Outsourcing your Customer Service Overflow Calls
Forrest Marketing Group Blog blog

Why outsourcing your Customer Service Overflow Calls delivers a better experience for your customers and your staff

When you’re running a customer service team, your focus is on maintaining service levels (SLAs) and call quality. Most of the time maintaining a great service is simply business as usual, but what about when incoming calls increase? Sometimes, when call volumes grow or spike above the usual level, you may be able to handle it within your existing team. At other times you might feel like you need to hire more staff.

In our experience, there are two clear scenarios when outsourcing some of your calls to an external provider would make far more sense:

  1. When you know you will have a short-term, predictable spike in call volumes, such as:
  • At end of financial year, around Christmas and other seasonal peaks.
  • When a new product is launched or there is a product update or recall.
  • When there is media and press activity that will result in more customers than usual calling you – but you know it will be short-lived.
  1. When your customer base is growing and call volumes are increasing but you are limited by space or a headcount restriction.

In each of these cases you could try to “get by” with your current team and in the short term they may welcome the idea, especially if it means some overtime and extra pay. But after a few weeks of longer hours, they will start to flag. Errors will creep in, perhaps along with their ability to keep their cool when dealing with “difficult” customers. When they start to burn out, they could even end up leaving the team, putting you and your remaining team members under even more pressure. This can become a spiral and a breeding ground for an unhealthy work environment where your two greatest resources – your customers and your staff – are suffering.

So, if “getting by” is not a good option, what about hiring more staff and growing your team to meet the increased demand? To do this, you have to have space available for them, along with computers, headsets, desks and seats. You also have to be able to easily hire new staff. What happens if you find it difficult to recruit and retain quality new staff in your local area? Your team leaders will also need to train and manage the new staff. Would that leave your existing team leaders stretched?  Would you need to promote one or more of your “senior” staff to Team Leader to handle the additional workload?

If you only need extra staff for a few months, do you really want to have to go through significant operational and team changes to meet such a short-term need? And what will you do with your new staff and newly promoted Team Leaders once the call spikes subside and workload reduces.

When you think about it in this way, redirecting some of your calls to an external overflow provider makes a lot of sense. Yes, you’ll still have to do some initial training with them, but you don’t have to worry about recruitment and management, space or supervision. All of that is expertly looked after by the external contact centre, so that when calls return to normal levels, you aren’t left wondering what to do with surplus staff.

Most companies who experience call spikes like this, experience them on a regular basis. They might be annual or seasonal, but almost always they are predictable. So, having overflowed calls to an external provider once, repeating the process next time around is far simpler. You’ve essentially built an overflow solution that you can use over and over again, as and when you need it, but without the ongoing costs of retaining a higher headcount in quieter periods.

Overflowing some of your calls is straightforward too. You can choose to divert just one (or more) type of call from your IVR, or a percentage of all of your calls. Whatever works best for you.

For the last four years we have been handling overflow calls for our clients. We agree in advance the SLAs and we ensure performance aligns to this and that any call quality scores are met. As a result, we have become an integral part of our clients’ customer service team; whether we are handling calls for them at that moment in time or not. They know that they can call us, and we can be handling calls for them, quickly and efficiently as soon as they need us.

If call spikes are affecting your ability to deliver the best customer service possible and your team are feeling stretched, then your business could benefit from outsourcing your Customer Service Overflow calls. We provide a service that is easily scalable to handle your needs and provide an additional resource as and when you need it, so you can avoid expensive fixed costs and get the most efficient solution possible. If you’d like to have a chat about how we could help, please get in touch by calling 1300 396 888 or drop us an email to enquiries@fmgroup.com.au.

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