Ever called up a call center, had the phone ringing, and had no one answering? Ever been forced to listen to a voice recording for a long time or had the agent respond that you will have to be on hold for a while? Remember then, how in frustration you disconnected the call, probably vowing never to phone back again?
Call abandonment is a major issue for call centers. You do not want to frustrate customers because more than just being an avenue for solving problems, call centers enable the customers to get an insight into a company’s culture. Is the company customer friendly? Are the employees helpful and professional? Does the organization deserve goodwill or do they only deserve bad press? Culture at a call center has an influence on the marketing success of the company in the long term.
Therefore, it is essential that call abandonments are dealt with intelligently and professionally. Ensuring that impeccable end to end call center services for customer care are in place can play a significant role in reducing call abandonments. However, one needs to understand the cause of these abandonments and strategize ways to deal with them beforehand.
The managers at the call center have to acknowledge that call abandonment is a problem. Then they have to put together a team to analyze the problem, find the root causes, and develop solutions that are viable and practical.
Some contact centers don’t have enough associates to handle the large volume of calls that come through their phone lines. Some associates spent so much time addressing one call that they are not able to attend to other customers. Some contact centers have limited personnel with technical skills. The calls are transferred from one associate to another till the problem is solved during which time other customers are put on hold.
Since contact centers function as part of a technology-dependent business, technical glitches are an unavoidable part of life and this hampers customer service. Some contact centers also display a lack of professionalism and customer service skills which makes callers hang up the phone.
Once all the root causes have been found, a report should be prepared that lists them out so that they can be tackled one by one.
What are the solutions?
Hire more associates to make sure all customers are attended to. Endow them with the adequate product and technical knowledge to make sure that calls don’t need to be transferred. Train them regularly on how to deal with customers professionally, firmly, and quickly. Regularly update technology to make sure that the contact center is kept free of glitches and outages.
But after all these steps have been taken there are still cases where customers will have to be put on hold. For such cases, further analyses will have to be done so that the situation is dealt with smartly and tactfully, and the brand of the company does not take a hit.
Install software to examine how much time a customer is prepared to wait. Generate a call detail record for each call. They will tell you when a call came, what line it came on, how long the customer waited, and the agent that the caller eventually spoke to.
Some customers are prepared to wait longer than others, especially if their problems are technical and require immediate solutions. Other customers who are only looking for some sales or product information will hang up quickly. This information can be used sensibly to make sure which customers can be attended to first and which ones to later, so that prospective customers do not abandon their calls.
The automated messages that are played when the customer is kept waiting are very important. Most customers are used to standard voice messages and usually hang up when they think they have reached a machine. Many contact centers play music when the customer is online. But it is essential to change the music at regular intervals so that callers don’t find it irritating. It is also essential to have a wide selection of music that changes every couple of minutes.
To reduce the abandonment rate you can also automate several parts of the call like the language the customer would like to be attended to and the department that the caller wants to talk to. This is as simple as pressing a few numbers on the phone. It also keeps the caller busy so that by the time an associate is reached much of the information is in the system and a solution can be facilitated faster.
You can also try increasing the ringing time so that there is a gap between two calls. Callers do not mind holding when the phone is ringing because there is always the hope that somebody will answer it. Voice messages on the other hand can give the impression that there is nobody on the other end of the line.
The best way to reduce call abandonment is to attend to the caller as quickly as possible. Finding new customers is a lot more expensive than maintaining old ones. So make sure that you use callbacks, and automated processing, and have a large team that will respond promptly to ensure that the caller does not hang up. A competent and efficient call center outsourcing services provider will provide all the latest call center technology, along with skilled customer care personnel to ensure that customers are engaged successfully and their issues are resolved with minimal delay.