Call center blockage is when a business’s communication channels are unable to take new incoming contact.
This typically occurs during busy periods when all available agents are already handling calls. But it can also occur due to technological failings that cause the system to block inbound communication.
Businesses should take steps to reduce blockage as much as possible. Customers have a poor experience when they can’t access the help they need.
How to calculate your blockage rate?
Blockage rate is the percentage of blocked calls in a given period.
Calculate your blockage rate by dividing the number of blocked calls by the total number of calls and then multiplying this number by 100.
Keeping track of your blockage rate over time will help you discover when customers can’t access the help they need. You can then implement fixes such as making more agents available during these times or extend capacities in general.
How to reduce call blockage?
There are two general ways to reduce call blockage: increasing agent availability or reducing the number of inbound calls you receive.
Here are five specific ways you can do this:
1. Hire more agents
Hiring more agents is the easiest way to reduce blockage. More staff means more people available to take calls that would have previously been blocked.
Hiring more agents is problematic if your call center already operates at capacity. In this case, consider hiring agents to work remotely. You can even hire temporary help for your busiest periods.
Employing more staff is also expensive. And doing so may simply cover up inefficiencies rather than fix the core issues.
Because of this, consider implementing some of the other fixes in this article before hiring agents.
2. Improve call routing
Better call routing is a simple way to increase agent availability by ensuring the agent who picks up a call is the best person to solve the problem.
It means problems are solved faster and with fewer call transfers.
Personalizing how you route calls is a good way to do this. Just use data from an incoming number — such as the location — to send the customer to the correct place.
Post-call manual work and data entry takes up a lot of time. If you can cut how long these tasks take, your agents will be available to handle more calls, thus reducing blockage.
An easy way to reduce post-call work is to automate as much of it as possible.
For example, you can automatically add data such as call logs to your CRM once the call finishes.
Check out this article for more on reducing post-call work.
4. Create self-service resources
Self-service resources reduce call volume by letting customers find answers to problems independently.
The key is to offer self-service resources on all the channels your customers use.
For example, you can create knowledge base articles online that customers can search to find answers to their questions.
Or you can include self-service information in your IVR. This will help people get answers to simple questions like order updates, balance inquiries, or opening hours when they call.
More people solving their own problems means fewer calls for your team to handle.
5. Proactively solve customer problems
Blockage often occurs when you receive a sudden influx of calls and you cannot handle the volume increase.
Proactively providing support when issues arise is one way to stop this.
Anglican Water is a great example of a company that uses proactive contact to reduce call volume.
The company sends a prerecorded message to customers whenever there is an issue with water supply in a particular area.
This tells the customers about the problem and when it should be fixed, removing the need for them to call your business for further help.
Find out more about this and other ways to use proactive service here.
Call centers and customers benefit from minimizing blockage
Reducing blockage ultimately helps both you and your customers. Your customers get a better experience, while you benefit from happier users and a more efficient work process.
Read more about how to manage the customer experience in this article.