Ways to reduce customer hold times and optimize the customer service process
The average person will spend 1.2 years of his life on hold, waiting for service from call center agents. When it comes to call center service, that’s a lot of unnecessary waiting. The longer customers are on hold, the more frustration grows and engagement is reduced. This, before an agent even responds to the call! The customer experience is therefore severely diminished by long hold times. Most callers hang up after an average of one minute and 55 seconds on hold. 34% of them won’t call back at a later time or date. Finding ways to reduce customer hold times and effectively answer calls will improve the customer service process. This will surely keep customers and agents much happier.
At GetinQ, we work hard so your agents can shine on the job. That’s why we came up with this great list of 6 ways to reduce your call center’s customer hold times so your agents can provide customers with the best possible experience.
1. Expand your agents’ authority to make decisions
Escalating calls to managers can ensure problems are resolved appropriately. But this can come at the cost of the customer’s valuable time. Empowering your agents to make certain consistent and fair decisions without needing to track down a more senior team member helps reduce customer hold times. It also increases customer satisfaction exponentially. What’s more, authorizing your agents to make independent decisions shows them that you are confident in their ability. This, in turn, can motivate agents to keep improving the level of service they provide to customers.
2. Create a comprehensive and easily accessible on-line knowledge base
Keep an Updated Knowledge Base
If agents can quickly access relevant information that will help them answer customer queries efficiently, then hold time will be limited and calls will be completed. Compiling all of this relevant information into a single, comprehensive and up-to-date digital knowledge base – will speed up the location of answers needed to respond to customer calls. If this information could also be made available to customers, then less calls would need to be made, further reducing customer hold times.
3. Use analytics and tweak accordingly
Call reports shed much light onto the effectiveness of a call center’s operations. Utilize an analytics program to provide valuable insights into why customers call your company and what work processes need modifying. You will need to learn who called, when they called, how long they were on hold and whether they hung up. Such knowledge can enable you to make educated decisions on how to resolve existing issues and consequently reduce customer hold times. This can include developing educational tools for customers to use, so that they can attempt to solve their problems on their own, before turning to the call center for help.
4. Use live chat, email or texting options. Scripts can help.
Don’t miss out on key and efficient customer communications opportunities. Have your agents use live chat, email and texting advances to simplify communication with the customer. Likewise, to reduce customer hold times, agents can make use of scripts that keep the conversation flowing in a productive fashion. When agents remain on script, whether on call or in writing, they are prompted with the correct solution for common issues. This leads to faster resolution, with a reduced need to place the customer on hold.
5. Optimize call routing.
Use a routing system to sort customer queries according to categories. Call routing can ensure that the agent most qualified to handle each issue receives specific calls. This way, the agent can handle the case quickly, with only minimum time spent on hold. Include an automated self-service option, so customers can obtain answers without speaking directly with an agent, to further reduce customer hold times. This way, those who do not need a human response will experience no hold time. Those who do need a human response will experience reduced hold time, as less people are waiting for service. Your company’s call routing service should be regularly assessed and optimized to meet its particular needs.
6. Review staffing and provide agent training.
It goes without saying, that you should not be handing the reins over to your agents without first assessing their capabilities and providing adequate training. Educate your agents correctly to ensure that they know which measure to take, in any situation. With GetinQ, educating your agents is easier and more efficient. We use advanced statistics to help locate your agents’ knowledge weak spots so they can receive appropriate training. Then, instead of relying on new agents to learn on the job, use the knowledge we provide to create a new employee education program to enable them to manage their customer interactions effectively. Teach your agents to always give the customer the option to hold or receive a call back (An automatic call distributor can also be used), demonstrating the call center’s care for its customers.
The Bottom Line
Long hold times are the primary reason customers abandon service calls and experience dissatisfaction from encounters with a company. Identifying ways of limiting the time customers spend on hold is therefore critical for a positive customer experience. So, how will you tackle reducing your call center’s customer hold times?