Extra Tips to Reduce Your 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. What’s more, they may never try calling back again. Rather than losing both existing and potential customers, 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 a qualified agent in the right department promptly. With the right system, a customer can get in touch with the correct agent and have their issues resolved with minimal hold time. An automated self-service queue may get rid of the need to speak to a live agent altogether. That way, a customer can pay bills, reset passwords, and track packages on their own.

  1. Trust Your Team

Rather than wasting valuable time-escalating calls to management, entrust a well-trained team of agents. They can make important decisions that are both fair and consistent. Figure out the most common reasons for call escalation and the solutions that first-level agents can implement. Not only does this reduce hold times, but also keeps customers happy. Also, you show your staff that you trust their judgement, knowledge, and problem-solving skills.

  1. Conference Call

Few things are more tedious for a customer than sitting on hold repeatedly and explaining their situation repeatedly to different staff members. Cut down on hold times and customer frustration with the use of conference calls. They allow a more qualified staff member to join the conversation, hear what is going on, and help 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 and hold times. You should ensure that your software is fully integrated. Then, all updates are saved on every system and instruct agents to ask customers if any changes are needed.

  1. Schedule Shifts Smartly

By analyzing call volume data, you can find the peak periods when agents are busier and hold times increase. Instead of hiring extra agents, schedule more shifts for times when agents are needed. You can schedule fewer shifts during the 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. 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 sit on hold. Making them wait even longer than expected is sometimes unforgivable. The average caller generally hangs up after less than two minutes on hold. Also, more than one-third of clients never call back. That is a sizable loss of business and a brief window of opportunity. Hence, the importance to reduce hold times and keep customers satisfied.

Six Ways to Reduce Hold Times

  1. Have a Sense of Urgency

When a caller contacts a business, they often have pressing needs that they would like addressed promptly and efficiently. We all have better things to do with our day than sit on hold! Treating each interaction urgently does not mean that agents or managers should rush clients through calls. Instead, strive toward reaching a satisfying conclusion as soon as possible with respect for the customer’s 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. A responsive attitude should extend to internal departments and managers. In turn, the amount of time that agents and customers have to spend waiting for an answer to a question or to escalate a call cuts down.

  1. Grow a Knowledge Database

Providing easy access to a database of company knowledge with relevant information and helpful answers to common questions is helpful. That way, agents can effortlessly respond to customer queries without placing them on hold. In case of faulty or slow network connection, make the indexes available both online and offline.

  1. Dig into the Data

Reputable contact centers, such as KPI Connect, have access to a suite of cutting-edge, advanced analytics. These 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. You can find information about the callers who hang up, when they called, and how long they waited before jumping 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 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. Do not only spend time with 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

Reduce hold times: three people at their keyboards.As a high-stress job, call centers can experience a high volume of turnover. In turn, you spend more time and money on hiring and training new agents, managers, and supervisors. Avoid the hassle and build loyalty among your staff. Reward positive and efficient performance, encourage suggestions and feedback and foster a dynamic and inclusive atmosphere in the workplace.

Is Outsourcing To A Contact Center Right For My Business?

The days of outdated call centers are long gone, and outsourcing is becoming a great option for businesses. No more does customer service come last, or are calls per hour the most important performance metric. We are now in the era of the modern contact center, and customer service is the number one priority.

Modern contact centers show a new way to approach customer service. Also, they offer large and small businesses a number of benefits. We have come up with a list about why you should outsource your customer service to an experienced contact center.

Six Reasons for Outsourcing

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.

Cost Savings

Cost savings is one of the biggest benefits of using a contact center to manage your customer service . Contact centers spread the equipment, facility, training, and other costs among their clients. In turn, businesses save on overhead costs. Moreover, contact centers can save you money as they are adept at planning for peaks and valleys of customer inquiries. Therefore, they can staff accordingly. Also, clients are able to pool their resources with other clients and share agents. Another way to reduce costs! High-quality contact centers have the skills, equipment, and staff needed to deliver affordable, top-notch customer service. 

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 clients have access to the latest technology and systems used to reach customers. It is in your contact centers’ best interest to keep up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies. That way, you can ensure they remain competitive.

Availability

When you outsource your customer service to a contact center, you can choose your availability based on your customers’ 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 those 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 is more vital than ever. Business growth depends greatly on our customers. With the rise of the internet, consumers now have more choices available to them. As with any relationship, steadfast communication is the key to fostering a positive and long-lasting bond with clients. One method of keeping in touch with clientele is through Appointment Setting Services such as those offered by KPI Connect.

About Appointment Setting Services

For all businesses, scheduling and confirming appointments are vital daily tasks that can eat up lots of time. From multinational corporations to small businesses, many hours of productivity are lost each week due to the schedule process. Often, these duties are handled in-house by existing staff members. However, they could use their time by hiring or training additional staff. Rather than dealing with the hassle themselves, many companies have chosen to outsource appointment setting services.

A Friendly Voice

When you use a professional appointment setting service, you know that customers and potential clients will receive a pleasant greeting. Also, they will talk with helpful agents who can answer any questions and fulfill needs. As an extension of your office, appointment setting specialists do extensive training in order to represent your business in the best way. Customized scripts and services help employees know the perfect thing to say.

In addition to setting up, confirming, and rescheduling appointments with existing clients, specialists can help generate sales leads through cold calling. Also, they can 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 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. KPI Connect offers extended hours. Therefore, clients can enjoy communicating with a representative of your company outside of traditional office hours.

Who Uses Appointment Setting Services?

Virtually any business can benefit from appointment setting services. However, they are particularly valuable to smaller companies and independent start-ups that do not have the budget or space to devote an in-house department. The services offered are adaptable, and almost any industry can use them. This is perfect for a company who relies on appointment setting as a core element of their business model (financial firms, health care clinics, etcetera).

Regardless of industry, clients appreciate the ease and convenience afforded by these services. Customers receive complete satisfaction and your company gets long-term client 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. That means, your company sees improved sales and profit for your company.

As a business, you need to account for French and English-speaking customers. 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. In Quebec, 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, The languages are both in equal standing with each other. So, if your calls come from Canada, you may get a customer who is going to speak only French.

The immersion of the French language in culture is not unique to Canada. French is one of the most widely used languages in the world, with 225 million francophones worldwide. As the language becomes more popular, there are predictions that the number will jump to 700 million worldwide by 2050.

French is the official language of 29 countries. The majority of francophones live in Europe. In fact, German is the only language that currently surpasses French. However, French may pass German by 2025. Every continent speaks French, and it is roughly the 7th most used language on the internet.

So, bilingual customer service agents who can speak French are a great idea to increase the success of your business.

Bilingual Customer Service Agents

Due to industry advances, it is more important to utilize french and english-speaking service agents. As your company’s client base grows, you will have more variety in customers. With bilingual service agents, your company will not only service your Canadian customer base,  but also give you access to an international market.

Language barriers between your customer service agents and your customers are quite frustrating for everyone involved. If your CSA’s can’t understand your customers, how can they solve their questions and concerns?

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

Even if your product or service is great, customers remember their interaction with your company the most. For this reason, a good customer service team and fast responses improve the image of your company and your customer service department.

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

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 their jobs are easier.

Contrary to popular belief, it does not take jobs away from your employees. Rather, their jobs are easier and they are 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 is 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. Less calls get dropped due to long hold times because all of the hired agents 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 a very unhappy customer base. 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.