At first, callback queuing (CBQ) sounds counter-intuitive: why would a customer call a company just to talk to them later? Nobody wants to wait in a queue.
Actually, this type of “return later” queuing has been used for years. This is the same idea as taking a number at the DMV and passing time in the lobby, sipping a cocktail at a restaurant bar while waiting for a buzzer to alert you that there’s a table, or having fun in a theme park until your scheduled time to ride a popular attraction.
In contact centers, there are unavoidable times when there isn’t enough staff to meet demand. When that’s the case, CBQ is beneficial to both the contact center and the customer.
Features of Callback Queuing
First-in, first-out is one way to handle CBQ, but it’s also possible to prioritize the calls according to customer profile and issue. There are two types of connection options with CBQ:
1. Obtain Agent First: The system dials the customer only after having an agent on the line. The benefit is that this option is customer-focused, but it increases the amount of time the agent spends on the call. There’s also a risk that the customer isn’t there, which is a loss of time for the agent.
2. Obtain Customer First: The system connects to the customer and then connects to the agent. This is efficient for the center, but not a great experience for the customer, and they could even be placed back into a queue to wait for an agent.
If the customer gets tired of waiting for a callback, some CBQ systems will let them know their current place in line if they the call the contact center again. Alternatively, the initial CBQ option can ask the caller for a window of time to call back so they know exactly when to expect a call.
CBQ isn’t just for calls. The feature can extend to mobile apps and websites. For example, a website can have a “Call Me” option that puts the customer into the callback queue without them having to place a call in the first place.
Benefits of Callback Queuing
According to Shankar Vedantum, the science correspondent for NPR, customers don’t think about an experience as a whole; instead, they determine an experience by how it ends. When a contact center isn’t readily available to answer a call, the customer’s initial feeling of disappointment is replaced after having an agent call them back to resolve their issue. This increases customer satisfaction and helps the contact center meet certain metrics, like service level.
Contact centers can avoid using extra staff for unanticipated peak times, like when an electric company has an outage or a flight is canceled due to a change in weather. Short-lived peaks can be accommodated, too, like when a retail company runs a promotion that gets more traction than expected.
How to Use Callback Queuing
CBQ isn’t a chance to under-staff a contact center. If volume is high for an entire day and over a long period of time, staffing solutions, not CBQ, are the answer. When routine callers get asked to opt for CBQ each and every time they need help, they’ll feel like their call isn’t important.
CBQ works best when the wait is over five minutes. Offer the option, but don’t require it. The customer should choose to use it. Set the right expectations by letting the customer know what the experience will include, like expected wait time and how many times the contact center will attempt to call.