How to deal with high call volumes

How do you deal with high call volumes when there is a time of crisis or a more permanent increase? AI-powered customer relationship expert Zaion shares its secrets.

20 September 2022

How should you react to high call volumes?


It is wishful thinking that all companies want to provide high quality customer service to their users and customers. But why is that?

It is simply because an efficient customer service allows you to act on 3 levers:

  • Customer satisfaction by handling requests quickly and in a qualitative manner. This is an effective way of dealing with an important KPI – the average handle time (AHT) of incoming calls
  • Employee satisfaction is a crucial factor in helping your customer service department in the day-to-day work and in applying the famous concepts of the symmetry of attention and care management
  • Promoting your brand or company to your prospects to boost brand awareness, enhance expertise and advice, and ultimately increase sales.

We can therefore understand why it is extremely important to be able to organize yourself efficiently during peak activity periods, using all the skills and technologies available on the market.

Whether you need to recognize a permanent change in your company’s activity or take specific measures, the increase in call volume is an indicator that should not be taken lightly.

What do we mean by call volume?

Call volume is a numerical indicator used in call centers to measure the number of incoming calls over a period of time. In call centers, volume is often studied over different periods: hourly, daily, weekly, and in the evening.

This data is then classified between the number of phone calls handled by an automated system and the number of calls handled by agents.

The volume of calls impacts different areas:

  • The workload of the customer service department which will influence the forecasted staffing requirements
  • The efficiency of customer service and how many calls are handled by an agent in a given period
  • The quality indicators of customer service such as the number of lost calls or the call abandonment rate.

How can you identify high call volumes?

High call volumes mean that the number of incoming calls is significantly higher than expected. This means that the incoming volume is higher than what your customer service department can handle efficiently without deteriorating the level of satisfaction of the callers (customers or prospects).

Of course, an increase in the number of calls is not necessarily something that is sustainable.

It may be caused by:

  • An increase linked to a marketing/communication action plan. This is the case when a company launches a new product and has initiated an action plan to boost the visibility of its products.
  • A seasonal peak: many companies experience regular call peaks depending on the time of year, and this is especially the case in insurance or in retail when it is Valentine’s Day, Black Friday, or there are sales. During these busy periods, you have to be very reactive in managing customer service.
  • Weekly peaks on a given day and/or period. In many call centers, there is a post-weekend peak on Monday morning.
  • Technical problems: your website is not working, your app is down, or you are the victim of a cyberattack. All of these are likely to result in an increased volume of calls from unhappy customers. Ps: Here we talk about how to deal with unhappy customers.

How should you respond to high call volumes?

As you can see, you have to react quickly in case of an increase in call volume.

While adding human resources on an ad-hoc basis can work as a temporary solution, it is complicated to implement for several reasons:

  • A general lack of staff
  • Recruitment difficulties
  • Lack of training of qualified advisors
  • The complexity of covering 2-hour peaks two and three times a week.

Experience has shown us that implementing corrective practices is much more effective.

Forecasting for better management

Forecasting remains your strongest ally in making accurate decisions about your customer service management. At Zaion, we start each project with a scoping meeting where we review the company’s key customer service KPIs and carefully consider the nature of your business.

This research phase allows us to make forecasts based on your data and provides a roadmap for the duration of the project.

The callbot

Volume management and caller recognition are crucial components when it comes to handling large volumes of calls. This is why it is essential to have a tool that identifies and assesses the reason for the call and processes it in order to answer it accurately and in an intelligent manner.

To address these pain points, Zaion has developed an innovative callbot technology. Our virtual conversational agents are able to understand customers’ intentions in “human” language through natural language understanding (NLU) and to respond in a precise manner according to the context which is natural language processing (NLP).

The Zaion callbot is intelligent and adapts over time to the real-life situation of your customer service teams.

The welcomebot

Our Welcomebot lets customers express their needs over the phone in natural language. It identifies customers and evaluates their needs before processing them if they can be automated, or directing them to the most relevant advisor available, depending on the request.

The welcomebot is ideal for dealing with peaks, as it guarantees calls are taken care of instantly, regardless of the number of callers. The customer journey becomes smooth again, and the greeting can be personalized as the customer is recognized and their information is recorded. The best part is that the welcomebot can detect the caller’s emotions and optimize the call’s routing accordingly. For example, our bots can immediately transfer the call to an advisor if it detects that the customer is stressed or angry.

The overflowbot

The overflowbot lets you manage call peaks and remain available for customers 24/7 regardless of the situation.

The bot takes care of the unanswered calls due to call peaks, out of office hours and long waiting times, and distributes the essential information to your advisors by email so they can be handled at a later time.

This ensures:

  • An answer to customers in all situations and providing a voice experience
  • Extended service availability
  • Optimized scheduling for a better customer experience.

The crisis callbot

When it comes to emergency situations like a health crisis, product recalls due to health risks, natural disasters, cyberattacks and BCPs, and industrial accidents, you can expect to experience extremely high call volumes. In this case, don’t delay and contact us about our Kraisis bot that answers all contacts regardless of volume and channel. We guarantee a swift, consistent, and relevant response to support your resources.