Susannah Richardson looks at the technologies that can help ensure business continuity during adverse weather conditions.
As the UK’s weather reports dominate the headlines, it looks like we’re going to be faced with even more freezing gales, harsh frosts and snow.
Although this might be exciting news for some people, organisations that are directly impacted by emergencies such as police, councils, insurance, facilities management and rescue services will be less enthusiastic, as they often have to deal with a substantial increase in the volume of incoming enquiries from customers.
Furthermore, these harsh weather conditions often dramatically affect staff absenteeism, with 2010 alone reporting that up to 124 million working hours were lost in Britain in just one week due to adverse weather conditions.
Combining these two factors together often results in contact centres struggling to respond effectively and efficiently to customer demand.
1. Self-service solutions can help alleviate high call volumes
During poor weather conditions, customers above all want immediate access to simple, straightforward information. However, with agents having to deal with an increase in enquiries across all channels, customers are often left in long queues with no answers and expensive telephone bills.
A key technology to alleviate the high volume of calls on the call centre during these adverse weather conditions is customer self-service solutions.
Providing self-service technology, such as online portals, gives customers the opportunity to access important information, account updates and log service repair requests without having to navigate through complex IVR systems or wait in long queues.
2. Mobile apps help agents to manage multiple interactions
Customer mobile apps that are fully integrated with the contact centre allow customers to interact directly with the call centre via messaging capability.
With agents being able to manage multiple customers via messaging at one time, it can improve agent productivity while answering customer requests more efficiently.
Alongside this, more complex customer requests that need human assistance can be dealt with by a call-back option via the app. This allows the request to enter the customer queue, without having to wait on hold, as they will get a call-back when their enquiry reaches the front of the queue and is pushed to an agent.
3. Send automated responses to customers with FAQs
A good way to deal with the increase in text-based enquiries during peak times is to blend assisted and automatic response using next-generation text analytics.
This allows high volume enquiries such as business closures, problem reporting and service updates to be identified and responded to with up-to-date automated answers, while still intelligently routing more complex enquiries which require assistance to the best employee to deal with them.
This results in the customer receiving a quick response to their text-based enquiries, as well as having the option to speak to a live agent if the enquiry is more complex.
With thanks to Susannah Richardson at mplsystems