It’s probably safe to say that at some point, you’ve abandoned a call when faced with an excessive hold time – I certainly have.
Abandoned calls are just that- one where a caller hangs up while on hold waiting for an agent. The more successful your call center is – that is, the more calls you get – the more likely you are to face increased hold times and, in turn, an increased abandoned rate.
Why is the abandon rate important? It speaks directly to customer dissatisfaction and the negative impact it has on customer loyalty. As the experts rightly point out, it’s less expensive to keep existing customers happy rather than acquire new ones.
Here are three tips for reducing abandon rates in your call center:
Look at the trends – and prepare for the future.
You can’t fix what you can’t measure. Call detail reports provide you with a wealth of information and insight into your calls – including the ones that never got answered. By knowing who abandoned a call, when they called you, and how long they waited before hanging up, you can make informed decisions on how to resolve the situation.
Though this might seem obvious, make sure to staff based on volume. Adjusting agent schedules to match peak calling windows can be less expensive than hiring additional agents … and both are less expensive than having to acquire new customers! (According to callcenterhelper.com, 6/10 customers have ditched a company because its telephone customer service has been so bad.)
Keep the customer informed.
Customers appreciate honesty – even if they don’t like the message. If hold-times are an issue, consider preparing customers by placing a message in the IVR or ACD informing callers of the estimated wait time, or indicating a period of high volume (“… we’re experiencing a higher than normal call volume …”).
Where peak times are predictable (as is the case for many call centers), another option is drive callers to call back during periods of lower call volume. For example, a message might say, “… we normally experience higher than normal call volume the first week of each month …”.
Though, at first, this approach can encourage call avoidance, over the long term it can help lower handle times and abandon rates by encouraging customers to call during off-peak periods.
Employ a call-back solution!
Call-back technology (otherwise known as “virtual queuing”, or “replacing hold-time with a call-back”) can improve the customer experience, reduce cost-per-call and lower the abandonment rate in your contact center.
By giving callers the option to “press 1 to receive a call-back when an agent is available” (for example, with a solution like Fonolo), you can smooth out call volumes while lowering caller frustration. According to Forrester, for customers,
The option to hold their place in queue and go on to do something else is highly appealing, with 75% stating a preference for it.
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