How To Reduce Call Center Hold Times: 4 Steps You Can Take
Most people will hang up after only one minute spent on hold—before you even get a chance to serve them. Reducing call center hold times is vital to long-term business success and customer satisfaction. Here are some steps you can take to reduce hold times and help more customers.
These days, people expect service in an instant. With all the convenient tech-driven solutions out there, customers are so used to instant service that waiting on hold seems like something they should never have to deal with.
Waiting on Hold Ruins Customer Experience
Think about it like a customer.
We’ve all spent time waiting on hold, and universally, we all agree that it’s not a pleasant experience. Waiting on hold is a huge barrier to overall customer satisfaction, and that means it’s also a huge barrier to your growth as a business.
When you invest in measures to improve wait times, you directly invest in the growth of your business.
How to Reduce Hold Times
The first step to fixing a hold time problem is knowing how bad the problem is. To do that you need to take a look at the data. There are a few important metrics here.
- Average Call Abandonment Rate – The percentage of callers who hang up before they reach an agent.
- Average Speed to Answer – How long it takes an agent to answer the call.
- Average Handle Time – The time from when an agent answers the call until they disconnect. If it’s too long, people are waiting on hold.
- Calls Handled – The total number of calls handled by an agent or interactive voice response system.
Start with these metrics and be sure to keep a sharp eye on calls handled, so you can track improvement. The less people wait on hold, the more calls you’re resolving.
With that in mind, here are ways you can reduce wait times and increase customer satisfaction.
#1) Optimize Your Routing
The first thing you can do to improve wait times is to optimize your call routing protocol.
In other words – make sure you’re sending them to the right agent or department.
If there’s a problem here, you could be sending too many calls to one department and not enough to another, leaving those customers and agents stranded.
Another great solution to implement is contact center interactive voice response (IVR). The great thing about IVR is that it can automate those routine service calls, empowering your customers to complete their own service call by navigating through a series of menus. Think about an account balance check or a card confirmation.
The balance here is you need to make sure these IVR scripts are fully optimized. If customers get lost or have a bad experience, they’ll still have to get on the phone with an agent.
With successful IVR, customers can handle their own routine service calls, freeing up your agents to handle the bigger problems your customers may have, which leads us to the next action to take.
#2) Empower and Train your Agents
Being a call center agent is a demanding and stressful job.
That’s why when it comes to improving wait times and customer satisfaction, one of the first places you should look is improving agent satisfaction. Here’s what we mean.
Call center turnover is a huge problem. In fact, the turnover rate in most call centers pales in comparison to turnover rates in other industries. And that problem is only getting worse.
One of the ways you can really improve engagement and retention for your agents is to empower them through training and technology.
We’ll get to technology in the next step, but as for training, make sure that your agents are always up-to-date and informed on the latest products and offerings your business provides. Make sure they’re armed with the right service scripts.
Also, empower them to make judgment calls when faced with tougher calls. Allow them to learn from their mistakes, and they’ll feel a real sense of growth and progression that’s essential to retention in any workplace.
#3) Invest in Technology
Technology is at the heart of these improvements. With the right tech stack, you can track key metrics, optimize your routing and empower your agents with the knowledge they need to clear calls quicker, leading to less wait times.
The question is – what tech do you invest in?
A good place to start is computer telephony integration (CTI). CTI allows your agents to easily perform all phone functions from a computer. It can also sync with your CRM (as well as other data sources), so agents know who’s calling, what they’re calling about and their prior service history – all before picking up the phone.
CTI is essential for contact centers, no matter the size of your business, to improve your call center operations and wait times.
#4) Track KPI’s and Improve Where Needed
Lastly, always check in and see how you’re doing.
Remember the stats we mentioned at the start? You should always go back and look at these to see how you’re progressing and find areas for further improvement with wait times and customer experience.
Reducing your hold times is a great way to ensure lasting customer satisfaction, leading to greater business growth. The steps you take to improve those wait times will also improve your call center’s capabilities and your agent’s satisfaction. A true win-win.
The best part is the right CTI solution can help. CDC’s CTI solution connects over 70 leading contact center systems. These powerful integrations allow you to enjoy all the contact center software features that can drastically reduce hold times.
Whatever your contact center technology stack looks like, CDC Software makes it work together better. Find out more by contacting our team.