More Tips to Reduce Hold Times

Lengthy hold times are a cardinal sin for any business. Once a customer has been banished to the dark void of the hold queue, there is a one-in-three chance that they give up after waiting less than two minutes and never try calling back again. Rather than losing both existing and potential customers, it is imperative to cut back the amount of time a caller has to wait and allow the calls to flow more efficiently. If our first list of ways to reduce hold times was not enough, here are:

 

Six Ways to Increase Call Efficiency

 

  1. More Efficient Call Routing

 

When a customer contacts a business with a question or concern, they want to speak to the most qualified agent available in the appropriate department right away. With the right system in place, a customer should be able to do exactly that and have their issues resolved with minimal hold time. An automated self-service queue may eliminate the need to speak to a live agent altogether by enabling customers to pay bills, reset passwords, and track packages on their own.

 

  1. Trust Your Team

 

Rather than wasting valuable time escalating calls to management, entrust your well-trained team of agents with the ability to make important decisions that are both fair and consistent. Figure out what the most common reasons (and resolutions) for call escalation, and find solutions that the first level agents can implement. Not only does this reduce hold times, it keeps customers happy and proves to your staff that you are confident in their judgment, knowledge, and problem-solving skills.

 

  1. Conference Call

 

There are few things more tedious for a customer than being put on hold repeatedly and having to explain their situation over and over to multiple agents, support personnel, and managers. Cut down on hold times and customer frustration with the use of conference calls, allowing a more qualified staff member to join the conversation, hear what  is going on, and help to resolve the issue without the caller needing to repeat themselves.

 

  1. Update Customer Information

 

Having up-to-date customer information available at an agent’s fingertips reduces both handling times and hold times. Ensure that your software is fully integrated so that all updates are saved on every system and instruct agents to occasionally ask customers if any changes need to be made.

 

  1. Schedule Shifts Smartly

 

By analyzing call volume data, you can determine the peak periods when agents are busier and hold times increase. Instead of simply hiring additional agents, schedule more shifts for times when agents are most needed and less shifts during normally low-volume periods.

 

  1. Build a Better Hold Message

 

Putting customers on hold is inevitable, so make sure you have an upgraded hold message designed to keep them on the line. Music plays a big rolethe average caller sticks around for up to one minute longer if they hear music, and the type of music should be geared toward your target demographic for maximum effectiveness. Some newer systems even allow the caller to choose from a list of musical genres, or you can use your hold message to promote your products and services. Alternatively, give your customers the ultimate freedom by offering a callback option rather than waiting on hold.

 

 

Great Ways to Reduce Hold Times

Hold times can be a call center’s worst enemy.

When a customer contacts a business, the last thing they want is to be put on hold. Making them wait even longer than expected can sometimes be unforgivable. The average caller generally hangs up after less than two minutes on hold, and more than one-third of them never call back. That is a sizable loss of business and a brief window of opportunity, so reducing hold times is an essential part of keeping customers satisfied.

 

Six Ways to Help Hold Times be Reduced

 

  1. Have a Sense of Urgency

 

It goes without saying that when a caller contacts a business, they have pressing needs that they would like addressed promptly and efficiently so they can move on with their day. Treating each interaction with a sense of urgency does not mean that agents or managers should rush customers through calls, but rather strive toward reaching a satisfying conclusion as soon as possible with respect for the customer’s valuable time.

 

  1. Be Responsive

 

Along the same lines as the first tip, make sure your entire team is always at the ready. A surefire way to reduce hold times is to dissuade agents from engaging in an excessive amount of chatter among one another between calls. This responsive attitude should extend to internal departments and even managers, cutting down on the amount of time that agents – and customers – have to spend waiting for an answer to a question or to escalate a call.

 

  1. Grow a Knowledge Database

 

Creating, updating, and providing easy access to a database of company knowledge containing relevant information and helpful answers to frequently asked questions allows agents to effortlessly respond to customer queries without the need to place them on hold. These indexes should be made available both online and offline in case of a faulty or slow network or internet connection.

 

  1. Dig into the Data

 

Reputable contact centers, such as KPI Connect, have access to a suite of cutting-edge advanced analytics that allow them to pinpoint the areas in which they can improve. Take advantage of the data and manage call queues according to the patience level of your customers by finding out as much as you can about the callers who hang up, when they called, and how long they waited before abandoning ship.

 

  1. Keep Tabs on Your Team

 

Determine inefficiencies and reduce hold times by listening in on live calls, providing feedback that only the agent can hear, and even conferencing in as the situation warrants. If you are unavailable, listen to recorded calls to get a gauge on how your team is performing and use these examples to train new agents. Don’t just spend time just on the slower agents either. Check in on your top performers, and try to figure out their tricks and strategies to keep things moving along. You could discover some real gems that you can then pass on to the rest of the department.

 

  1. Appreciate Your Agents

 

As a high-stress job, call centers can experience a high volume of turnover, which means more time (and money) spent on hiring and training new agents, managers, and supervisors. Avoid the hassle and build loyalty among your staff by rewarding positive and efficient performance, encouraging suggestions and feedback, and foster a dynamic and inclusive atmosphere in the workplace.

 

 

Is Outsourcing To A Contact Center Right For My Business?

Long gone are the days of old and outdated call centers, where customer service came last and calls per hour was the most important performance metric. We are now in the era of the modern contact center, where customer service is the number one priority. Modern contact centers have emerged as the new way to approach customer service and offer large and small businesses a number of benefits. We have come up with a list of 6 reasons why you should outsource your customer service to an experienced contact center.

 

Tools

Modern contact centers use several formats to reach your customers. Experienced centers leverage social media, email, live chats and mail in addition to traditional phone calls. Having the ability to communicate with your customers in the method they prefer will improve their experience as a whole.

 

Cost Savings

Perhaps the biggest benefit of using a contact center to manage your customer service, is the cost savings. Contact centers spread the equipment, facility, training, and other costs among their clients, which can save large and small business in overhead costs. In addition, contact centers are adept at planning for the peaks and valleys of customer inquiries and can schedule staff accordingly – another cost-savings. In addition, clients also have the ability to pool their resources with other clients and effectively share agents, therefore reducing costs as well. High-quality contact centers have the skills, equipment, and staff needed to deliver top-notch customer service at a price you can afford.

 

Quality Control

Contact centers thrive when their clients and customers are happy. All excellent contact centers have rigorous quality control processes in place to make sure you and your customers receive top-notch service.

 

Latest Technology and Systems

Reputable contact centers ensure that their employees, and in return their clients, have access to the latest technology and systems used to reach customers. It is in your contact center’s best interest to keep up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies to ensure they remain competitive.

 

Availability

When you outsource your customer service to a contact center, you can choose your availability based on your customer’s needs. Whether you need to handle customer questions 24/7 or for a few hours each day, a dedicated contact center can help you meet these needs.

 

Language Skills

Many experienced contact centers employ associates that speak more than one language, like English and French. By outsourcing your customer service to a bilingual contact center, you can ensure that you meet even more of your customers’ needs.

 

No matter if you are a Fortune 500 company or a small business, hiring an experienced contact center to manage your customer service is great for business. Whether you are interested in saving money, need to provide customer service for extended hours, need bilingual staff, or are looking for new and creative ways to communicate with your customers, look into utilizing a modern contact center for all your customer service needs.

 

What Are Appointment Setting Services?

In the competitive modern marketplace, staying connected with clients and customers is more vital than ever before to the growth of a business. With the rise of the internet and the online world, consumers now have more choices available to them than at any previous point in history – literally at their fingertips. As with any relationship, steadfast communication is the key to fostering a positive and long-lasting bond with customers and clients. One method of keeping in touch with clientele is through Appointment Setting Services such as those offered by KPI Connect.

 

What Are Appointment Setting Services?

 

For businesses everywhere, scheduling, confirming, and rescheduling appointments are essential daily tasks that can eat up a significant chunk of time. From multinational corporations to local start-ups, sales offices, and medical clinics, countless hours of productivity are lost each week due to this monotonous process. Traditionally, these duties have been handled in-house by existing staff members whose time could be better spent elsewhere or by the hiring and training of additional staff. Rather than dealing with the hassle themselves, many companies have chosen to outsource this basic business need to a reputable contact center experienced in providing a range of appointment setting services.

 

A Friendly Voice

 

When you use professional appointment setting services, you can rest assured that customers and potential customers alike will be pleasantly greeted by a friendly and helpful voice who will be able to fulfill whatever needs and also answer any questions they may have. As an extension of your office, appointment setting specialists undergo extensive training in order to accurately represent your business using customized scripts and services tailored to suit your requirements. In addition to setting up, confirming, and rescheduling appointments with existing clients, specialists can help to generate sales leads through cold calling, resolve customer service problems, issue automated reminders, and provide information about the products and services your company offers.

 

Experience the Freedom

 

By outsourcing your appointment setting services, your talented in-house staff can focus their efforts on more crucial aspects of the daily operation of your business. Without the added responsibilities of scheduling appointments, your office can run more efficiently on a day-to-day basis. Thanks to the extended hours offered by KPI Connect, customers can enjoy the freedom of communicating with a representative of your company outside of traditional office hours when it is most convenient for them.

 

Who Uses Appointment Setting Services?

 

While the short answer is that virtually any business could stand to benefit from appointment setting services, they are particularly valuable to smaller companies and independent start-ups that have neither the budget nor the physical space to devote to an in-house department. Because the services offered are so versatile and adaptable, almost any industry can make use of them, including financial firms, health care clinics, real estate agents, and any others who rely on appointment setting as a core element of their business model. Regardless of industry, clients appreciate the ease and convenience afforded by these services, ensuring complete satisfaction and long-term customer retention.

 

 

Should You Have a Bilingual Customer Service Department?

If you do not have bilingual customer service agents working in your customer service department, your customers are definitely missing out. By having agents who can speak two languages, they can speak to a larger number of customers, which could mean improved sales and profit for your company. Without them, any customer that calls in and does not speak English is going to be frustrated by the language barrier. Here are some things you need to know about having a bilingual customer service department in Canada:

 

Why French?

 

According to the 2016 census, 7.2 million people speak French in Canada. Most of these French-speaking citizens live in Quebec, where 95% of people are francophone. Because of this, the federal government passed the Official Languages Act in 1969. This means that both French and English are the official languages of Canada, and they’re both in equal standing with each other. So, if your calls come from Canada, it is very likely that you may get a customer is going to speak only French.

 

The immersion of the French language in culture is not unique to Canada, either. French is one of the most widely used languages in the world, with 225 million francophones worldwide. It is becoming more and more popular, and that number is expected to jump to 700 million worldwide by 2050. It is the official language of 29 countries. In Europe, where the majority of francophone population live, the only language that currently surpasses French is German. However, more and more people are speaking French, and French is expected to be spoken by more people than German by the year 2025. The language is spoken on every continent, and it is somewhere between the 6th and the 8th most used language on the internet. So, bilingual customer service agents who can speak French are a great idea to increase the ability of your business to handle people of this tongue.

 

Bilingual Customer Service Agents

 

With industry and technology advancing so rapidly, it is becoming more important to utilize bilingual customer service agents in your customer service department. As your company’s client base grows, so will the variety in your customers. With bilingual customer service agents, your company will not only be better able to service your Canadian customer base, you will have access to an international market.

 

Language barriers between your customer service agents and your customers can be incredibly frustrating for everyone involved. Your CSAs will not be able to understand your customers, and your customers will likely become frustrated when their questions and concerns can’t be attended to because of the barrier. It is easy to see how this can make your customer satisfaction rating go down.

 

Outsourcing Customer Service

 

In order to hire bilingual customer service agents, you would likely have to pay them more per hour than standard agents. You would also have to verify their fluency in the language to make sure they can actually speak French well enough to assist your customers. However, if you outsource your customer service calls, you will have access to bilingual customer service agents that the call center has already hired. This is less expensive to your company, it saves you time, and your customer service department will be better equipped to handle your customers’ questions.

 

All these reasons, and many more, are why you should have a bilingual customer service department or outsource your calls to a customer service call center that features bilingual services. The repeat business from happy non-English-speaking customers will most likely offer big returns, making it worth the effort.

 

Improve The Efficiency Of Your Customer Service Department

It does not really matter how great your product or service is, customers tend to remember their interaction with your company more. It is for this reason that a good customer service team and fast responses can improve the overall image of your company.

If your customers are experiencing long hold times, they will hang up, and every lost call is a potential customer lost. However, there are ways to improve the efficiency of your customer service department and ensure that your customers have a good experience with your company with every contact.

 

Service Level and Occupancy Rate

 

There are two important measurements used in call centers to determine their efficiency: Service Level and Occupancy Rate.

There are two different parameters of measurement to determine what the “Service Level” is:

 

  1. Whether the agents at the call center are able to answer the calls
  2. The quickness of the agent’s ability is to help customers and resolve queries or concerns

 

Occupancy Rate refers to the total call handling time and total after call work time and subtracts agents’ idle time. High occupancy rates indicate low agent availability and long hold times, which can lead to call drops and low service levels.

 

If your call volume exceeds the number of customer service agents you have, you are going to have a high occupancy rate. This is very stressful for customer service agents, because they are over-worked. This causes them to be stressed out and can lead to high turnover rates. You may have customer service agents who are well-trained and possess all of the skills and qualities needed to provide good customer service, but if they are over-worked and feeling stressed, they will not be able to empathize as efficiently with customers in order to provide good customer service.

 

One of the best solutions to this problem is to outsource your customer service calls to a call center. This eases the workload of your employees, so they will be better able to do their jobs.

Contrary to popular belief, it does not take jobs away from your employees, but rather makes their jobs easier and leaves them happier. There are also many other benefits to outsourcing, as well.

 

Benefits Of Outsourcing Your Customer Service Department

 

Answer more calls

During peak call times, it can be very difficult for a handful of in-house employees to answer all of the calls. They may not have the experience needed to get through the calls quickly enough and then answer the next call before the customer hangs up. Also, whenever your office closes, there is no one there to answer calls after-hours.

A call center solves all of these problems. Their customer service agents are trained to handle calls quickly and efficiently. Fewer calls will be dropped due to long hold times because they hire ample agents that are very well trained. Some call centers, like KPI Connect, even offer after-hours operations, answering calls after you have gone home.

 

Customer Satisfaction

It does not matter why your customers call, they expect someone to answer when they call. If their calls are not answered, or if the hold times are too long, it leads to low customer satisfaction levels. However, with outsourcing, none of these problems are present. Not only are the agents trained to portray your company’s image and make your customers happy, they are trained to do it quickly, as well.

 

Increased Sales and Profits

You might be thinking that outsourcing is going to cost more money than it is worth. However, it can actually increase your profits. Simply by answering all of the calls, your profits will grow. Happy customers are likely to buy more, meaning there is potential for even more growth.

 

Outsourcing is not a decision you should make without some consideration. Lots of people have reservations about it but, consider the amount of benefits that outweigh the drawbacks and the potential to make your employees and customers happier. It is a great idea to at least consider outsourcing your customer service calls. It would most likely increase the efficiency of your customer service department and increase your profits, which is a good enough perk that most businesses would not pass up on.