Customers don’t like waiting on hold. In fact, 60 percent of people say even one minute is too long. Short of over-staffing, which no customer service organization wants to do in the interest of cost management, what alternatives are there? Callbacks are a great option for reducing wait times because they help deliver better customer experiences in many ways.
Lower abandon rate
Very simply, callers often hang up out when being on hold because they don’t have time to wait, they would prefer not to and would rather try back later, or they simply become frustrated. Regardless of the motivation, the longer the hold times the higher the abandonment rate tends to be. A callback service reduces abandonment rates along with customer satisfaction. Not only do they know they will receive a call from an available agent, but in the meantime, they can go about their business. In many cases, customers can even choose to receive a callback immediately when an agent becomes available or to choose a specific callback time.
Handle peak call volumes
Many customers will be much happier hanging up and waiting for a callback, freeing up agents to handle more live customers when call volumes are high. Customers typically don’t mind waiting longer for a callback because they can go about their other tasks instead of wasting time waiting on hold. That gives agents the opportunity to handle more live calls and engage customers from a callback queue at a frequency that makes sense given current volumes, or even defer them until the live queue has been reduced to a manageable size. Callbacks also reduce repeat callers hoping to find a shorter wait time, which can actually increase the overall call volume.
Reduced call handle times
As customers wait on hold, their frustration grows. That leads to impatience once they finally get to a live agent and a tendency to spend excessive time complaining about the on-hold experience, putting off the actual reason for the call and increasing the length of the time. Callbacks eliminate hold-time frustration and allow customers and agents to get directly to the issue at hand.
Callbacks allow agents to pull up customer records to familiarize themselves with the customer’s history and possibly even a resolution to the issue, especially if the callback is the result of a multichannel engagement that started with self-service options, for instance. Armed with more information before placing the callback, the agent is able to more effectively respond to the customer and resolve the issue quickly.
In an omnichannel environment, customers often begin their journey on a digital platform but find they ultimately need to speak to an agent. When call volumes are high, self-service portals can immediately let customers know agents are busy and they may experience a longer than usual wait time, offering a callback option without the customer ever having to wait at all. The callback option creates a smoother transition from digital to voice channels, creating a better experience for customers and agents.
Better customer experience
Waiting on hold creates frustration, which makes it harder to give them a positive experience. By eliminating the source of the immediate frustration, customers often are in better moods when their callback comes and leave with a positive experience. Agents are also able to use specific techniques to ensure a pleasant conversation from the start, leaving the customer with a positive impression. Customers also appreciate knowing vendors value their time and offer them options to avoid waiting on hold.
Contact centers often use toll-free numbers for customer service. Every minute customers are on hold costs money. Eliminating hold times by offering callbacks can reduce per minute costs as well as trunk costs by freeing up lines.
Increased Agent Satisfaction
Because extended hold times create frustrated customers, they require agents to have to deal with angry callers more frequently. Callbacks put customers in a better disposition when speaking to an agent, creating a more pleasant experience and less stress on agents to calm an angry customer. In addition, agents’ stress is reduced during high call volumes knowing many of the callers will opt for callbacks, allowing them to focus more on effectively addressing customer concerns rather than quickly getting them off the phone simply to get to the next caller.
The bottom line is that contact centers inevitably are faced with higher call volumes they can handle. Whether that happens daily, monthly, seasonally, or at random intervals, it creates a burden for agents while frustrating customers. Callbacks are a cost-effective and responsible way to help relieve the strain of high volumes while increasing customer satisfaction rates.
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