How do you deal with Peaks and Troughs in customer service?

Written on: 19 December 2023
Peaks and troughs in customer service

Peaks and troughs in customer service? Balance in Customer Service: How do you deal with Busy and Quiet Moments?

In customer service, no day is the same. Forecasting is possible but difficult and far from accurate. There are many (external) factors that influence the final number of customer queries. One day, week, month the phone is red hot and emails are piling up, at other times employees are twiddling their thumbs. In this blog, we address this and look at how we as a customer service company deal with these Peaks and Troughs in customer service.

The Causes of Peaks and Dips in Customer Service

There are a number of causes that affect the number of customer contacts. Partly internal causes, partly external causes. We list some of them:

  • Delivery problems: especially when ordering goods, problems can arise on delivery, causing delays in delivery, for example. Larger or structural delivery problems inevitably result in more customer contact.
  • Wrong, unclear or incomplete communication: sometimes wrong or erroneous letters, emails or bills are sent. These then suddenly lead to more customer queries.
  • Seasons: almost all businesses face some degree of seasonal pressure. Busy seasons that may or may not depend on the weather have a huge impact on customer service load at those types of companies.
  • Staffing problems: insufficient staff due to insufficient intake or (sickness) absence means that the staff present are a lot busier.

Peaks: Optimising Efficiency

Using available resources efficiently is, of course, always an ongoing issue in customer service. At peak customer service times, it is possibly even more important. This requires the ability to change gears quickly, sometimes on a daily basis. It is preferable not to teach employees new things or change working methods with a queue of 20. Nevertheless, investing in a few small optimisations now can sometimes be the solution for tomorrow.

Decline: Working on Knowledge, etc.

Where there are peaks, there are generally also valleys. The valleys are sometimes even trickier than the peaks. Especially in commercial environments, we prefer to be just too busy than just too quiet. Depending on the planning and forecast, you can, if all goes well, estimate to some extent how long a quieter period will last. You can use this time to learn from the previous peak. Often, there is no time for this during a peak. So it's best to prepare for the new peak. Recruitment, switching to a new system, different products or additional training are all things that can be done during the quieter periods to make the time useful. Organise a fun team outing or conduct a customer satisfaction survey.

What Do You Need for Flexible Customer Service?

  1. Scalable Technology: Invest in scalable technology that can grow with demand. User-friendly systems that new users can work with quickly. Ensure that new user accounts can be easily created.
  2. Flexible Workforce: To really respond to busy and quiet moments, you need flexible staff. Partly because at busy times, other departments need to step in (different kind of flexibility). On the other hand, you simply need more people. Temporary staff or employment agencies can be the solution here. The (partial) outsource of customer service is a solution where you have a flexible shell that allows you to handle peaks.
  3. Forecast, Planning and Experience: Analyse trends and peak moments. What causes peaks and can you see them coming? Even if it is just a little bit the case, anything is better than nothing. Make sure you get all the relevant data together and try to spot patterns. Create scenarios and attach plans with lead times to them. If you sell skates, then the weather forecast will be your main source of input; you have little influence on that. If you sell BBQs or parasols, you are also dependent on the weather, but chances are your busy season will start in May or June.

In short

Learn from every peak. Analyse data and make sure you know which factors affect which crowds. Once you know those factors, try to predict them as best you can. Deploy capacity in the troughs to prepare for those peaks. Outsourcing (part of) customer service can be a good solution. It ensures that you always have the right staffing at the right time without having to take care of it yourself. Read here More benefits of outsourcing customer service.


Who are we?

We are SpangenbergGroup! And we can help you make your customer service a good customer service to make. Just good customer service where the basics are in order. Where customer contacts add value to the customer experience. We unburden you in the area we are good at (customer service) so you can concentrate worry-free on what you're good at. Sound good? Get in touch. 

With over 25 years of experience in optimising customer contact and customer experience SpangenbergGroup can help you. The optimise customer service or outsource? Use the form or see our contact page.

Also with other questions about customer contact and customer service you can always contact with us!

Just worry-free very good customer service?

Get in touch, we'd love to check it out with you!

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