The modern age customers are a restless lot. While technology has given them the power of convenient shopping and instant gratification, intense competition in the industry has spoilt them for choices. Customer experience has accordingly metamorphosed and assumed a new definition. Contact centers, therefore, need to be more conscious than ever before in offering support that is aligned with the expectations of today’s empowered customers. And in doing so, the most important thing is to take care of the ‘long wait times’. Research shows that longer hold times make customers feel unwanted and disrespected, while adding to his/her frustration.
Here are some useful ways to effectively manage customer wait times, and help contact centers achieve an optimized level of customer experience:
It is always a good practice to let the customers know for how long he/ she may need to wait. This not only keeps the expectations level clear but also lets the customers use their valuable time in the way they would want to. For instance, they could answer a short message, grab a coffee, or attend to some other important task. In addition, when customers get an honest heads-up about the estimated time, they can choose whether it is worth the wait, or it is better to call back. All these go into building confidence in the customer care center and aid in multiplying the brand value.
In the business world, the environment and infrastructure can be challenging at times. This can lead to an unforeseen delay in responses by the call center agents. In such a situation, it is important that customers be offered apologies: letting them know the actual reason for the delay. Most customers will appreciate the honesty. They will also value the brand for respecting their time.
Customers get in touch with contact centers when they are unhappy about something. The last thing they would like is to hear a plain beeping note on the other side of the phone, or a non-stop automated voice while they are waiting. To ensure that customers do not get even more irritated, their waiting times should be made pleasant.
A light music or sharing of some useful tips can encourage the customers to complete the call cycle, and get the help they need .The wait times can be utilized to introduce/ market some brand features and educate the customers. However, care should be taken to ensure that this does not sound forced or intrusive.
Customers want to feel empowered and resolve most issues on their own. This requirement is stronger in the world of digital media, where technology has changed the scope of customer service. Therefore, customers should be provided with opportunities such as self-service web kiosks, Live Chat and other such tools so that they do not have to call up contact centers and get into waiting lines. Such options also help in load sharing, especially during the peak hours/seasons.
This is a popular choice for many contact centers. Instead of placing the customers on hold, a call back option is assigned against them (by the agent) so that they can be contacted during the next best opportunity available to the agent. This reduces complications while ensuring that customers are not left unattended.
Businesses should invest in skilled agents, as they can play an instrumental role in reducing the wait times drastically. This is because the agent will have the right acumen to handle a range of calls, provide the right solution in the most efficient and professional manner (with clarity and courtesy), and keep the conversation short and simple, without compromising on the quality. In other words, he/she will be able to take more calls and help clear off the huge waiting queue of customers.
Longer wait times are often the result of shortage of labor or dis-organized systems and processes. Meticulous resource planning can reduce wait times. Simple checks and adjustments like analyzing customer data to understand peak hours, having a contingency plan in place to combat employee fall out and simplifying some painstaking processes, can be strong starting points.
No matter how efficient a system is, there is always the possibility of clogging, – inevitably adding to the time it takes to resolve a customer query. A smart way would be to understand the entire workflow and see what role the system plays in it. Thereafter, if one is able to identify the crucial aspects of the system and its behavior during a customer life cycle, the impact of system downtime on customer wait times can be lessened.
Customers wait because they are most often in the wrong place. Check the website to see if there is sufficient guidance for the customer during his purchase journey or if agents are able to route the queries to the right authority. When customer experience is enhanced, they are less likely to get stuck while contacting call centers.
Waiting as such is a hard part, but what is more frustrating is the uncertainty of it. Contact centers should be sensitive about this and work towards offering a transparent service. With the right infrastructure, systems and labor in place, wait times can be substantially reduced and optimized. Getting the help of an efficient and high quality call center support service provider would definitely ensure improved customer service.