Every Social Care team should be prepared for an unexpected spike in inbound contact volumes. While such spikes can sometimes be caused by an unanticipated crisis situation, the cause may also be benign or even positive. A service outage or controversial company news certainly counts as a crisis, however announcing a free upgrade for customers or price-freeze is also likely to increase post volumes.
Khoros Care is designed to ingest and route huge volumes of posts – during a major crisis one Khoros customer received over 641k posts in one day. Dealing with that volume effectively is another matter entirely. Whatever the cause, it is crucial that you anticipate the spike, prepare a plan to address it, and review the outcome once things calm down again.
(Note that this article focuses on Khoros Care processes and configuration before, during and after a crisis or volume spike – planning the actual approach to messaging/communication is a separate topic.)
Some drivers of increased contact volume are predictable. For example, utilities companies are often heavily impacted by adverse weather conditions such as snow or droughts. Subscription businesses also plan price increases in advance of announcing them to customers, and some companies may know about product flaws before their customers discover them.
For events where you’re less able to predict timing, it’s still important to identify and anticipate them. Examples include customer injury/mistreatment, potential scandals and customer-driven campaigns.
Once you’ve brainstormed what these potential crisis and volume-increasing topics look like for your company, add them to your Khoros Care configuration. Creating keyword Tags for your determined topics will open up a lot of useful capabilities. You can add these Tags to the appropriate escalation Work Queues and higher Priorities (or indeed low Priorities if it’s a crisis you won’t directly respond to posts about).
You can setup Alerts on your Dashboard widgets to trigger email notifications if a specific Tag passes a certain number of mentions.
Creating, approving and pre-populating crisis-related Templates means your Agents can respond as soon as a crisis surfaces rather than waiting for approval from your PR or Legal team during a crisis (when they are likely to be quite busy themselves).
It’s important to constantly maintain your Tag configuration and keywords, doubly so during a crisis or high-volume period. Add any unforeseen keywords to existing or new Tags and remember to use retroactive tagging feature (the “Apply changes to all open conversations?” tick box above the Save Rules button when you edit a Tag) so that any Open posts that arrived overnight get tagged too.
Listening Rules and Templates should be updated if there are no existing rules that match the volume-driving topic.
Flush settings are important to review - you may want to disable or increase flush times temporarily due to overwhelming inbound volume. (Remember that changing Flush times is done via a Khoros Support ticket)
Route crisis-tagged conversations to a separate work queue (and hide it from Agents if they don’t need to reply) and create a new crisis-focused Priority.
Consider lowering the Twitter Listening priority (e.g. move the Twitter Listening source tag to P4), or routing it to a hidden queue temporarily.
Analytics reporting during your high-volume period is also important. Monitor incoming post volume and how it’s impacting Agent Response ties. Create Smart Views to focus specifically on the crisis topic, e.g. P1 Crisis Conversations. You should also create a dedicated Shared Dashboard or Monitor Wall to monitor things like sentiment changes, open vs closed conversations and a Tag breakdown (“which crisis-related tags are most frequent”).
Once the storm has died down, it’s important to gather input and feedback from all involved such as Agents, Team Leads, Analysts and Execs. Determine which steps from your plan were ineffective, poorly implemented or not implemented at all. This will guide you in updating your plan accordingly for the next crisis or high-volume period. Also consider which still-active configuration changes should be either reverted or retained.
Finally, Khoros Care Analytics will allow you to compile a report recording data such as inbound volumes, the impact on typical response times, customer sentiment in response to any published announcements or crisis hashtags, CSAT % change over the period and the queue backlog.
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