How to Get the Best Overflow Call Center Service

Overflow Call Center Services
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on May 2, 2017, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
How much business are you losing to missed calls? Each call is an opportunity for new business. Phone calls are the lifeblood of a company. Without them, many companies would decline and cease to exist. According to HubSpot, 58% of callers want to discuss pricing and 54% want to learn how a product or service works on the first call.Overflow Call Center Solutions
These statistics point out why answering each call critical to the success of your organization. But many businesses struggle to manage call volume effectively. The inability to handle call volume can hamper customer service, damaging your brand’s reputation and cutting into profitability. While estimating future call volume helps, you can’t always do that even with the right data. Setting up an overflow call center service helps ensure that each caller receives a live friendly person that follows your protocols when call volume explodes, boosts customer service, and protects your brand and your company’s profitability.Handling call overflow is a challenge for many organizations. Setting up an overflow call handling service helps beat this challenge. This article discusses the benefits of call center overflow solutions and how you can get the most from setting one up.

How much does an overflow call center service cost?

If you are considering an overflow call center service, it is important you understand the different pricing models and potentially how much it will cost you to implement this service.

These are the most common pricing models for call centers:

  • Pay Per Call
  • Pay Per Minute
  • Tiered Pricing
  • Monthly Fee or Subscription

Below is the average pricing from provides for the call center industry:

Cost Per Minute Quality Note
$0.00 – $0.70 Low Quality Expect this pricing for high-call volume or for simple services like message taking.
$0.70 – $0.80 Low – Mid Quality Higher call volume or priced for simple services like message taking.
$0.80 – $0.95 Standard Market Rate This is the typical price range for call volume of 500 to 5000 minutes.
$0.95 – $1.00 Standard Market Rate This is the typical price range for call volume under 500 minutes
$1.00+ Specialized Services Calls that require specialized agents or the use of third-party software.

Read our complete guide to understanding answering service rates and pricing.

When should you set up an overflow call center?

Savvy businesses rely on overflow call center solutions any time calls become overwhelming, or an emergency happens. The benefits of hiring call centers are clear:

  • Improve call quality
  • Cut down on hold times
  • Reduce call abandonment rates
  • Boost customer satisfaction
  • Provide 24/7/365 service
  • Guarantees business continuity
  • Increase sales

The question is how do you get the most out of an overflow call center you hire while producing a good return on your investment?

What is an Overflow Call Center?

Businesses set up overflow call center services to support organizations when call volume surges and agents get overwhelmed. Poor agent response hampers customer service, damages brand reputation, and reduces profitability.

Patient calls at a medical center, for instance, can surge at any point during the day. Not answering these calls can disappoint patients and cost doctors business.

With a call center on board, those calls would automatically be forwarded to a live agent, ensuring that every caller reaches a real person and customer service levels maintained.

How can call centers help manage overflow?

How can a call center manage overflow? Let’s say your company’s marketing department hits a home run. It launched a robust marketing campaign that’s bearing fruit.

call center overflow services supporting

As hoped for, the phone begins ringing off the hook. Unfortunately, you didn’t anticipate such a response, which is overwhelming your staff. Callers are getting busy signals, or they get put on hold.

Every call you fail to handle threatens the marketing dollars you’ve invested in your marketing campaign. Call centers can help you handle this flood of calls by providing instant scalability.

When the surge is over, you can cut back on the call center services. It’s a win-win for everyone—you, your staff, and your patients. It’s a key reason why overflow call centers are great fits for many businesses.

Do I still pay once volume drops?

To operate a profitable business, you need to watch every penny you spend. Call centers help you control your costs. If your team is handling all the calls and no calls are forwarded to the service, you shouldn’t have to pay.

Unfortunately, with some answering service plans, the company charges a usage fee whether it takes your calls or not.

If you’re working with the right answering service and have the right plan, you ‘ll be charged only for the services you use.

It’s only fair. It’s also cost-effective. So, make sure if you sign up with an overflow call center, you select one that offers a plan that only charges you for the time used.

How can call centers boost communication?

Overflow call centers have a wide variety of tools and techniques to boost communication at businesses. One is the phone tree.

These days, phone trees are a vital part of a solid communications plan. It’s also an essential element of customer service.

Phone trees aren’t new. Companies have been using phone trees to manage calls for a long time.

A phone tree is an automated system provides callers with real-time menu options. Callers can select an option and routed to a preprogrammed destination.

Why is the phone tree relevant?

Phone trees help businesses better manage callers based on their needs. A call overflow service can use either your phone tree or provide you one.

Often, businesses use phone trees to relieve the strain on a receptionist, allowing him or her to focus on more urgent matters, and boost customer service.

Providers will supply a specialist to help you to set up the most efficient phone tree system possible.

Implementing an efficient call tree ensures that relevant and critical calls reach the appropriate person promptly.

As your account matures, your provider will work with you to optimize your call procedures as well as the call tree. Taking the time to create a better system boosts customer service.

Here are some additional tips on setting up a phone tree system:

  • Simplify your call menu
  • Make it easy to reach a live person (usually the operator)
  • Use call ID to route callers quickly and efficiently
  • Make it sound professional
  • Make your phone message friendly, relaxed, authentic
  • Analyze call behavior periodically.
  • Alert callers to critical dates

Using these tips makes your phone tree efficient and effective. Also, determine how you’ll measure success. Then use analytics to measure your progress.

How do you confirm your customer’s needs?

Do you solve your caller’s issues the first time they call? Or do they have to call back? Does your staff focus on helping customers address their concerns or just getting them off the phone as quickly as possible?

First call resolution (FCR) drives customer satisfaction—whether you’re an IT company providing help desk services or a medical office providing patient test results.

A critical component to managing calls is meeting your customers’ needs. To do that, you have to know your customers well.

So, find out what your audience and provide it to them when they call. Managing each call the right way reduces the likelihood of callbacks.

Taking the time to solve a customer’s problem will not only enhance call management but also create a more positive customer experience.

Your call center overflow solution also needs to know what your customers’ needs are. So, help it understand what they are and work with them closely to help them meet those needs.

Their needs could be a simple as taking a message or something much more complicated. So, make sure your overflow service can handle complex tasks, like order taking, appointment setting, or even technical support.

How to protect communications in all situations?

The key with setting up an overflow call center is helping you stay connected to your customers—regardless of what’s happening in the marketplace.

Many businesses experience periodic overflow as part of normal business operations. Your overflow call center helps you handle seasonal or situational overflow smoothly and seamlessly.

How does the service know when to take a call? Two scenarios cause your phone calls to forward to the service.

  • Alternate Answer — If the call isn’t answered after a specified number of rings, the phone call with be forwarded to the service.
  • Busy Call Forwarding — If the phone line is unavailable, the call will forward to the call center. This scenario is typical when there are limited phone lines.

Work with your phone provider and call overflow answering service to make sure this is in place. If you’ve set up the options above and your phones go out, calls will automatically forward to the service.

Also, make sure your call center can handle emergencies. They can endanger staff, customers, and business assets. Typical emergencies your overflow call center may need to include:

  • Threat Situation
  • Natural Disaster
  • Building Evacuation
  • Office Emergency
  • Network Outage
  • Equipment Failure
  • HAZCHEM Emergency
  • Meeting Notifications
  • PR Crisis

When a crisis occurs, you need two-way communication. One-way communication just doesn’t cut it. Make sure your overflow call center is set up to provide that. Contact methods available include:

  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Phone Calls
  • Fax

Overflow call centers also ensure that agents follow all your protocols during a crisis, live agents respond to all calls, and you’re available to handle calls 24/7/365, boosting customer service and grow your business.

An overflow call center can also ensure that you can manage and complete critical tasks, including:

  • Setting appointments
  • Scheduling operations
  • Taking orders
  • Customer support
  • Location referrals
  • Messaging staff and customers

Plus, you’ll get reports like alert histories, alert details, and call history that can help you make critical decisions during an emergency.

Often, it takes only an hour or so for your provider to set up emergency services so you can receive calls and respond to customers and staff.

Are you getting the most out of your call overflow call center service?

Phone calls are the lifeblood of many businesses. But sometimes things can spiral out of control. Creating an overflow call center beforehand can help you handle both call overflows and situational emergencies.

Take the time to evaluate your service to confirm you’re leveraging all its capabilities and getting the most out of your plan. As mentioned before, quality call center overflow solutions can do more than take messages.

Your provider can work with you to make sure you have the right service plan in place that includes overflow call management — a plan that fits your needs exactly.

If you have special needs, the right provider can help you create a custom service plan to handle key overflow activities or situational emergencies.

Setting up the right call plan guarantees you get the most out of your service, protects your brand’s reputation, and produces a good return on investment.