Managing the Ups and Downs of Contact Center Call Volume

Every contact center goes through peaks and troughs in call volume, whether planned, seasonal, or unexpected. A natural disaster can lead to a rise in insurance claims, just as the New Year can result in call spikes to gyms and fitness centers. Thanks to cloud-based contact center solutions, businesses today are in much better position to ensure agents can deal with the ebb and flow of call volume.

Scalability

The cloud is inherently more scalable than on-premises contact center solutions, and beyond that, some cloud providers offer very flexible licensing models. A pay-as-you-go approach allows you to accommodate both surges and quieter times. Rather than requiring you to pay upfront for the maximum number of seats you're ever going to need, a cloud provider should allow you to scale as needed, on-the-fly and (ideally) without even requiring notification.

Remote Agents

With a cloud solution, it's easier to connect remote workers to the contact center. This approach enables you to tap into a much larger workforce as agents can work from home. Your business is not restricted by geographic location and you can more easily serve customers outside of the usual contact center operating hours. You can also hire seasonal staff without adding extra office space.

A cloud-based system should make remote work situations easy to implement without affecting normal operations or how customers are managed, and you should still be able to manage and track your agents just as if they were in the office. Additionally, remote workers should have access to the same desktop experience as agents working in the office.

Blended Agents

Many contact centers don't cope with changes in call volume in the most efficient way. If inbound agents are busy during a peak period yet outbound agents are twiddling their thumbs, consider using a blended dialing approach. During inbound lulls, agents could busy themselves making outbound calls to gather customer feedback or pursue upsell opportunities.

Blending inbound and outbound calls can reduce call queues and frustration for customers, while keeping agents busy -- ideally all within one concurrent license. Blending across channels will also allow you to manage surges across social, email, text, Web chat, etc. Look for a cloud contact center solution that allows agents to move seamlessly (and without added cost) between inbound and outbound, and different channels, so that you can maximize productivity and even improve customer service.

Workforce Management (WFM)

Workforce management functionality provides insight into call fluctuations so that you can anticipate volumes and plan accordingly. If your contact center needs 25 agents one week and 50 the next, workforce management solutions can help you allocate resources as best as possible using cold hard data already available in your cloud contact center solution.

By offering greater license flexibility, along with sufficient agent resources and management tools, the cloud allows you to easily handle the ups and downs of contact center while also offering a better approach to managing the customer journey.

For more research-driven tips on improving the customer experience, see West's report, "Converting Customer Experience into Revenue."