Let’s face it, no one enjoys waiting in line. Whether we’re getting a coffee, a car wash, or checking into a hotel, we all just want fast and easy service, so we can get on with our day.
This same rule applies when people call into your contact center.
And if you think that more people are contacting you via your digital channels instead of calling you, think again. In our 2018 Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark survey, 66% of the 2,400 customers we polled told us that—despite all the other channels available to them—their top preference to connect with a company remains a phone call with a live agent. So to ensure you are providing the service your customers demand, you need to effectively manage your call queue.
What is a call queue? When your customers call your contact center and all your agents are busy, they “line up” in a call queue where they wait to be connected to your next available agent who has the right skills to handle the call. Your goal is to answer these calls as quickly and efficiently as possible. If it takes too long, customers become frustrated. At best, they hang up and call back later or try another channel. At worst, they abandon your company completely, take their business to the competition, and post about their negative experience on social media.
So, what can you do to ensure your call queues aren’t risking your company’s revenue and reputation?
Here are five suggestions:
- Offer Callback options that allow your customers to disconnect while keeping their place in queue. You can ensure that your customer receives a callback when their contact reaches an agent or at a time they specify. The customer is happy because they keep their place in the call queue but they are free to do other things. And you’re happy because that customer is no longer using a costly toll-free line and you can better allocate your agents.
- Use Advanced Routing options to connect your customers to live agents faster or offer alternative channels. You can route calls based on geography, real-time call center KPIs such as current service level, and other criteria.
- Data-directed routing refines routing decisions based on information such as customer tier, customer lifetime value (CLV), or other customer specific data.
- Analytics-based routing analyzes interaction content to determine language, sentiment, or topic, and matches customers to the most appropriate agent.
- Behavioral routing matches callers and agents based on customer communication style, enabling a better customer experience, and increased agent productivity and satisfaction.
- Invest in self-service capabilities so customers can get the answers they need without the assistance of a live agent. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) or digital channels are especially useful for handling routine, less urgent inquiries such as account balances, order status, and hours of operation. To ensure customers embrace and adopt your self-service options, take time to properly plan and test your IVR flows so you can deliver the optimal customer experience. And take advantage of Call Recording functionality to identify additional self-service options that could help you divert even more calls away from expensive live agents.
- Implement a Workforce Management solution to help you achieve your service level objectives by dynamically assigning additional agents to alleviate temporary call queue backlogs. Plus, you’ll be able to create more accurate forecasts and improve your staffing plans.
- Give agents access to customer data before they answer a call. While a customer is waiting in queue, you can collect all your customer data—from your CRM, support, and other systems, and even from the customer. Then when the agent answers the call, you can present them with a holistic view of the customer so they can personalize the interaction, resolve issues faster, and improve the overall customer experience.
Your contact center call queues play a critical role in your customer experience strategy. Ensure you are implementing solutions that can help you optimize your agent resources and maximize your ability to strengthen customer relationships. Learn how Omnichannel Routing solutions can help your company improve call queues so you can deliver an enhanced customer experience, reduce costs and protect your customer base.