call back scheduling

Callback Queuing – Benefits

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.

Contact Center Software Features to Improve the Customer Experience

Contact center software should offer features that enrich the customer experience.  The following features should be considered.

Callback or Voicemail from Queue

Instead of waiting for the next available agent, many customers are happy with opting to have an agent call them back when it would normally be their turn in the queue. Once a caller is placed in the queue, they are given an option to continue waiting or to be called by an agent. If the caller also wants to leave a message for a particular agent or department, they can do that as well.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Self-Service Options

The customer experience begins before the customer is even connected to an agent. With IVR, callers are routed to the agent that they need to talk to regarding their specific inquiry. IVR helps improve first call resolution and increases customer satisfaction. Sometimes, a customer doesn’t need an agent at all, but can instead solve their problem with self-service IVR. Hours of operation, directions, and even basic account changes can often be handled electronically.

Warm Transfer and Call Conferencing

Ending all transfers would be great, but it isn’t realistic. Even when IVR does its job and connects the caller to the right agent, the caller may have a second issue that needs to be addressed by another agent. When a transfer is necessary, the warm transfer is the best option. Agent #1 speaks with agent #2 about the caller’s inquiry, which means the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves. Or, instead of transferring the caller, the second agent can be conferenced in.

VIP Routing and Dedicated Phone Numbers

High value customers are important to a brand. By tagging a customer as a VIP, they can skip the waiting queue and be immediately connected to an agent. It helps to also assign a VIP tag to the contact center’s best agents so that the inquiry is handled as flawlessly as possible. Additionally, VIP customers can be given direct phone numbers to their “personal” agent. When it’s not possible for an agent to answer a VIP call, the customer can leave a voicemail for a specific agent or team.