their day while enabling agents to reach them. Because agents can handle numerous messaging interactions simultaneously, agents will also have more capacity to engage consumers via SMS.
II. Use digital channels to your advantage.
SMS notifications, including new payment options, loan offerings, and service alerts, are more welcomed by certain consumer segments than ever before. Leveraging SMS can drive efficiencies while meeting consumers on their channel of choice.
Deflect Inbound Volume: Contact centers are seeing an increase in inbound call volume and need to ramp up their outreach campaigns as a result of COVID-19. By sending out proactive and timed SMS campaigns, contact centers can meet consumer channel preferences while simultaneously control when and what calls come in.
Promote Self-Service: SMS campaigns can also be leveraged to direct consumers to self-service portals or website pages. If a new service offering is available for example, sending an SMS to direct consumers to a website with common FAQs can minimize repeat service calls.
Minimize bandwidth requirements: To ensure call quality for at-home agents, having optimal bandwidth is critical. However, this is not the case for servicing SMS interactions. If there are connectivity concerns for certain agents in shifting to at-home work, routing digital conversations to this workgroup can help you maximize the number of agents that can be migrated to remote work. Combined with timed SMS campaigns, these workgroups can be quickly ramped up / down based on digital campaign cadence.
Eliminate distractions: Not everyone has an ideal work from home environment. Between family and other distractions, the risk of background noise is one challenge in shifting to a remote workforce. Email/SMS interactions can eliminate that risk by providing agents the ability to serve consumers without exposing consumers to undesirable background noise.
Triple agent service capacity: SMS also presents the opportunity for agents to move from a 1-to-1 service ratio to one-to-many service efficiency. While a phone call requires a dedicated agent to service, agents can service multiple SMS interactions at once.
Increasing your reliance on digital offers a twofold benefit by allowing you to direct your customers to self-serve while routing high-cost calls to less expensive channels. When done correctly, SMS, webchat, and other asynchronous means of communication let you head off calls entirely and enable you to solve problems before a need to speak to an agent ever arises.
LiveVox is a leading provider of enterprise cloud contact center solutions, managing more than 14+ billion interactions a year across a multichannel environment. With over 15 years of pure cloud expertise, we empower contact center leaders to drive effective engagement strategies on the consumer’s channel of choice. Our leading-edge risk mitigation and security capabilities help clients quickly adapt to a changing business environment. With new features released quarterly, LiveVox remains at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Supported by over 450 employees and rapidly growing, we are headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Atlanta, Denver, Bangalore, and Colombia. To learn more, schedule a demo today.