If you’re a fan of the sitcom Friends, you may remember the episode in which Phoebe spends day and night awake by the phone, waiting for call support. While we might have had a good laugh at the end of it, the stereotype of long waiting on calls was once a bitter reality. Owing to call center software, this is no longer the case.
Customer service has become more efficient and less dreadful over time. Many customers find themselves easily connecting to companies over the phone or online to resolve queries in a matter of minutes. IVR, call recording, and other features of cloud telephony have had an important role to play here.
That being said, a high volume of calls can still trap consumers in a long queue and often upset them. You might wonder, what can an organisation do in addition to investing in call center software?
The answer –
Before we discuss ways of optimising call center queues, let’s take a look at why this needs to be accomplished in the first place.
Why is There a Need to Advance Call Center Queues?
- Long call wait times can leave customers agitated and with a poor impression about your brand. Every unsatisfactory customer experience is a step towards a tarnished brand image.
- Customers are very vocal on the Internet. Such disappointment will most likely result in a negative review or complaint online to be seen by thousands of potential clients.
- When a consumer is served well and on time, they are likely to build a connection to your brand. Their word-of-mouth marketing leads to repeated sales and brand expansion.
- Your call centre represents your company’s values to the customers. A single lousy experience can adversely affect a consumer’s trust and brand loyalty.
- It’s all about customer satisfaction and, eventually, sales. A customer’s experience with your call centre defines a customer’s impression of your organisation.
10 Steps to Shorten Call Center Queues and Keep Customers Satisfied
As mentioned earlier, call center queues are extremely significant for customer experience (CX). There are several methods of optimising these calls and ensuring great results for your company as well as the customer:
1. Keep it Simple and Sweet
Simplicity is an underrated concept. Think of a verbose speech filled with jargons—instantly off-putting, isn’t it?The same applies to your IVR menu. If you stuff it with several options, you will only confuse your clients, leaving them frustrated and unsure. Such menus are not only hard to follow but also may result in errors on the consumers’ side.
The key is to keep the menu accurately informative without overburdening the caller. 3-4 options are ideal to keep their attention. Furthermore, you can ask for additional details once the caller has selected an option.
2. Give Callers a Voicemail Option
Are your call center queues overwhelmingly large at a given time? Why not substitute them for more convenient options?
Instead of letting your callers wait for several minutes, simply provide them with the alternative option of leaving a voicemail. Once they have recorded their message, you can promise an agent callback by a certain maximum time. Customers would much rather post a query quickly and then wait for a response, than not have any progress at all.
Once your consumer is convinced that their queries are registered to be solved shortly, they can relax knowing their part of the conversation is already done.
3. Add a UCC System to Connect Better
A UCC or unified communications and collaborations system allows your agents to communicate among themselves in real-time. It allows them to share advice, provide support, and help each other out with their work. This method will not only improve your employees’ performance but also boost morale as they keep their communication intact. It allows an agent to quickly draw information and resolve matters with the help of their colleagues.
4. Make their Wait Enjoyable
Nobody likes to wait around on the phone for too long. What’s worse? The same overused classical tune is played every time.
Instead, attempt something as simple as changing the music to a tune that is popular and well-liked. At least that way your client can enjoy what they’re listening to while they wait for their query to be resolved. It might even take their mind off the wait for a little while. This step may sound silly but it is effective in its simplicity.
Apart from the music, accomplish other tasks beforehand. You can ask for all the necessary information before the call is connected. Your consumer has something to do and it saves time as they do not have to repeat the same data. It also allows the agent to skip the formalities.
5. Encourage Self-Service Menus
The easier the task, the more willing a consumer is to accomplish it. Your clients may think that they can only get their queries solved by an agent; prove them wrong!
Use IVR to do so—instead of connecting to a representative right away, give your consumers the option to pay bills, file complaints, provide feedback, etc., via self-service menus. A numeric or voice input can be registered and, if required, you can connect a caller to a free agent further.
Other ways of encouraging self-service are through online platforms. Chatbots and social media messaging are convenient methods for customers to communicate with your organisation. Such options shorten the call center queue and allows you time to respond.
According to a study by Microsoft on the State of Global Customer Service in 2018, 66% of consumers admitted that they first try self-service options before contacting the organisation. Providing self-service options decreases your agents’ workload and increases the consumers’ ability to solve queries without the inconvenience of calling.
6. Review your Staff Requirements
It’s a simple deduction. If your company is not equipped with the required amount of personnel, your customers will have limited agents to speak with. As a result, the communication will be concentrated on a few connections. This will gradually increase pressure and add to the employees’ workload. Furthermore, the addition of consumers will clog the call center queues, making them wait longer and longer.
Make note of the rate at which customers are increasing and keep adding agents accordingly. While it might set you back financially, it will be of great significance in the long run. More agents also mean higher customer satisfaction and a better chance of expanding your consumer base.
7. Evaluate Agent Performance
The technicalities of your call center can only help you so much. After all, there’s a conversation at the end of the process. If your representative is unable to operate efficiently, your call center queues will stay unsatisfactory. It is vital to check on every agent’s performance and ensure that they are working up to your standards.
Using Cloud call center software, you can review every employee’s performance. Analysing call recordings can also give you a better understanding of your agents’ skills. The same can be used to train them better.
8. Ensure First-Point Contact Resolution
First-point contact resolution means that the customer’s query should be solved by the first agent to whom they are assigned. The reason most companies aspire to achieve this is that it saves time and effort for both the parties.
Appropriately assigned agents are capable of swiftly understanding and solving the problem. The customer prefers this system rather than being bounced around from one department to another. It is also very convenient and accurate.
By employing IVR, you can analyse the numeric inputs that your customers feed and accordingly reroute the call to the best-suited employee. This also reduces wait time.
9. Keep Consumers Informed
One of the most admired qualities of a company is its transparency. Customers would rather be fed the bitter truth than a honeypot lie.
If you are understaffed and can’t afford any other agents, or if you are having a particularly busy day, let the customer know that their call is likely to be received in ‘X’ minutes. Do not keep them in the dark. If you inform your consumers of your circumstances—for example, being short-staffed during a pandemic—they are likely to understand the situation and be less aggressive. It’s all about honesty.
10. Limit the Customer’s On-Hold Time
As mentioned earlier, consumers only want the truth. One way you can serve them is by limiting your wait time. If a consumer waits for over 12 minutes, you can inform them that the company cannot serve them at the moment. However, while doing so, ensure that you provide an alternative so that they know you still care. Connect them to a voicemail service and promise them a callback. Your consumers will not be left wondering when their queries will get resolved.
Your business, while dependent on many things, needs customers above all. Your customer experience is often determined by your contact center impressions. Call center queues can be detrimental. Overdrawn contact center queues can frustrate, annoy, and even drive away you customers. It is vital to take note of these issues and make changes to your work operations accordingly.
Invest in appropriate cloud call center software to optimise your customer center queues and evaluate your agent performances.