Call Overflow Solutions
For most businesses, the volume of incoming calls remains pretty steady or increases and decreases in a predictable way around known busy / quiet periods.
Sometimes, however, a business can experience an unexpected surge in calls that can cause a few issues. Hopefully, when this happens it’s for all the right reasons, such as healthy business growth, a popular advertising campaign or a positive piece of PR in the media.
If you are having problems dealing with a high volume of calls it’s either because you don’t have enough lines, or you don’t have enough staff to handle calls. Our call overflow solutions can help you with both.
Problem one – not enough lines
If you’re unfortunate enough to be stuck with an outdated phone system, you could be in for a bad time if you get an unexpected surge in calls. All your phone lines will likely be blocked solid, leaving callers facing an engaged tone and your staff unable to dial out.
The way to overcome this technical problem is to set up one or more cloud-hosted call handling services to deal with your calls before they get to your existing lines.
By diverting your calls via the cloud, you have plenty of options when deciding how to handle calls, as well as the flexibility to change things as you go along.
Here are a few ways we suggest you handle overflow calls using Callagenix:
- First of all, put your calls into a queue so they can be answered in the order they are received. Determined callers can then wait until you are available, rather than constantly getting an engaged tone.
- Play your callers a recorded message. This could be while they are being held in a queue, or else used as a standalone service. Your message can provide up to date information, answering common questions. It’s also a good idea to refer people to your website, especially if you may not be able to assist them over the phone when they do get through. After the message, you can then either end the call, continue to hold them in a queue, or else…
- Send your callers to an Answerphone service so they can leave a message if they want to. These messages are then emailed to your inbox and stored in your account so you can handle them in your own time. You can also offer your callers the option of leaving a message instead of waiting in a queue if you want. This can be a good way of easing the pressure short term, but obviously, you will need a strategy for responding to the messages if you want to keep your callers happy.
VoIP - a better option?
It’s also worth mentioning here that if you are suffering from a shortage of available lines, adding more regular lines may not be the most effective solution.
A better choice would be to switch to a VoIP system, where multiple calls can be sent down the same line. If you have access to good broadband speeds, or even better, a fibre connection, then you may find you can replace all your current lines with a one or two dedicated lines. You just need to ensure you have enough bandwidth to handle all the calls you need to make.
Outbound calls also cost less with a VoIP system, so you can end up paying less for a superior phone system. For more information about our business-grade VoIP services please contact us.
Problem two – not enough people
If it’s a lack of people that’s causing the issue, hosted telephony can also be used to manage how calls are distributed, based on call volume. You’ll probably still need to add some additional people at some point, but our services can help by more effectively distributing calls to the people you have.
Here are some options you should consider:
- Set up overflow Group Divert teams to step in and handle extra calls. The chances are you’ll already be distributing your calls to a team of people responsible for answering them. At times when call volumes are particularly high, you can set up your system so calls are diverted to other members of staff after a certain period waiting in the queue. This can help keep wait times down for your callers but can disrupt other members of staff if the volume of calls stays high for an extended period of time, so you have to balance out these two considerations. Alternatively, if one office gets busy, you can set up an overflow to divert calls to staff at your other offices if required.
- Similar to above, you can also set up your system so calls are diverted to external resources when the volume is too high. This could be a team of virtual receptionists you keep available in case of such an eventuality. Of course, you could set up a call overflow system that redirects calls to both existing staff and virtual receptionists if you need to.
- One other thing we’d recommend is to set up a dedicated hotline number for specific purposes if you’re expecting a higher than usual call volume. This allows you to divert calls to people trained to answer them, whilst avoiding disruption to other members of staff. Adding an additional number is quick and easy to do through your Callagenix dashboard.
Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity
One other thing it’s worth mentioning here is that there is some overlap between call overflow and having a disaster recovery / business continuity plan.
By setting up a cloud hosted phone service, you also have built in DR/BC advantages. This is because your numbers and services are not tied to a specific location, so won’t be affected by any incidents locally.
Should the worst ever happen, you could use the same services covered above to manage incoming calls (from customers and staff) whilst you solve more pressing problems. For more information, we recommend you check out our extended guide to disaster recovery / business continuity solutions here.
Need more information?
As you can see, there are plenty of options when it comes to handling a surge in call volume. How you respond is really down to you, and all the above can be combined in any way (along with other solutions we’ve not covered) to help you deal with the calls.
Flexibility and speed of implementation are key when responding to rapid changes in call volume.
Your choices will no doubt depend on whether the surge is expected or a complete surprise, and whether or not it’s likely to be a one-off or a regular occurrence. In any case, we’re happy to advise and help get things set up – just contact us to get started.
To get started, call us on +44 (0) 333 247 00 00 or click here