Ah, Black Friday. Once an unofficial American-exclusive holiday, this day-after-Thanksgiving kickoff to the holiday shopping season has gained traction in recent years all over the world. It seems that everyone wants to get in on the fervor - and possible frustration - of the season.
If you work in an inbound contact center, you understand the challenges that Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other major retail event holidays can put on customer service representatives. There are so many reasons why the phone lines are endlessly busy during these days - but only so many human call center agents to field all of those calls!
When you’re looking to prepare your facility for the comping of the Christmas shopping season, you need solid inbound call management services. Here are some tips for implementing these services in your center this year - as well as how to navigate the most wonderful and potentially stressful time of the year!
First - Why Does Call Volume Explode on Retail Holidays?
Before you can rise to meet the challenges that Black Friday and other retail holidays will present to your center this season, it is important to know exactly what those challenges are. Why are so many more people calling - and what kind of concerns do they have?
Consumers may call for a variety of reasons this holiday season, but a few of the most common motivations include:
- Questions or concerns about sales or specials.
- Complaints about difficulty purchasing discounted goods or accessing sales sites.
- Questions about products advertised in sales circulars.
- Desire to order products for gifts, especially if those items are on sale.
- Requests for refunds after holiday spending goes a little too far.
- Concerns about shipping and handling.
- Complaints about faulty or misrepresented products.
- Returns, exchanges, or refunds.
As you can see, there are many reasons for calling customer contact centers during the holiday shopping season. Now, your center just has to figure out how to field all of those calls. Luckily, inbound call management services are tailor-made for the job.
What are Inbound Call Management Services?
Working in a contact center environment, you may have heard of inbound call management services before, but may not have direct experience with them yourself.
In general, the purpose of inbound call center management services is to establish and implement parameters for the routing and distribution of incoming calls. What does that sound like in plain English? Essentially, it’s a way of setting up your call center for success by determining how calls will be routed and what means will be used to direct them through the network.
Some of the ways that these services might route a call include:
- Skills-based routing. This is when calls are routed to agents based on their perceived ability to handle the type of call. This perception is based on agent experience, training, and more.
- Date and time-based routing. In this format, agents are given calls to field based on their availability in relation to the time of the call. This is especially useful when remote agents or multiple centers are in use since the availability of agents will vary with numerous geographical locations in play.
- Caller location. Where a caller is calling from might be used in routing their call at times. This is more likely to be true if agents are stationed in numerous locations to better serve consumers or if a language barrier might be an issue.
- Automatic routing. This is the least precise method of routing calls. During automatic routing, calls are delivered to the agents who are currently available to receive them. This prevents long hold times for callers and overwhelming workloads for agents.
No matter what type of routing is used, there are a variety of factors that go into their use - and which influence their accuracy. Several call features are considered vitally important in assisting with the routing process - and also delivering a better customer experience for callers.
Call Features Use in Inbound Call Management Services
What call features help inbound call management services to route calls? Here are just a few of the most important:
- If you have ever called a business during their busiest hours, you have likely been added to a call queue. Much like a line that you would physically wait in, these virtual lines are used in both automatic routing - in which the people at the front of the queue are typically served first, regardless of other factors - and other types of routing. In other routing applications, a queue is used to organize incoming calls until they can be separated from one another for skills-based, geographical, or other types of routing.
- Interactive voice response is a method that allows callers to serve themselves up to a certain point. Many people have encountered this approach when calling a customer service center and being asked by a recording to state the purpose of their call. This interaction between the human voice and automated features allows calls to be appropriately directed - or may replace the need for agent-to-consumer interaction altogether in some circumstances.
- Prerecorded menus. While people make a lot of jokes about the “press one for English” type of menus that contact center and customer service lines often use, these menus cut down on a lot of wasted time and misdirection. By offering consumers a way to categorize themselves before ever having to speak to a live agent, these menus make routing easier than ever before.
As you can see, technology is a big part of the routing process. For more information on implementing inbound call management services in your contact center this holiday shopping season, contact the industry experts at ChaseData. We have the software and solutions your team needs to streamline the receipt and distribution of incoming calls, plus the service you’ll love for helping guide you through the integration process.
Don’t let the most profitable days of the year come and go without cashing in - and don’t let your agents become overwhelmed when you do! Give us a call today to learn more!