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Navigating unpredictable call volume in consumer services

August 31, 2023

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Consumer services leaders are no strangers to the impact of seasonality. High customer demand can often be anticipated – like boiler servicing in preparation for winter or pool maintenance requests as summer approaches.

But with extreme weather conditions, pest infestations, and last-minute customer requests to navigate, call volume quickly becomes unpredictable.

This turbulence often leaves overworked Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) facing frustrated customers. Meanwhile, prospective customers who are stuck on hold will take their business to someone who can pick up the phone.

Your business shouldn’t suffer because of high customer demand. It should thrive. Here’s how to turn unpredictable call volume into opportunity with a customer-led voice assistant.

1. Handle overflow & out-of-hours calls

Emergencies don’t keep regular hours. Reassurance and comfort come from picking up the phone and speaking to someone immediately.

Voice assistants ensure customers are no longer met with busy signals or unanswered calls. Instead, you can answer every call immediately, no matter the time of day, enabling you to schedule callouts, take payments over the phone, and work with your CSRs to create a more efficient callback process.

2. Scale your resources up and down

Even the most thought-out seasonal hiring and training plans can hit roadblocks, leaving you understaffed during peak periods and potential earnings on the table. Or, you end up with more staff than you need when phones are quiet, with CSRs paid to wait for the phone to ring.

By implementing a voice assistant, you can scale your resources up and down to meet demand, allowing you to handle thousands of calls simultaneously during busy periods while incurring no costs during quieter moments.

3. Use customer insights to deal with issues proactively

Every customer conversation holds a wealth of information that can be used to improve your customer service offering. Your CSRs don’t have time to feed trends back into your business during busy periods. They are focused on resolving your customer’s problem.

Voice assistants capture real-time insights that are otherwise missed during every customer conversation. This information helps you anticipate customer needs, allocate resources strategically, and develop your services in line with customer needs.

4. Deliver a consistent & personalized service

Maintaining consistent service standards is challenging when the demand for your services fluctuates dramatically. As the volume of inquiries increases, CSRs rushing through callout requests and processing payments over the phone can impact the quality of service they provide and may even lead to mistakes.

Voice assistants provide the same standard of service regardless of call volume, recognizing returning customers and making processes as efficient as possible. Customers can explain their query in as much detail as they like, while the voice assistant provides helpful and natural responses at every turn of the conversation. Not only does this lead to more engaging experiences, but customers are less inclined to need to speak to a member of your team.

5. Keep your CSRs happy

The pressure of delivering a high standard of service consistently, even during periods of extreme demand, is why CSRs can be in the role for as little as two weeks. Having a voice assistant handle common call types, including out-of-hours requests, alleviates the pressure of repetitive calls and allows CSRs to focus on customers with complex requests who need them the most.

If customers need to speak to an agent, the voice assistant can effectively handoff the conversation with all the key information provided, enabling your CSRs to handle the call faster than they could have otherwise.

Implementing this change improves CSR well-being and work-life balance while helping recruit and retain the right people.

Conclusion

When your call volume is as predictable as the weather, getting support for your CSRs is crucial to delivering an efficient and (dare we say, enjoyable?) customer experience.

Voice assistants address the challenge of handling overflow calls, scaling resources smartly, and proactively resolving issues. By ensuring every call is answered immediately, day or night, consumer services companies can maximize revenue. With routine queries handled, CSRs can enjoy better well-being while delivering more personalized interactions.

Implementing a customer-led voice assistant isn’t just a response to unpredictable call volume; it’s a strategic move that allows you to identify trends, enhance your services, and exceed customer expectations.

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