Startup Pulse

How to Deliver a Calm Customer Waiting Experience

Think about how you feel whenever you are waiting in a queue. For most people it is hugely frustrating if the wait goes on for a longer time than expected. When you take this frustration and move the physical queue to a telephone conversation, and the feelings you have when you are placed in a call waiting queue when on the phone to a professional company, and we have all had those angry feelings where we just want to throw our phone against the wall rather than continue hearing annoying, middle of the road ‘lift’ music, and the occasional automated message stating that “your call is important to us, you are number (13) in the queue and your call will be answered in (9 minutes)”.

If your company has a customer service team or sales team with the responsibility of taking inbound calls from customers to either complete purchases or make complaints or ask queries, you want to do everything in your power to ensure that the customer experience is a positive one. When it comes to keeping a customer waiting on the phone, there are ways in which you can improve the process, so that it isn’t automatically a negative one where the customer gets increasingly frustrated to the point that by the time

The problem isn’t just with the type of message that is automatically played to the customers as they wait in the queue, but also how far into the call it comes, and how regularly it is played. If it comes up every 30 seconds or so that can be infuriating in itself and lead to annoyance and a call feeling twice as long as it actually is.

There are a few ways in which you can tweak the call queue to enhance the experience and do your best to limit the chances that the customer hangs up in annoyance, or enters a conversation with your customer service operative in a bad mood and less likely to purchase from you or give concessions in any dialogue about a complaint.

The first thing that many companies do is to announce the expected delay. This does not always have to be genuinely accurate, as you should always be cautious with the number you give out due to unforeseen circumstances making certain calls longer than others. If, for example, you know there is a 15-minute delay currently, you are only going to anger a customer if you tell them there is only a 5-minute wait. By handing out this information you put the decision back to the customer, allowing them to end the call or take up one of the other options open to them, instead of waiting in the queue. You could also inform the caller of their exact position in the queue, again allowing them to gauge whether it is worth waiting or not.

Another option at this point, especially if there is a busy flow of calls at that current time is to mention the hours of the day where a customer is more likely to get through quickly. This differs from call centre to call centre, and from industry to industry, but there is always a quieter time of the day where calls are not at a high quantity when compared to peak times.

Lastly, why not provide a call back service, where the customer does not have to sit on the phone, but can instead put the phone on, carry on with their day and wait for a call back at the moment their time in the queue as come to an end? With contact centre support your business can thrive with such call waiting options implemented.

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