How to Master Customer Service Fluctuations with Overflow Platforms?
Using an overflow platform for customer service has gained popularity in recent years. Invariably, customer support activity sees peaks and valleys flowing back and forth with the company’s activity. Companies must ensure they have appropriate systems and resources to support their customer support teams during these times.
As customers become more demanding and their expectations continue to rise, companies must find new and innovative ways to support their customer service teams during these times. One solution that has become increasingly popular in recent years is outsourcing a company that can fully support customer services by using and installing an overflow platform.
In this blog post, we will define what an overflow platform for customer support is and explore the principal benefits of using one. We’ll discuss how overflow platforms can help companies manage fluctuations in call volume, improve their operational efficiency, and provide higher customer service. We’ll also cover how to implement an overflow platform and manage the relationship with an outsourcer. Additionally, we’ll address common concerns and considerations when using overflow platforms, such as data security, branding consistency, and cultural and language differences.
In short, this blog post will provide a comprehensive overview of overflow platforms for customer service and their benefits and offer practical guidance for companies looking to enhance their customer service operations.
What is an overflow platform for customer service?
How do overflow platforms work?
An overflow platform is a service operated by an outsourcer that helps call centers deal with spikes in call volume. The third-party service provider handles incoming calls or messages on behalf of a company’s internal customer service team when the volume of inquiries exceeds the in-house team’s capacity. Some triggers signal when the volume of calls and other inquiries must overflow, and it frequently depends on the queue time.
For example, the overflow happens when all agents of the primary call center are currently on the line, and the waiting time for a call arriving in the queue exceeds 3 minutes.
The outsourced service to queue overflow management can supplement a company’s existing call center capabilities or as a standalone solution to manage customer inquiries. The out sorcerer’s customer service representatives receive training comparable to in-house representatives. The end customer who contacts customer service gets the same quality of service as if his call, email, or chat was handled by an in-house agent. The overflow service is entirely transparent.
How do the inevitable peaks and valleys in contact center activity affect the teams and the quality of service?
1. Are activity peaks inevitable in customer support?
Many customer service operations in the US experience seasonal activity due to holidays, weather-related issues, academic calendars, industry-specific events, new product releases, or even due to emergencies or crises. Companies must anticipate and plan for these fluctuations in activity to ensure that they can provide a high level of customer service throughout the year. Investing in an overflow call center team is a good idea.
Outsourcing an overflow customer service to a third provider doesn’t just alleviate pressure. It can do so much more. For instance: increase the capacity to answer every customer call, even during high-volume periods, and have happier call center agents who can enjoy workload relief with a trusted outsourced team supporting them all along.
2. What are the risks of peaks in customer support activity?
Peaks in activity may result in accrued risks for customer support activity, which include:
- Overwhelmed agents:
With sudden surges in customer inquiries or complaints, customer support agents may become overwhelmed with the volume of work. They face high-pressure situations, resulting in additional stress and potential burnout. Even the most seasoned support teams may need help handling customer service.
- Long wait times:
Customers may have to wait longer than usual to speak with a representative during peak periods. The result of long wait times is frustration and dissatisfaction from customers. In some cases, customers may choose to take their business elsewhere.
- Increased errors:
When agents deal with a high volume of calls or chats, there is an increased risk of errors or mistakes. In such cases, agents may provide incorrect information to customers or fail to resolve issues.
- Lower quality interactions:
When agents are rushed or stressed, the quality of their interactions with customers may suffer. Customers could feel like the support service did not address their concerns adequately and are dissatisfied with their service (leading to a lower NPS score).
- System crashes:
If a contact center’s systems and software are not equipped to handle a sudden surge in activity, there is a risk of the systems crashing or becoming overwhelmed. This could lead to downtime, lost business, and further customer frustration.
Overall, peak activity in customer support contact centers can strain the support teams and the quality of service. But proper planning and resources can mitigate many of these risks.
What are the benefits of an overflow platform for customer service from a third party?
Managers occasionally employ an “all hands to the pumps” mentality in their haste to reduce call wait times. Reduced wait times are not a goal in itself. If the advisors on the phone cannot complete the job, they are not assisting anyone.
Overflow services ensure no customer call goes unanswered and no customer waits an unreasonable amount of time. This way, customers will have a more positive experience with your brand which can encourage repeat business and improve your business’s bottom line.
Therefore, an avenue to consider in handling the inbound interactions is outsourcing an overflow platform to support the internal call center is an avenue to consider in handling the inbound interactions.
We’re discussing here what are the benefits of the overflow platform and why you should consider it for your operation.
- Reduced waiting times
Offering the highest possible customer service anytime will pay enormous dividends for your credibility. That will lead us to consider minimizing the waiting time clients have to deal with each time they call your business, which will positively impact their experience and satisfaction.
73% of clients say valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do when providing customer service. Imagine providing a service to your customers 365 days and 24/7 without waiting on hold for extended periods.
An overflow platform provides a flexible and scalable solution for companies to manage fluctuations in call volume. Rather than hiring and training additional staff, a company can outsource the overflow of calls to a third-party service provider, enabling them to respond quickly and efficiently to customers.
Using an overflow platform can be more cost-effective than expanding the company’s internal call center team. Hiring additional staff and investing in the necessary infrastructure and technology can be expensive, whereas outsourcing to an overflow platform is often a more affordable solution.
- Improved customer experience
By outsourcing the overflow of calls to a third-party provider, companies can reduce wait times and provide higher customer service. Overflow platforms employ experienced agents trained to handle customer inquiries efficiently and professionally, increasing customer satisfaction.
- Increased operational efficiency
By using an overflow platform, companies can improve their operational efficiency by focusing their internal resources on higher-priority tasks. This can result in increased productivity and improved business outcomes.
- 24/7 customer service
An overflow platform can provide round-the-clock customer service, which can be particularly beneficial for companies operating in multiple time zones or receiving a high volume of inquiries outside regular business hours. This ensures that customers always have access to support when they need it.
Using an overflow platform for customer service can be a valuable solution for companies looking to improve their operations. It provides flexibility, cost savings, and improved service quality, enabling companies to focus their internal resources on higher-priority tasks.
Managing an overflow platform for customer service with an outsourcer
Establishing clear expectations and metrics (SLAs) for the success of the Redundant customer service platform
Setting the correct service-level agreement (SLA) is crucial. It has to be demanding enough to satisfy your customers and, simultaneously, realistic enough to be achieved by the service provider.
In customer service, we mainly consider the following metrics:
- Average response time: How long it takes to start handling a customer contact (calculated for the whole team or for every agent in a selected period = Total time taken to respond divided by the number of responses).
- Average resolution time: How long it takes to resolve an issue. Divide the number of tickets solved in the chosen period by the total time taken to resolve tickets during the selected period.
- First contact resolution rate: How much the customer service successfully solves customer queries during the first contact.
A service report is an analysis tool comprising a mix of customer service reporting metrics. It helps you meet customer expectations and provide a better experience. Thanks to real-time data, businesses can increase their service levels, generate value, and increase profits.
The customer service report provides a deep and valuable insight into critical areas of your consumer-facing efforts. In turn, this will provide you with an astute understanding of the positive areas to build upon and the areas of improvement.
Understanding how your consumers interact with your business is vital to consistently providing the best possible CS standards. The right online reporting tool will ensure your data stays up-to-date and evolves as your company changes.
Ensuring quality service and customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction remains a priority for today’s businesses as it translates to increased brand loyalty. In many cases, it generates increased customer spending. Here are the main KPIs to monitor the quality of your relationship with your overflow platform provider:
- Net promoter score (NPS): Your NPS is critical to your entire operation because it shows the public’s perception of your support levels. Essentially, it determines how likely someone is to refer you to their peers. On a scale of 1 – 10, and based on their scores, customers are either considered promoters (9-10), passives (7-8), or detractors (0-6). By improving your NPS score, you’ll ultimately see an increase in growth and loyalty.
- Customer effort score: This is a particularly critical KPI as it gives you a glimpse into the standard of your overall customer experience offerings. By understanding the elements of your customer experience that are letting your business down, you’ll be able to increase improvements and, in turn, grow the company.
- Customer retention: As mentioned, customer retention is essential to the success of your organization. Setting and working towards a target retention rate will improve your brand image and expand your customer base.
Answering business calls is essential to your business’s productivity and growth. Fortunately, you now better understand overflow call answering and its key benefits. Find the best company that can provide world-class services to regulate your company’s reputable presence in the global marketplace.
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