Post-COVID Call Queues Are Going to Rise – By A LOT

The pandemic has changed life for all of us in many different ways – but interestingly, information recently published at Mortgage Introducer shows that we might be expected to queue for longer on the phone than we’re used to. But why might this be the case? A Moneypenny survey has revealed that businesses across the […]

agent wearing a headset

The pandemic has changed life for all of us in many different ways – but interestingly, information recently published at Mortgage Introducer shows that we might be expected to queue for longer on the phone than we’re used to. But why might this be the case?

A Moneypenny survey has revealed that businesses across the UK might not be as efficient as we expect them to be when it comes to actively handling calls. Much of this, alarmingly, seems to be down to a failure to future proof their businesses. What’s more, the report shows that there is a strong trend indicating many companies switched to ‘autopilot’ during the pandemic – which, as you might imagine, led to some concern from customers and callers.

Businesses surveyed by Moneypenny indicate that they mainly believe call volumes will escalate once life and work starts returning to ‘more normal’ levels. In fact, two-thirds of companies analysed in the report believe that call queues and demands will spike again once offices are back up to speed again.

That’s all well and good – but some more of the data sourced by Moneypenny appears to be quite worrying reading, and a good indicator that all business owners need to be considering their clients more closely as the pandemic evolves.

How Did Businesses Adapt Call Centres During the Pandemic Lockdowns?

The Moneypenny report suggests that up to 50% of UK companies used automated voicemail to provide round the clock coverage during the restrictive lockdown periods.

Approximately one third of companies removed telephone numbers from their corporate websites completely – and a further third of companies stated that in some circumstances, security personnel responded to a handful of calls. That refers to those made out of hours or during overwhelming periods, when it seems security staff took on the role of responders!

15% of companies confirmed that due to the expected increased demand on their phone coverage, they had budgeted for increased costs.This was to enable them to outsource support for their switchboard operations. For many companies, outsourcing has become a cost-effective way to ensure that calls are always answered, and that customers are never left wanting.

With that in mind – 15% is a surprisingly low number of companies willing to take this option. Instead of offering callers the chance to always speak to people during a worrying time, many businesses have chosen to completely close down, instead. It’s little wonder, then, that businesses expect their call volumes to spike again. These circumstances, arguably, could have been avoided!

Remote working, argues Louise Wilson at Moneypenny, is likely a key factor in these major shifts. However, she also argues that companies need to be better prepared to help customers should they wish to continue allowing their teams to work from home and out in the field.

This is especially the case considering 65% of those surveyed appear to entertain remote working for a little while longer, at least post the main hump of the pandemic.

How Companies Need to Adapt

It’s Wilson’s belief that companies should look carefully at planning for the future if they intend to continue offering a great service and maintain remote working. Ultimately, leaving your business on autopilot, and letting your customers head straight to voicemail, really isn’t the best way forward.

Outsourcing can allow you to forward all of your calls to a team who will always be on hand to offer friendly support. Callers who often come across automated services or messages will likely get frustrated and will not want to get back in touch. Therefore, with a call handling service, you are ensuring that someone is always on hand to help.

While voicemail was one of the biggest concerns to arise from the research, it is clear that, when used properly, it can be an asset to overwhelmed businesses. Offices and call centres struggling to handle and balance calls should use voicemail to capture messages and launch callbacks if absolutely necessary – but before that, they should consider forwarding calls and requests to overflow staff, based in an outsourced fashion or otherwise.

Wilson’s main concerns following the Moneypenny report is the fact that some companies have failed to uphold customer service standards that millions of people expect – at a pivotal and unprecedented time. With the pandemic still evolving, it is clear that companies will need to make big changes if they are to keep up to the standards people expect of them.

Time to Outsource?

Contrary to some belief, outsourcing is neither complex nor costly. It’s getting easier for companies and business owners to set up outsourcing systems and overflow centres. This is where, in the event that you are unable to handle calls yourself, you simply transfer additional requests over to a team based elsewhere.

At Call Centre, we offer a wide variety of call handling services to help ensure that your centre continues to work efficiently, and to ensure that there is always a friendly operator to hand who can help your callers at short notice. Why not take a look at some of the services we have to offer?

As individuals we have all made adjustments to our daily lives during the recent pandemic. To ensure companies keep the economy running and improving, customers must feel valued. New business and repeat business need to be generated and regenerated.

It is often said that we don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression – and nothing gives more impact to that first encounter than telephone call response! These days it can quite literally be a deal maker or breaker! Successful companies work on making every call count.

With Call Centre’s help, you’ll be able to convert on every single call. No more missed opportunities – and no more excuses for you to fob off calls you simply can’t handle. Stand apart from the pack and really show your callers fantastic levels of service and care during difficult times. You’ll be widely appreciated!