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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 role – the 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.