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Agents Guide to Voice Call-Backs

About Voice Call-Backs

The only thing customers hate more than navigating a phone menu is waiting on hold.

Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs is a solution that allows callers to schedule a call-back – rather than wait on hold – when hold-times are too high. It waits on hold on behalf of your customers, calling them back when an agent is ready to handle their call.

What Callers Hear

When callers are on hold, they hear the following message, offering the option of a call-back:

“If you would like to receive a call-back rather than wait on hold, press one now.”

(this scripting is customizable, and may not match this text exactly)

Callers that accept the offer by pressing [1] on their phone are transferred to a call-back confirmation menu. The menu first reads back the customers caller-id value (if available), and then:

“If you would like us to call you back at that number, press one. If you would like us to call you back at a different number, press two.”

Once the call-back number has been confirmed, callers are told that their call-back has been scheduled:

“Your call has been scheduled, and you will receive a call as soon as an agent is available. Good-bye.”

Fonolo then dials in to the company phone system and waits on hold for an agent.

What Agents Hear

At this point, Fonolo plays an automated message to your agents, indicating that there is a caller on the line, waiting to speak to them:

“Hello, there is a customer on the line for you, press one to be connected now.”

This message will continue to play, over and over, until an agent is ready to speak with the customer.

Once the agent hears this message, they simply press the [1] button on their phone to accept the call-back. They are then notified that the call-back to the customer is about to be placed:

“Thank you, we’re now calling the customer. Please wait on the line until they answer.”

Fonolo will automatically call the customer back at the requested phone number, connecting the call. (Note: this message will stop playing as soon as the customer answers their phone.)

Starting the Call-Back

Fonolo will pass along the customer’s ANI and CTI information – just as if the call came directly from the customer – so the call can be identified. When the agent is ready to take the call, they simply follow the instructions in the automated message and the call-back to the customer will start.

If the call has been on hold for some time, customers may be initially surprised by the call-back.

It’s important that agents clearly identify who they are and what the call-back is about, in order to give the customer some context for the call. For example:

“Hello, this is [agent’s name] from Acme calling you back as requested. How can I help you today?”

Doing this puts customers at ease, and helps remind them about the call-back they scheduled.

Though customers can be surprised at first, they’re usually thrilled to have avoided the hassle of waiting on hold, and so calls begin very pleasantly.

Pre-Call Questions

Companies can optionally prompt callers for additional information in the call-back confirmation menu. For example, a company could prompt the caller to input a numeric account number, or leave a short voice recording with their name after a beep.

This additional information can then be presented to the agents during the automated message. For example, the agent would hear:

“Hello, there is a customer on the line for you, press one to be connected now, or press two to hear the customers’ responses.”

When the agent pushes the [2] button on their phone, Fonolo will play-back any numeric or recorded input left by the caller. This input can be used by the agent to prepare for the call-back. Once the agent is ready, they would then press [1] to accept the call-back.

If the Call-Back Fails

If the call-back to the customer cannot be completed (for example, if the customer’s phone number is invalid, or out of service), agents can hang up and the call will be disconnected.

If the call-back reaches the customer’s voice mail, agents should handle it based on the call center’s scripting rules. It is recommended that agents leave a message clearly identifying who they are, and let the customer know that an attempt was made to call them back:

“Hello, this is [agent’s name] from [company name] calling you back as requested. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to reach you today. Goodbye.”

Fonolo has a feature in which the agent can push 9 to reschedule the call, which can be configured on the Fonolo Portal. If the call is rescheduled, the agent should include in their message that the call-back will be tried again:

“Hello, this is [agent’s name] from [company name] calling you back as requested. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to reach you today, but don’t worry, we will try your call again. Goodbye.”

If the call-back ends before reaching the caller- for example, if the agent accidentally hangs up the call without pushing [1], or if we experience any issues calling into the companies phone system (if we receive a busy signal for example)- Fonolo will automatically retry this call-back up to 5 more times (this is configurable through the Fonolo Portal).

If all call-back attempts are unsuccessful, the customer will receive an automated call from Fonolo, letting them know that there was a problem:

“We’re sorry, there was an error placing your call. Please press one to try your call again”

The customer will then have the option to press [1] to re-schedule this call-back, or simply hang up, and no further action will take place. If the customer pushes [1] to opt-in for the rescheduled call-back, Fonolo will play a message to let them know the call has been rescheduled:

“Your call has been rescheduled. You will receive a call as soon as an agent is available. Good-bye.”

Common Errors

Due to the nature of the telephone network, agents can experience the occasional issue that prevents them from handling the call-back.

For example, the agent may experience an issue with noise on the line, one-way audio (where one party doesn’t hear the other), difficulty pressing the [1] button on their phone (the agent pushes [1], but the call does not complete as it should), or other types of carrier errors (“we’re sorry, this call cannot be completed as dialed”).

While Fonolo can’t guarantee that every individual call will be successful, we have put in place several layers of re-try logic, and error correction that will ensure that we complete as many call-backs as possible.

In the event that an agent experiences any issues with a call, they can safely hang-up, knowing Fonolo will retry the call-back. This is similar to getting a “bad line” when placing an outbound call, and saying “let me try calling you back to see if we get a better line”.

Agent FAQs

Why did the agent whisper start in the middle?

Fonolo will continuously loop the agent whisper until the agent pushes 1, so it is completely normal that the agent may pick up the phone in the middle of the whisper message. Agents can push 1 at any time during the message to accept the call-back.

What happens when I press 1 to accept the call-back?

When an agent pushes 1 to accept the call-back, Fonolo will automatically call the customer back. This call is placed like any other regular call, and the agent will be able to hear the call set-up (i.e. ringing) as if they dialed the number themselves. These calls can run into normal call issues such as a busy signal, voicemail, or the customer could simply be unavailable to talk.

What happens if the call rings busy? What happens if the customer doesn’t answer?

If the call rings busy or there is no answer, agents should simply hang up the call. Fonolo will automatically retry the call-back. These calls will be marked as “Client Number Busy” and “Client Call Abandoned” respectively on Fonolo reports.

What happens if I don’t push 1?

If agents don’t push 1 and then hang-up, Fonolo will automatically retry the call-back again. Agents should not do this as there are a finite number of retries. These calls will be marked as “Agent Did Not Accept” on Fonolo reports.

What if we can’t reach the customer?

If the call-back has exhausted all its retries, the customer will receive an automated call from Fonolo, letting them know that there was a problem placing their call-back.

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