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You Say My Call Is Important, But…

I suppose there are people somewhere that don’t mind waiting on hold. I’ve never actually met one, but surely there must be a few still in existence. I am not one of them. Without breaking a sweat I could easily come up with a list of approximately 1,802 things I could do that that would be more productive than waiting on hold, including:

  • Learning to tie a bowtie while wearing oven mitts
  • Clipping my toenails, collecting the clippings, and reapplying them to the toes on the opposite foot
  • Separating my gray hair from my… well, maybe not quite fully gray but just kind of graying hair

This is certainly not a comprehensive list, nor does it represent what I might consider enjoyable endeavors. (Although the more I think about it, the more uncomfortably intrigued I’ve become with the toenail thing. What would it look like? Would anyone notice? Would my feet be confused? What about…oh, right. Sorry about that, moving on now.)

The point is, time is much too valuable to waste on things like repurposing gently used toenails or waiting endlessly on hold. In fact, numerous call center surveys have indicated that the leading source of frustration among consumers is long hold times. Conversely, if your customers believe that you value their time as much as they do, you’re much more likely to develop a sticky relationship, one that will lead to positive word of mouth endorsements and expanding revenue streams.

IVR: Interactively Value Relationships

That’s one reason you should be offering your callers a convenient call back option from your IVR’s self-service menu. There are other reasons, which we will address a few paragraphs down, but the customer experience should be at the very top of your list. Today’s consumers have become accustomed to instant gratification, and thus unwilling to wait much more than a few seconds to have their call connected.

Unfortunately, once that call is abandoned, the chance of them calling back is diminished by up to 40%. The good news is that over 75% of callers prefer an automated call back to waiting on hold, and will gladly utilize the option if presented to them. The added benefit is that the caller can make more productive use of their time and will be in a much better frame of mind when reached, versus the caller whose frustration level has been rising as each precious minute ticks away uneventfully on hold. Customers and prospects will appreciate the respect you’ve shown them and you’ll be rewarded with their loyalty and continued business. With customer experience consistently remaining a top driver in today’s competitive landscape, there’s no better reason for making a value-added call back service a mainstay of your customer engagement strategy.

Automated Call Back: Cheaper Than Agent Therapy

Of equal importance perhaps is how automated callback services impact your organization’s efficiency, morale and ultimately, your bottom line. The ability to effectively manage high volume periods, reduce stress levels, and allow for more productive and satisfying use of your agents’ time and talents are a few of the reasons that call back is just as valuable internally as well as externally.

No matter how big or how small, every contact center experiences peak periods throughout the day, or the occasional event that triggers extra calls. The stress of these escalating hold times doesn’t merely impact your customers, but your agents as well. Call volume surges, the pace becomes hectic and nerves on both ends of the line become frayed. Agents under pressure interacting with callers frustrated by extended wait times can be a very combustible mix. This is where a call back option can help lower the volume, in more ways than one.

So Nice of You to Call

Agents aided by call back are given a chance to breathe and quickly get up to speed on important customer data before the call back is made. This gives the agent both the tools and the confidence necessary to complete the call with a swift and satisfying resolution. Likewise the caller that exercises the call back option realizes that their time is valued by the organization, and receives the return call in a positive frame of mind. This not only promotes a much more pleasant interaction, it also opens the door to targeted upsell and cross-sell opportunities within a receptive environment. Reducing the number of angry callers that an agent has to deal with on a daily basis effectively reduces their stress level and increases their job satisfaction.

Utilizing call back also empowers agents to use their time in a more productive manner, during both peak and low volume periods. Managing call volumes to a consistent level throughout the day mitigates the idle time that could leave agents feeling bored and unfulfilled. Spending a larger percentage of their day on proactive and useful outbound calling leads to enhanced customer experiences and higher satisfaction rates, which in turn provides a great morale boost and continued motivation to contact center employees. Not to downplay other contributing factors to contact center attrition, but utilizing call back services is one way to keep agents fulfilled and minimize the expense of finding, training, and retaining top talent.

For job security purposes, I’d like to make it seem a bit more complicated than it really is. But even the best whiz bang marketing gobbledygook (sorry for the technical lingo there) can’t overwhelm the obvious story here.  In short, call back service creates a more enriched customer experience as well as a relaxed contact center environment that keeps staff burnout and turnover at a minimum.  Offering a call back option on your Interactive Voice Response menu is good for the customer, good for the staff, and good for your bottom line. (And  good for toenails, but don’t get me started on that again.)

About the Author

Bob Brotzman is the Director, Marketing Communications for CenturionCARES. He has held various Marcom, Thought Leadership, and Event Management positions throughout his career. When he is not developing content for CenturionCARES’ various marketing channels, Bob is usually found helping colleagues reach their potential by sharing unsolicited hair style critiques, quasi-inspirational thoughts-of-the-day, and generally factual historical anecdotes.

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