Reducing customer service wait times

customer service

Few things in life are more frustrating than waiting on hold to solve a problem with a product or a service.

Being aware of this ought to make reducing customer service wait times an important aspect of ensuring your clients’ satisfaction.

These tips will help you accomplish that worthy goal.

  1. Cross train agents and empower them to make decisions. Bottlenecks occur when agents don’t have a key piece of knowledge and are forced to ask for assistance from a colleague. Similarly, time spent seeking approval from a manager to apply a particular solution also keeps customers on the phone (and others on hold) for a longer period of time.
  1. Provide a readily accessible database of solutions agents can access to get answers to common situations quickly. Be smart about it and involve your agents in the establishment of the database. Ask them what they need to know and consult their opinions for the best way to configure the database so they can use it the way they actually work. Once it’s built, make keeping the database updated a priority so your agents can always trust its contents.
  2. Offer alternatives to waiting on hold such as an automated call back function. Give your clients the option of getting a return call when they phone during heavy call volume periods, This will relieve them of the burden of sitting on hold and waiting for a CSR to get an opportunity speak to them. If you go this route, keep in mind most people are only willing to wait approximately 30 minutes for that return call.
  3. You can also use chatbots to provide an automated problem resolution function for frequently occurring issues.. Employing a voice mail solution wherein customers can leave messages is another possibility. Again though, you must get back to them within a reasonable timeframe. In most cases, this will be 60 minutes or less.
  1. Train agents adequately before allowing them to go live with customers. Too many call centers permit learning on the job. This frustrates customers who call seeking ready solutions for their issues. Let’s say you’re setting up an online bookstore. As you’re considering how to sell ebooks on your own website, imagine how you’d feel waiting on hold for an answer to each question because you’re stuck with an inexperienced person. Thrown into the deep end of the pool without adequate training, a new employee won’t know the proper responses nor will they feel empowered to make relevant decisions.
  1. Encourage internal responsiveness. There will be times when the CSR has no choice but to consult with someone who works in the department around which the concern is centered. If those people have a nonchalant attitude about working with your CSRs, they’re going to contribute to lengthy wait times while your representative struggles to find someone wiling to provide assistance.
  1. Limit chitchat. Yes, your agents should be warm and empathetic to your callers. However, going beyond polite pleasantries and engaging in conversations having no bearing on solving the customer’s problem should be frowned upon. You absolutely want callers to feel welcomed, but don’t let them turn your customer service agents into sounding boards for every aspect of their lives. Reps should be infused with a sense of urgency and strive to handle each call as expeditiously as possible—without making the caller feel rushed. Reducing customer service wait times is a huge part of ensuring customer satisfaction. This, in turn, contributes to repeat business in the form of a loyal customer base that trust their concerns will be handled quickly, confidently and in a professional manner.