Callbacks and Contact Centers

Written by KOVA Corp

Time is precious, and no one wants to spend it listening to a recording repeat, “Your call is important to us” with interludes of elevator music.  It’s possible that contact centers may discover some ingenious ways of entertaining customers during wait periods that don’t trigger feelings of helplessness and frustration; perhaps they will provide snippets of ted talks or slam poetry or short stand up comedy routines.  Maybe they will even design menus that allow customers to choose their ideal genre of content, with the relish one reserves for in-flight entertainment.  But, it’s also possible that most folks don’t want to mix their love for great media with troubleshooting their new printer, or asking about why their bill seems to have doubled in price.  It’s the same reason that (usually) customers don’t want to talk to agents about their golf game or their fear of spiders.

Most customers dialing a contact center are already a little agitated, impatient, and concerned.  When they are then put on hold for an extended period of time, tempers can flare and trust in the company’s capacity to adequately meet their needs can sink.  So, until waiting for an agent can become its own form of delight, there is the alternate solution posed by call back systems.  Call back systems for contact centers can preserve the professional image of a company while appeasing consumers’ irritation.  If your contact center is routinely finding itself swamped with calls, or if there are peak times of the day or year in which wait times skyrocket, a call back system may be the ideal supplement to bridge the gap.

How does it work?  If and when customers call and agents are unavailable, the system saves the callers’ phone numbers and assigns them an appointment, or a time when someone will get in touch with them.  Notwithstanding highly complex situations, the system can be depended on to improve first contact resolution (FCR) as well as overall customer satisfaction, which according to the 2012 US Contact Center Decision Makers Guide, which polled 210 contact center managers and directors, was the top metric – with 59% of those surveyed reporting that it was now more important than ever.  Second in importance was the FCR rate, coming in at 47%.

In addition to the boost in key metrics, imagine a call back system fitting in neatly with SMS marketing.  The two can have a symbiotic relationship in which texts can be used to inform customers of their assigned time as well as to alert them to new offers and limited time deals.  Though it is important not to overstep boundaries, the platform can serve as a potent form of communication.

It’s true, setting up a call back system can raise costs; however, in the long view, it’s a great investment as it has the potential to convert customer anger into customer gratitude.  With that turn, agents will also be less stressed, and business and client can bring out the best in one another instead of gritted teeth and muttered curses.  It’s only a matter of time before the decrease in resentment translates into an increase in savings, whether that be in the realm of a lowered attrition rate, efficient operations, training costs, or simply - customer retention.

It should be said that a call back system will work best, as any tech solution, when it is integrated with other tools, such as live chat and coherent interactive voice response, or IVR.  The important thing is to be able to offer customers options and flexibility within a well-anchored infrastructure.

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