Proven Tips and Techniques to Minimize On Hold Time in a Contact Center

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Many customers have this perception that getting across a contact center agent is nothing less than a nightmare. Till date, telephone has retained its stature as the most preferred and popular mechanism to offer customer support. When customer support is optimized, it can result in the improvement in sales, customer acquisition and customer retention.When a contact center reduces the time their customers are put on hold, not only does the call handling time gets improved but customers are happy and the contact center agents are even happier. 

Good Read: How to Minimize Customer Frustration with Estimated Wait Time

Here are some tips through which a contact center can bring down the call holding time.

  1. Management should strive towards creating an online and extensive knowledge base that can be accessed by the agents easily and quickly. A contact center can involve its agents for creating such a knowledge base.
  2. The authority of a contact center’s agents needs to be expanded so that they are able to make decisions. Customers get frustrated and irritated when the agent puts him on hold to consult higher authority.
  3. Agents must make efficient use of the knowledge base and this should be included as a fundamental requirement in their jobs.
  4. The online knowledge base needs to be robust and updated from time to time so that agents can trust the accuracy of the included information.
  5. Coaching agents on the techniques of effective call control can help them in managing their interactions with customers in an effective manner.
  6. Stringent actions must be taken against all those agents who chat with their family members or friends while the customers are put on hold.
  7. When a customer satisfaction survey reveals that the customers complained due to being put on hold for too long, the root causes must be investigated.
  8. A contact center must train its agents for giving options to the customer to get a call back or to be on hold. When a customer is given a choice, (s)he feels in control of the situation.

5 Proven Techniques to Minimize On Hold Time

  1. Intelligent Call Routing- A contact center may use an Interactive Voice Response system as only a receptionist but the technology can be still used for eliminating or reducing lengthy call queues. Outsourcing operations to contact centers have become almost like a norm in several companies. Organizations should do a balancing act between the agent availability and skills with customer requirements and call volume. IVR must be used as a tool for intelligent call routing by organizations. IVR can use login data and automatic number identification for routing the calls dynamically to the correct agent at the right time. The contact center must provide real-time data for the IVR to do effective call routing. This will lead to giving personalized service to the customers and ensuring that their on hold time gets reduced simultaneously.
  2. Customer Surveys– It is important for you to know whether your contact center is doing things in a right manner or are there areas for improvement. Though data analytics can provide information on the call hold time on an average or the mean call time, they cannot throw light on what your customers feel about these things. A customer survey is a sure shot mechanism for getting your customer’s voice directly.
  3. Call Analytics– They empower you to work towards making your voice applications more efficient and user-friendly. Analytics can highlight problematic areas such when and where the callers are hanging up or may have request to transfer their calls to the agents. Data analytics can enable you to spot the trends and take corrective actions accordingly. When an IVR system is inefficient in a contact center, there may be scenarios when the called have to be on hold for a long time. However, if a contact center has installed a well-designed IVR, callers won’t have to be on hold at all.
  4. Call back Facility– When customers do not want to be on hold, a good callback service can be offered to them as a choice. When a caller agrees for the callback option, they can disconnect the call but their places are still there within the queue. As soon as an agent is free, an outbound call is placed by the system and the original caller can start interacting with the agent.
  5. Scalability– Sudden spikes in the calls can result in customers being transferred to the hold queue automatically. In order to avoid such scenarios, an automated system is needed that has a large infrastructure for seamless handling of unexpected or anticipated increases in the call volume. When a contact center adopts good solution for cloud computing, different types of costs can be brought down.