Is your business overwhelmed with incoming phone calls? Congratulations—high call volume often indicates that a business is booming. However, managing an influx of calls while dedicating an appropriate amount of time to each caller can be challenging.

If you’re struggling with high call volume, there are solutions you can adopt to redirect callers to other resources, decrease call frequency, and dedicate more resources to your existing calls. Taking the time to analyze all your options can help you implement the most comprehensive solutions for your business.

Read on to learn more about high call volume and nine effective ways to manage this challenge in your business.

What Is a High Call Volume?

Call volume refers to the number of calls a business or call center receives. High call volume occurs when a business gets more inbound calls than its employees can reasonably accommodate. Many companies define high call volume as a call volume that is 10% above the expected level for their team.

What Causes High Call Volume?

High call volume can occur due to numerous factors. Sometimes businesses experience more calls during specific seasons depending on the service or products they offer, such as in the summer or around the holidays. Other times, a successful marketing campaign might be the culprit.

However, high call volume can also occur if the number of calls remains the same, but the number of employees or resources to handle those calls changes. For example, companies sometimes lack the necessary resources to take calls when they are training new employees.

Essentially anything that leads demand for your product or service to increase or the available resources to handle those calls to decrease can result in high call volume. If your business is experiencing increased call volume, identifying the cause is essential to finding the best solution for your team.

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We use Weave’s call queues to manage the high volume of calls that come into our scheduling team, which is distributed across multiple locations. It’s been a lifesaver for our team to keep callers in a queue while they’re answering other patients or responding to text messages, rather than having the people who want to schedule with us go to voicemail.

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Is High Call Volume a Good Thing?

High call volume has its advantages and disadvantages. Often, increased calls correlate to boosted sales or service appointments. If most callers contact your business with questions about your goods or services, this may indicate that your company is growing.

However, high call volume can also occur when more customers are calling your business with complaints. While this scenario is rarer, your business may experience increased calls after releasing a faulty product or receiving negative publicity.

High call volume is typically beneficial overall. However, if your team cannot properly handle all the inbound calls you receive, customers may become impatient or angry with your business, leading to lost revenue.

How To Identify High Call Volume

Typically, businesses know when they are experiencing high call volume. However, here are a few tell-tale signs that your business may be experiencing more calls than usual:

  •  The phones ring more often than normal
  • Your team is unable to answer all inbound calls
  • Your company receives more voicemails than usual
  • Customers are complaining of long wait times

If you’re unsure whether your business is experiencing high call volume, you can always check the metrics on your phone system. Many modern phone systems provide data about the number of inbound and outbound calls each day. If your call numbers are higher than last month, you are experiencing high call volume.

9 Ways to Manage High Call Volume

High call volume can be stressful at first, especially if your team is unequipped to handle the additional calls. Thankfully, you can implement several solutions to manage high call volume effectively.

1. Implement Self-Service Resources

If customers frequently call your business with general questions, one way to reduce your call volume is to offer self-service resources on your website.

Customers can refer to these resources instead of calling your business directly to ask questions.

Your business’s website can address questions about your:

  • Hours of operation
  • Specific services or products
  • Pricing structure
  • Pandemic-related changes
  • Other common topics

Making this information highly visible on your site can allow customers to answer their own questions without calling you, reducing your call volume.

2. Adopt an Online Chat Tool

Increasing your number of communication methods is another way to reduce inbound calls. One popular contact method that many businesses have begun adopting is an online chat tool.

Online chat tools allow customers to communicate back and forth with one of your employees or a call center agent in real-time. These tools allow for instant communication while taking less time and energy than physical calls.

Embedding a chat tool on your website can allow customers to find this communication method quickly and efficiently when they need assistance.

Better yet, once your business implements self-service resources on your website, employees can link customers to these pages through online chat, reducing their communication time altogether.

3. Present a Call Back as An Option

No one likes waiting on hold. However, when your business is experiencing high call volume, customers may need to wait thirty minutes to an hour to speak with someone about their concerns. By the time they reach a call agent, customers are likely to be disgruntled and upset, holding a poorer image of your company in mind.

One solution many businesses have begun adopting is the “callback” option. With this tactic, your team members or call agents would provide customers with the opportunity to receive a call back later rather than waiting on hold.

The callback option saves customers time and hassle while allowing employees to distribute call volume more evenly throughout the day.

4. Schedule Employees Strategically

If your business is like many, you probably receive more calls during certain times of the day. While the exact timeframe tends to vary from business to business, a few days of tracking call frequency is often enough to establish a pattern.
Scheduling more employees during your heaviest call times can help your team better manage high call volume.

5. Be Upfront With Customers

Customers often become angry and frustrated when they wait for more than a few minutes for their calls to go through. Sometimes a simple greeting message explaining that your business is experiencing high call volume and wait times may be longer than usual can help customers empathize with your situation.

It also lets them know what to expect. That way, they aren’t taken by surprise if they are kept on hold for a long time. Consider adding position announcements letting your callers know where they are in your queue, as well.

High call volume is challenging to hide from your customers. Being upfront with them can relieve some of the tension as you work to implement an effective solution to reduce your call load.

6. Use an Online Scheduling Platform

If you run an appointment-based business, chances are that most of your calls are from customers wanting to schedule appointments, change their appointment times, or verify upcoming appointments. Allowing customers to schedule, check, and change their appointment times online could reduce your call volume dramatically.

Utilizing a scheduling platform reduces the workload and effort behind implementing an online scheduling tool for customers. Often it’s possible to get your scheduling tool up and running in a matter of days.

7. Outsource Your Call Center

If your in-house staff is struggling to handle high call volume, one solution to consider is outsourcing your calls to a call center. Your team can outsource specific calls, such as calls from customers wanting to schedule appointments or transfer all inbound calls through a call center triage system.

Outsourcing calls to a call center can save your business money, help callers receive assistance faster, and reduce stress on your in-house employees. However, this communication method is also less personal and can reduce customer satisfaction in some cases.

8. Hire More Staff

Hiring more staff is a natural consequence of growing your business. The more customers you have, the more employees you will need. As a result, expanding your team is another way to combat high call volume and reduce the workload on current employees.

Many businesses hire temporary staff during periods of increased inbound calls, such as around the holidays. Others hire a few more permanent workers once they see evidence that their call volume will remain high for the foreseeable future. In either case, hiring more employees is an effective way to manage high call volume.

9. Introduce Call Queues

If you don’t have an effective, strategic call routing system in place, your business is more likely to struggle when experiencing high call volume. Implementing call queues is an easy way to route inbound calls more strategically.

A virtual call system will transfer inbound calls to your business’s call queue. This system can then route calls to all phones simultaneously, ensuring that no calls go unaddressed or send each call to the phone that has been inactive the longest.

While customers wait to speak with an employee, you can opt to play a pre-recorded greeting, hold music, and queue position updates. You can also offer callers the option to exit the line, opting to leave a voicemail or request a callback if they can’t or don’t want to continue waiting.

You may even be able to set a maximum hold time in the queue, after which the caller is automatically routed to the next step in your call system, whether that be another call line, voicemail, or otherwise.

If you’re looking for solutions to manage high call volume more efficiently, Weave offers a range of tools, from call queue technology to website assistants. Consider trying a free Weave demo to see how technology can transform your customer service.

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.business.com/articles/manage-high-call-volume/