Sunday, August 4, 2013

Pro tips for companies always experiencing higher-than-expected call volume

Whenever I call Telus, my cellular service provider, I am warned that they are experiencing higher-than-expected call volume. Morning, noon, night; weekday, weekend, holiday; it doesn't matter the time, day or place. They were never expecting this many calls.

Here are a few tips for Telus, and other companies like them (Bell Canada, my Internet provider, and Hydro Ottawa, my electricity company, are also similarly consistently flabbergasted by the number of calls they are receiving), that have not yet entered the modern era:

  • Your customers aren't morons, and there's no way Ben Godby of Ottawa, Ontario is the only one who has noticed this trend. You're either poor planners, or treating your clients like they won't notice you've understaffed the call-centre and slapped a generic "sorry!" message onto your call-in service. Either is bad. Just solve the problem.
  • There are currently in existence more database management and customer resource management programs than I suspect any human being can count. You can use software to measure and analyze call volume across the weeks, months and years, compare it to fluctuations in your customer base depending on special sales, regulatory changes, holidays and product releases, and staff your call-centre accordingly. In fact, there are professionals who analyze this kind of data for a living. We live in an era when the tools exist to very nearly almost never be surprised.
  • There is absolutely nothing I can do to stop you from being a bunch of lazy, incompetent jerks, because the other Canadian telecoms companies also suck. I only prefer you because you use cute animals in your commercials. However, I will complain about your customer service and I will do so in bullet points.

Hopefully this helps, Telus. If you'd like, you can hire me as a business operations consultant. Send me an email, but be forewarned: I seem to always receive more emails than I expect, and sometimes I send messages back unopened with a MIDI attachment that plays annoying radio rock. Yeah, here's another tip:
  • Play a better radio station - namely one that doesn't get static interference (for reasons I literally cannot fathom, in an era of satellite and Internet radio) - on your hold line.
Thank you. You're welcome.



  1. Why play the radio on your hold line at all? You could just get some good playlists up in there.

  2. I hope you sent this to Telus. Nice meeting you this weekend.