Upsetting a customer doesn't just rely on agent interactions! Your customer might be frustrated by the long wait before h/she can even reach an agent. This upsets the customer and reflects poorly on your queue management and your first-call resolution rates.
Nobody likes calling a business more than once to resolve an issue. However, most customers are bound to do that due to primitive queue management methods. While some customers call back to fix their problems, few give up and switch brands. Either way, it's a strike against your company.
Businesses spend thousands on rental fees for fancy call routing solutions but somehow end up complicating the process. Your customers are not coming to you looking for a challenge. They want simplicity, and that's how your IVR design and call-prioritizing plan should be. Effortless customer interactions go a long way and generate advocacy.
So, it is high time that you put yourself in your customer's shoes and assess your call queue structure. Are your queues overflowing? Are too many customers stuck on hold? These questions will allow you to notice the flaws in your existing system. By the time the customer reaches your agent, he is already resentful of your service, becoming a challenge for your agent.
Therefore, we have put together 7 best industry practices for call queue management. These will improve your customers' experiences and ease your agents' task. Above all, your customers are more likely to stick with you.
Often when a company is going through a crisis or a significant change, they tend to get a large volume of calls, with every customer being anxious or angry. The best way to handle this is by adding the important messages or information on the IVR greeting.
For instance, my internet provider had a sudden outage, and they needed time to fix it. Usually, many people, including me, called their customer support. The company apologized through their IVR greeting message and informed how long it would take to be fixed. This made sure that I dropped the call as my query was answered and didn't require me to stay in the queue. An IVR designer (we call it IVR Wizard) helps you to change the greetings in real time.
Making a customer wait is like a ticking bomb. The more they wait in the queue, the higher chances of a hostile reaction. The best thing to do is automatically give an option to customers far below in the line for a call-back. Whenever it is their turn in the queue, the agent can call the customer and offer a resolution. The system will automatically register the customer's details by the time the call-back option is provided. This saves a lot of time on your customer's end, showing that you respect their patience.
Agents are often kept in the blind, and they fail to improvise on their end. Offering agents with important insights will allow them to manage each call efficiently. They can view the calls in queue (count) so that agents can speed up some conversations and take on more requests every day.
Additional metrics like Average Speed of Answer, Average Call Handling Time, Queue Metrics help the agents to manage their calls better.
Customers prefer self-service to IVR support. Sometimes your customers might not know how to access your self-service options. Based on the options chosen by the customer in their IVR interaction, you can offer them self-service options.
For instance, when I had to disconnect my DTH connection, the IVR of the concerned company told me how to do it manually through automated IVR. They followed it up with an SMS that had the steps mentioned in it. This made my life easier, and I loved how to avoid the queue and pointless interaction.
This is applicable in scenarios where customer problems can be resolved via self-service. On the other hand, if customers need to speak to an agent, the next option can be helpful.
Sometimes customers really need agent assistance, and self-help isn't going to get the job done. This can be twenty or thirty customers at the moment, and it will clog your lines. To reduce the wait, add a queue time threshold, after which the IVR will automatically offer alternative channels for communication like email, text chat over the website, Whatsapp or social media.
However, ensure the readiness you offer on-call is the same on the other channels as well. When customers drop off the queue and seek service via chat or alternatives like emails, respond to them as soon as possible. Companies often overlook these channels and put all the workforce into calls. This defeats the purpose of having these channels. What can be done over 10minutes of the phone call shouldn't take 4-5 business days on emails. Having an Omnichannel customer service solution for your business is the right way to deflect calls as well as maintaining the customer context.
This a self-explanatory point. Customers hate complicated IVRs that do not offer accurate prompts or overlooks pain points. Map the customer's journey and predict possible customer queries. You can conduct surveys to collect such data and improvise your IVR design. This will enable efficient call routing and result in faster resolutions.
More importantly, you must update your IVRs frequently based on the need of the hour. Investing in drag-and-drop IVR tools will make your life easy. You can edit and create your IVR flows without swamping your vendor or your IT team. This way, you don't waste time following up with your IT team with periodic modifications.
As generic as this sounds, this is a major problem in most organizations. Inefficient workforce management or understaffing is a significant reason for longer call queues and reduced customer satisfaction. Agent absenteeism or underequipped agents dragging every call can lead to longer queues. To avoid such problems, implement proper call center shrinkage tools apart from having the appropriate disciplinary rules.
Lastly, your managers must delegate according to the resources available, so there is maximum efficiency.
Nobody likes to wait, especially when they are paying for a service. So why shall your customers? Lengthy call queues often result in abandoned calls which lead to loss of the customer. Call queue management is an essential task to keep your business afloat. Implementing the strategies mentioned in our listicle will help your business meet your customer's needs more often.
Author Bio: Sweta is a passionate technical writer with an experience in digital marketing. Outside work, she is a devoted Esports advocate.