From our long experience in the call center industry, we bring you three pearls of wisdom.
- Callers don’t like to be kept on hold
- Agents don’t enjoy interacting with callers who have been on hold for too long
- No call center wants to have long hold times. But sometimes it is unavoidable
Unfortunately, these things take place too often in most call centers, risking frequent call abandonments.
And as most pressed-for-budget call centers today have to cater to more customers with a smaller workforce, the call abandonment rate is skyrocketing. That, along with an ever-increasing call-volume (growing at 20% per year), make the thing even worse.
You cannot blame a customer when he gets frustrated after hearing “your call is important to us, please stay on the line” for the umpteenth number of time, and decides to hang up. The more callers hang up, the lower the First Call Resolution (FCR) rates get. But a more concerning fact is that the customers are left with a bitter experience instead of a better one.
Thankfully, reducing call abandon rates may often lead to lower costs, improved customer satisfaction, and a better call center experience for the customers.
Here are three great tips for lower abandon rates in a contact center:
Keep them Informed
In an ideal scenario, a call center would always have sufficient agents to handle incoming calls at the earliest. But reality bites. The call volume may sometimes rise without prior knowledge. And, as a result, the first thing that happens is longer hold time, followed by higher call abandon rate and ultimately, a poor customer service experience. And given the fact that 35% of customers stop doing business with a company after a poor experience, most business would like to avoid it.
The solution, in this case, is to maintain transparency with the callers and inform them about the estimated wait time by placing a message in the IVR or ACD. This solution will immediately reduce customers’ anxiety and their desire to hang up. If they are pressed for time, customers may also consider calling during the off-peak periods.
Know Your Data
How long will customers wait before abandoning the call? According to Velaro, 60% of customers are not prepared to wait longer than a minute on hold.
A thorough report on call details offers a business the information and insight into calls including the abandoned one. It allows them to know who abandoned a call, the time of calling and the duration of the wait before hanging up. A solid understanding of callers’ patience will help a call center make an informed decision about managing their call queue and delivering an excellent customer service experience. Also, a good workforce management, based on call volumes, will help a call center cut back on hiring and the expenses related to it.
Offer a Call-Back Solution
It is probably the best way to tackle call abandonment. Offer customers a call-back option as a substitute to waiting on hold. This strategy is also known as “virtual queuing” and is quite similar to the take-a-number system in a store lineup. This way, a customer will not have to wait on hold; an automated system will hold their place in the queue instead. It is a highly appealing option for a busy customer, who can utilize the time, otherwise wasted waiting on hold, to do something else.
According to Forrester, 71% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service. And by offering a call-back, businesses can do just that. Good work always pays off. So, businesses are likely to experience increased consumer loyalty, higher net promoter scores (NPS) and good-will.
A study by Contact Babel also shows that after call-backs had been added, 32% of call centers experienced fewer abandoned calls.
This way, reducing call abandonment offers a win-win situation for call centers.