How Long Hold Times Are Killing Your Customer Experience (CX)

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In this day and age, technology is heavily relied upon to run any successful business. But, how heavy is too heavy? The chances of calling any business and getting a live person after just a couple of rings are extremely low. Automation is a necessary component when digitally transforming your organization, but how are your customers experiencing your transformation? If they need to reach a live representative in your call center for purchase, support or general inquiries, what is the likelihood they will experience long hold times before successfully connecting with an actual person? If a customer is fortunate enough to have their call taken by a live representative, are they being placed on hold before they can even state their name and reason for calling?

Why Customer Experience is Important

According to a report by Fortune Business Insights, the customer experience management market worldwide is worth as much as $11.34 billion in 2022. This is a 12.2 percent year-over-year increase from its value of $10.11 billion in 2021. Over the coming years, the market is not only set to continue growing, but also sustain this impressive growth rate.

This growth is driven by the rising number of businesses adopting artificial intelligence and augmented reality to improve the customer experience for their buyers. Recognizing the importance of providing good customer service for customer retention and company presence, brands are starting to invest more in the tools and technologies that can help them grow. In essence, with this being a billion-dollar market, poor customer experience management will ultimately lead to poor profits. Avoiding long hold times is one of many ways to improve the overall customer experience.

Say Goodbye to Long Hold Times (Not Your Customers)

In today’s technology-driven world, information is available instantly and when it’s slow to access, the customer’s experience is diminished. This balancing act of providing information quickly and keeping the customer happy is something that call centers across the world deal with on a daily basis. Don’t leave your customers hanging on the line.

5 Ways to Reduce Long Hold Times

1. Keep an updated knowledge base. Hold times will be reduced if employees have quick access to relevant information that will help them answer common questions quickly and move the calls forward. A robust knowledge base made available to and easily accessible by reps in your call center will make it easier to manage the call flow. It’s not a bad idea to have a special desktop version made for your reps so that if the internet connection is slow or not responding, they can still access the information quickly for customers.

2. Record calls. When you are not available to monitor complex calls in real-time, listen to the call recordings. Use the recordings to consistently identify inefficiencies in your call center and other issues that increase hold times. Find several examples of well-handled and poorly handled calls and use them when training new call center representatives. Include a variety of common case scenarios so that your employees know how to handle these inquiries quickly and efficiently. Recording calls can also be valuable to make sure promises are being kept, information is accurate, and procedures are being followed appropriately.

3. Use call reports to track performance. Call reports provide a wealth of information and insight into your calls. By knowing who abandoned a call, what time they called you, and how long they waited before hanging up, you have a bird’s eye view of call center performance. This allows you to make informed decisions as to how to resolve long hold times. Understanding the patience threshold of your callers and effectively managing call queues will result in a seamless customer-service experience for both your representatives and your customers.

4. Unified communications (UC). Switch your on-premise business phone systems to the cloud. Who says your call center has to be on-premise to operate effectively? Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is a crucial component of digital transformation because it brings together all the mission-critical aspects of communication, like voice, video, chat, messaging, meetings and virtual collaboration, all onto one unified platform. With remote and hybrid working models being the new normal, organizations are turning to unified communications to keep call center employees connected and collaborative. It is no longer a nice-to-have investment, but a key pillar to transformation and business success.

5. Staff appropriately. The most effective and obvious answer to reducing long hold times in a call center is to staff appropriately. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hire more reps (and strain your budget). Instead, staff according to call volume. Analyze your call center data to identify your high volume periods and adjust your employees’ schedules accordingly. Create contingency plans for when reps call out, such as transferring calls to remote agents or adjusting the menu options to more efficiently route incoming calls.

Don’t Feel Stuck with Long Hold Times

If long hold times are killing your customer experience, ATC can help as your trusted advisor. Building an effective digital strategy requires a deep understanding of the technology of today and tomorrow.

Successful digital transformations start with a phone call to ATC. We build next-gen infrastructures and communication highways that connect people, processes and systems. They are purpose-built, agile, resilient and secure. Let us empower you to drive transformation by tying strategy and technology to business outcomes and goals.

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