Digging out of backlog without impacting Service Level

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Digging out of backlog without impacting Service Level
Looking for creative ways to address a queue/case backlog issue without impacting service level. My call center is more tech support than a typical call center. Calls can get very complex so that they do take a lot of research and queues can build very fast, especially at that the end of the month, which in my industry is a very busy time frame. Aside from hiring more staff, which we have already done, an outside-the-box ideas to keep agent queues in check?

Shift optimise
Do you direct less complex contacts to low skilled agents & high complex calls to high skill agents, ensuring contacts are handled by the right people first time & efficiently? In previous business' we've had a 'call to arms' & agents who have left the contact centre but are still in the business have come back to help with workloads, whether it be an hour or a full day. We've had team leaders up to senior managers help out with calls/emails, along with more obvious solutions like overtime or having a team work through non-operational hours to clear email backlogs when no calls are coming in & there are no other distractions.

If you are busy at the end of the month but quieter at the beginning, potentially look at flexible or annualised hours where agents work less hours at the beginning of the month but more towards the end to cope with demand. Can you customers/clients self-service through your website to deflect demand? If not, could a FAQ be set up to deflect? Is your IVR routing up to date to deflect contacts.

Once volumes are under control, I'd look at the planning assumptions. Is the backlog due to being understaffed in the first place or are volumes above forecast? How do you calculate your FTE requirements? Do the inputs to this need updating to ensure your requirement is right? Do the shift profiles match the arrival profiles i.e. do you have the right people in the right place at the right time (with the right skill!).

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