Customers hate waiting on hold and if the clock ticks away for too long they will quite often abandon the call before they have reached the front of the queue. For a business, long wait and hold times for their customer also means lost sales, bigger service issues and customers who are ready to jump to another provider at a moment’s notice. Here are four tips that will help you reduce call queuing time:
- Empower your customers to self-serve – Provide your customers, especially the younger, more digitally- savvy ones, with the right tools and information and they will happily self-serve and help reduce the call queuing time by so doing. The power in the pocket of these customers is doubling every two years, and the complexity of what they can do is growing in line with that. But don’t make the mistake of pocketing the saving – re-invest it in connecting your enterprise, so those customers with complex or high-value queries can receive the expert help they need.
- Cut customer frustration through ‘call me back’ and virtual queuing techniques – Cut queue waiting times through techniques like Call me Back (simple to run but still used relatively infrequently) and virtual queues. Why not hold your customer in a virtual queue, which is free for them and reduces the frustration of waiting, and then call them back when they reach ‘position one’.
- Be more proactive – Cut queues by anticipating customer need before it turns into an issue or a problem. Think like a courier company. They are constantly proactively engaging with their customers and giving them choices, information and most importantly options. It’s all about keeping customers informed and engaged so they don’t have to join your call queues. And it works, pushing up the straight through process percentage and heading off exceptions “at the pass” before they turn into real and costly business problems and start increasing your call queuing time metric.
- Concentrate on internal efficiencies to speed up talk time or reduce after-call work – The above techniques all relate specifically to dealing with external calls. You also need to optimise internal processes to ensure you can get more calls answered and therefore reduce call queuing time even more. Therefore, make use of techniques like blending media to ensure task prioritisation; reporting tools to understand peaks and troughs of call activity and apply the right levels of staff at the right times to minimise call lengths and screen popping to save time on calls. You can also make use of quality training to optimise the efficiency of call handlers and automation to reduce idle time and further cut down on call queues.