On any given day, call center traffic will fluctuate. Call volumes usually peak at the same time each day, which is referred to as “peak hour traffic”. It’s exactly as it says on the tin — a traffic jam of calls.
Sometimes call centers can also experience a “peak season”. This could be the result of a product launch or a seasonal holiday that increases the number of calls during a certain period of the year.
What challenges can peak hour traffic present?
Peak call times can present challenges for call center agents and managers. It’s important to find a way to handle a sudden increase in call volume, without sacrificing customer experience. If there are also staffing issues at play, this can further exacerbate the problem.
Here are a few ways call center peak hours can impact your business.
Negative customer experience
Nobody likes to be left waiting on hold. If there aren’t enough available agents to handle call volume, call holding times will inevitably increase. The result? A negative customer experience and diminished first contact resolution.
Increased call abandonment
Increased wait times lead to more call abandonment. A healthy call abandonment rate is usually between 5% and 8% for the average call center. If this KPI disproportionately increases during peak hour traffic, it points to peak hour mismanagement.
Employee work overload
Even high performing agents can start to feel overwhelmed if they are experiencing an insurmountable number of incoming calls. Stressed agents become less efficient, and if they begin to feel burnt out, it will start to affect staff turnover rates.
Reduced schedule adherence
It’s important for call center agents to maintain schedule adherence. If they are too busy handling excess call volumes during peak hours, they may lose track of their after call tasks. This increases the risk of agent error and unresolved customer problems.
How can a call center manage peak hour traffic?
There are several ways call center managers can prevent peak hour traffic from negatively impacting their KPIs. Here are a few tips.
1. Forecast busy periods. Most peak hour traffic can be predicted in advance. Using a call center management tool, you can monitor daily call volume and use this information to predict peak hours. This will allow you to get the right support in place to manage the extra workload during these times.
2. Adjust agent schedules and break times. Once you have predicted your peak hours, it’s important to ensure that staff schedules line up with these busy periods. Break times can also be modified to maximize agents in seats during times of higher call volumes.
3. Use an integrated IVR to facilitate self-service. IVR’s may sometimes get a bad rep from customers, but modern IVR solutions can communicate with your CRM and use this information to provide self-service tools. Most customers are happy to help themselves if given the opportunity and a smart IVR can solve common customer problems without them ever needing to speak to an agent.
4. Facilitate omnichannel customer communication. Customers don’t have to solely rely on telephone calls as a means of communication with your company. AI assistance can be integrated into your website, and for more complex queries, live agents can provide chat support. This enables multiple queries to be handled by agents simultaneously and creates a less frustrating experience for customers who don’t have to wait on hold.
Looking for a software tool that can help your call center manage peak hours? Our flexible No-Code platform provides contact center agents with multiple tools that help you handle higher call volumes.