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Contact Center Agility: Tips for Managing Call Volumes

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Historically, and especially when there are unanticipated events, contact center managers have struggled to work with agility and avoid customer experience issues.
 
For example, if proper precautions aren’t in place, unexpected increases in contact volume can cause long wait times and low availability. Traditional contact centers are especially strapped when faced with a surge of unexpected calls because of limited ability to scale quickly. Alternatively, they have to plan and pay for peak capacity at all times. In addition, it is challenging to quickly change the customer experience in reaction to long call queues. Recording time-sensitive prompts, updating them in the system, and changing call routing requires professional services and takes several days to weeks.
 
In this post, we will provide guidance on actions and measures for handling high contact volumes gracefully, so in turn, your organization can provide customers the best experience possible, and discuss how Amazon Connect can support your agile contact center.
 
  • Add Agents Quickly and Divert Volume to Chat — In traditional seat-based licensing models for contact centers, there is always a limit to how many users are configured for surge capacity over voice. With Amazon Connect, however, a contact center agent will be able to handle one voice call or they can handle up to five chats simultaneously. Customers benefit from the ability to engage with the contact center in a medium that is most comfortable and efficient for them. If your contact center is experiencing long queues or dropped calls, look to a solution that includes an option for chat to meet increased demand, while also allowing you to scale down whenever needed, only paying for what you use.
  • Automate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) — An effective way of diverting contacts from your agents is by automating frequently asked questions. For example, in a voice call you can advertise your website’s FAQ link on the interactive voice response or during queue wait times. These messages could redirect customers to the FAQ links, addressing a chunk of calls. These messages can also be leveraged during both open and closed hours to address customer queries at all times.
  • Provide Estimated Wait Times — Unexpected call spikes can result in longer than usual wait times. You can improve customer satisfaction by proactively notifying customers to expect a delay. Letting the callers know of long wait times is respectful of their time as well as sets appropriate customer expectations. Use real-time metrics in your contact center to monitor call queues, and add prompts to advise customers of higher-than-normal call volume and update the contact flows based on the queue wait time or queue size.
  • Offer Callbacks — A queued callback can be offered when a customer has been waiting in queue to be connected to an agent. A queued callback means that a customer can provide a phone number that they would like to be called on when an agent becomes available instead of waiting in queue. Additionally, callers will continue to hold their position in queue when they opt for a callback.
  • Monitoring Call Volumes — Monitoring call volumes allows your contact center supervisors to alert your team of above average contacts and initiate business processes to reduce contact handle times. For example, at a 25% increase of your daily call volume, you can notify your supervisors to automate a greater percent of your contact flows to address common customer inquiries or play a recorded prompt to inform customers.
Using these suggestions and recommendations, contact center managers can gracefully handle unexpected call volumes resulting in a positive customer experience and effective handling of call volumes. These solutions can be done with ease and with little to no coding in Amazon Connect. Combining the use of queue limits, queued callbacks, and Amazon Lex bots for self-service with the ability for agents to work from anywhere gives you the flexibility to customize the experience to meet your business needs. Amazon Connect enables you to scale up to handle the unexpected high call volumes and scale back down once the demand normalizes, while only paying for customer value minutes.
 

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