How to deal with the crisis workload of the call center during the COVID-19 pandemic

How Freezvon Recommends dealing with Crisis Workload During COVID-19 Pandemic

What should a business do when, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many companies had to reduce the number of call center employees, and yet customers expect a more responsive and quick response from support managers? Long delays on the line make customers feel that the company is not paying enough attention to the service. But with limited resources, a business cannot hire more agents. Use your VoIP telephony resources to assess communication channels and add automation to customer service processes.

Figure out self-help resources

Use a call recording service that connects to a virtual number to analyze the reasons for calls and identify typical customer problems. This data helps to compose succinct answers for the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of the website or chatbot. Customers do not have to waste time on calls to the call center, and your agents can focus on those users who need serious help.

Examine call history to identify peak hours and inform customers in a welcome message when it could be hard to reach you. Alternatively, invite them to request a Callback and choose a time when the manager can contact them.

Launch the interactive voice response, or IVR, reduces the workload on the telephone line. Using the IVR, you can:

  • briefly introduce your services to clients;
  • make customers pay attention to your seasonal discounts;
  • warn about the waiting time;
  • offer to request a callback if the client has contacted you after the working hours in the call center, or leave a voicemail.

Freezvon will help you make recordings for voice prompts and set up your IVR menu when it's convenient for you.

Don't hide important information

The more difficult it is for a client to find important information, what goods are in stock, how long it takes to process an order, the more likely it is for them to call the call center. Remember that the buying situation is stressful for a person. And the irritation only grows if the company does not provide a simple technical solution for the purchase, and the person still has to spend time communicating with the manager.

Ensure that all resources (website, social media) contain complete information about goods and services. Introduce the practice that the manager makes an outgoing call to the client to confirm the order's details and explain the terms and conditions of delivery. And virtual IP telephony will take care of the low cost of outgoing calls.

Evaluate the call escalation process

It doesn't matter to customers that your phone line receives too many calls; when they're contacting you, they want you to hear them out. The acceptable response time is 20 seconds. Waiting for an agent to respond for a longer time will lead to unsatisfied customers requiring reassurance, and you're spending even more time on them. To solve the problem of call center congestion, you need to take an approach from several sides:

Examine call statistics

Peak hours, missed calls, call duration - your Freezvon account saves all this information for the virtual numbers in real-time. You can download the data and calculate whether you have enough agents to cover the current call volume using tools such as the Erlang online calculator.

Configure call forwarding scheme

The recommended occupancy rate of agents in the call center is 85-95%. When the percentage is higher, the agent is likely to try to end the call as quickly as possible with little attention to customer service. But it's important to remember that managers are not robots. To be involved and attentive to the client's problems, they need time to process each call. Determine the appropriate forwarding arrangement for your call center:

  • to all agents at once;
  • to all agents in turn (round-robin);
  • to the least occupied agent.

Consider adding agents on a flexible schedule. They will help answer calls during peak hours.

A close-knit team for quality service

Working amidst a crisis adds stress to call center agents. Employees are interested in the company's financial success, but it is hard to adhere to high standards of service, fearing for their health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure to maintain hygienic standards in the workplace. If appropriate, allow agents to perform duties from home, remotely.

Using a virtual PBX allows access to the necessary tools for all agents, regardless of whether they work from the office or remotely. It operates through the cloud and will enable agents to manage call queues and contact colleagues through the company's internal lines.

The call recording service available on the PBX will be helpful to check how agents are following the conversation script with customers. To help employees better understand how to interact with customers appropriately, conduct training so that agents can discuss difficulties in their work, get advice from colleagues, and practice communication with customers.

In the current situation for business during the coronavirus, it is essential to be realistic and determine new standards for your call center. Overworked agents are more likely to slow down due to stress. As a leader, show empathy, try flexible work hours, remote work, and rewards. When a company has an atmosphere of trust, it has a positive effect on customer service overall. And VoIP telephony will help you set up a self-help system.

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