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Three Reasons Customers Get Stuck on Hold – and How to Address Them - Verint Monet - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

Three Reasons Customers Get Stuck on Hold – and How to Address Them

In 2014, a Comcast customer tried to cancel his service. He was placed on hold…for three-and-a-half hours. After enduring that wait, the customer finally hung up and tried again, only to find that the service center had closed. 

At about the three-hour mark, our exasperated customer began recording his reactions. That video (“Comcast put me on hold until they closed”) has been viewed more than 1.8 million times on YouTube. 

It’s an amusing story, as long as you’re not the customer or Comcast. But putting callers on hold is nothing to laugh about, even when it cannot be avoided. 

Average Handle Time – and the Scourge of the Hold Button

One of the most important of the contact center’s key performance indicators (KPIs) is Average Handle Time (AHT), which records how much time an agent spends with one customer. It has been described as the bedrock for all contact center planning systems, which makes sense; if you guess wrong with this metric, it is difficult to plan anything else correctly. 

Most contact centers calculate AHT by added Total Talk Time, Total Hold Time and Total Wrap-Up Time. Some contact centers cheat by figuring hold time as a separate stat (Average Hold Time) but they are just kidding themselves. The agent is still working on that same caller’s needs. Every time a customer is put on hold, the handle time just keeps growing. 

How Do Your Customers Feel? They Hate It

The text message service TalkTo recently concluded that the average American spends about 13 hours on hold every year. Over the course of a typical lifespan, that adds up to 43 days of listening to “Thank you for your patience – your call is important to us”. No wonder they are upset. 

And while these numbers are not any worse than they were 10, 20 or 30 years ago, callers today may not have the same patience as their parents did. Anyone that grew up with the instant gratification of an online purchase or finding answers to questions by typing a few words into a search engine is now accustomed to getting what they want and not having to wait for it. 

If you put these customers on hold, some will understand that you are trying to find the information you need to help them – but most will think you are just wasting their time. Among customers who feel they have waited too long on hold, 1/3 will hang up and never call back. Relationship over. 

Let’s take a closer look at the three reasons most customers are placed on hold, and what can be done to shorten those waits – or eliminate them altogether. 

1. Not Enough Agents Available

When there are too many calls and not enough agents, it results in the especially frustrating “ABC industries, please hold.” The call is answered but the customer is immediately relegated back to the limbo of hold. 

The Solution: Better Forecasting and Scheduling

Forecasts are made to anticipate caller demand and to make certain the contact center will never be short-handed. Many contact centers use spreadsheets to create forecasts, but the results are always time-consuming and often inaccurate.

A workforce management solution delivers automated workload forecasting and schedule generation. Managers can run simulations to calculate a precise forecast for future call volume, agent requirements and average handle time. Peak calling times can be identified based on trends and patterns in historical data. Once you know when incoming calls will be heaviest, it’s easier to readjust agent schedules as needed to handle the demand. 

Workforce optimization is the art and science of having the right number of employees, with the right skills at the right times to meet accurately forecasted volumes of work, and to do all that at a predetermined service level. With Monet WFM Live, you are able to forecast incoming work based on historical patterns, with the added ability to schedule and track employees based on preferences, skills and availability. 

2. The Agent Does Not Have the Information Necessary to Address the Caller’s Question or Situation

Callers expect answers. If a customer has to be placed on hold while the agent asks someone else, or needs to get an approval before authorizing a return (or whatever the situation may be) that caller will wonder why the company didn’t do a better job of training its employees. Yes, that is unfair in many cases, but perception is often reality, and customers will certainly be happier if their business can be conducted quickly by the person who answered the phone – without any on-hold delays. 

The Solution: Agent Training and Trust 

Most of these hold scenarios fall into two main categories: the agent either does not have the necessary information, or the agent could handle the situation but is forced to speak with a manager or supervisor before proceeding. By expanding the agents’ authority to make decisions, many of the latter instances can be eliminated. 

If an agent cannot answer a caller’s question, it’s possible the question is so unique and unexpected that no amount of training could prepare for it. But those situations are rare. More often, callers are placed on hold in these situations because the agent is still new and learning on the job. Better training might prepare new agents to answer the full array of common customer queries, without resorting to the ‘hold’ button so they can ask a co-worker or manager for help. Managers can also help avoid these situations by created an online knowledge base that can be accessed quickly and easily (and is updated regularly to include new offers, promotions, etc.). 

3. Insufficient Contact Center Resources

Resources, in this case, can refer to either personnel or technology. Forecasting and scheduling can optimize agent allocation, but if there are not enough agents on the payroll, customers will have to wait longer to be addressed. And technology exists to further refine data collection and improve agent preparation and performance, but it must be implemented to do so.

The Solution: Do What You Can

There’s no universal cure for this one. If the budget allows for hiring more agents, most contact centers will do so. If it doesn’t, it’s imperative to maximize the human resources available, and here once again WFM can be critical. When it’s delivered via the cloud like Monet WFM Live, there is no large upfront investment, so these capabilities are now within reach of small and midsized contact centers as well. 

What else might help? Some contact centers are using speech analytics to analyze call patterns and identify more frequently asked questions. By doing so, agents can be better prepared to handle specific situations so those callers do not have to be put on hold while answers are sought. 

Bonus Tip: Maximize Hold Time

Regardless of preparation and resources, there will always be times when a customer has to be placed on hold. Is there anything that can be done during this time to make it more tolerable – or to reduce abandoned call rates? 

Statistics shows that more customers hang up if their hold time is spent in silence. Music is preferable, but even better would be pre-recorded messages of relevant information about the company, that may not address their particular situation but might be helpful to them anyway. Another option is offering to call the customer back when the agent is available. 

Conclusion

Reducing the amount of time your customers stay on hold will not only result in shorter handle times, but will make your customers and agents happier.

Source: http://www.monetsoftware.com/blog/Workforce-Optimization/post/three-reasons-customers-get-stuck-on-hold-and-how-to-address-them

Publish Date: November 16, 2015 5:00 AM


2021 Buyers Guide Remote Agent Solutions

 
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3Fiftynine

Branches
Making sure agents can work remotely isn’t a problem with Branches. The system shows accurate information, real-time. No fear of missing out on important updates anymore.

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Amtelco

Web Agent
Our Web Agent application is a web browser-based telephone agent interface for the Genesis Intelligent Series (IS) call center platform. The Genesis Web Agent application makes any personal computer a professional telephone agent station.

3.) 
Centrical

Centrical Business Continuity & Remote Work Solutions
Centrical Solutions Help Sustain Business Continuity,
Keep Employees Engaged and Connected During COVID-19
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Centrical, provider of the holistic, real-time employee engagement and performance management platform, offers contact centers ways to

Keep calm and keep working remotely.

We offer solutions for business continuity in a crisis that provide effective engagement, communications, and reskilling of employees working from home, among other things. They will let you:

Reduce anxiety and isolation
The times we’re in require an extra effort to communicate and keep everyone connected. With Centrical, you can create an ongoing stream of communica...
(read more)
PH: +1 800 538 4263 (US) or +44 20 3318 6424 (UK)

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Cloud IT Services GmbH

Dialfire
Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.

You can see the full list of features here:

5.) 
Consilium Software

Consilium UniAgent™ Mobile
As we enter the next stage of the global pandemic, Contact Centers are faced with a new set of challenges to enable their Agents to Work-from-Home without impacting Customer Experience (CX). UniAgent™ Mobile is the ideal solution to enable Work-from-Home Agents using Tablets or Smartphones or PC without any VPN. UniAgent™ Mobile is compatible with Cisco CCE, CCX, PCCE and HCS-CC contact centers (both bridged and nailed connection). UniAgent™ Mobile is available as On-Premises or Cloud Solution which can be hosted in the Private Cloud, or on the Public Cloud (AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, etc.). UniAgent™ Mobile can be deployed in conjunction with Cisco Unified Mobile Agent (CU...
(read more)
PH: (+61) 406 501 368

6.) 
Dalbar Inc.

CXA iCoach
As a leading expert in contact center business practices, DALBAR recognizes the challenge of consistently delivering exceptional customer experiences with the sudden shift to remote teams. Our self-evaluation and coaching solution for remote representatives and virtual contact centers will let you meet these challenges head on. DALBAR's CXA iCoach solution, combines our proprietary criteria and over 40 years of industry research. It allows Contact Center Managers and Quality Teams to continue to improve and provide a better customer experience even when they aren't at a physical location.
PH: 617-723-6400

7.) 
Eckoh

CallGuard Remote
A flexible way to take secure, PCI DSS compliant payments from home or remote locations. It’s quick to deploy needs no changes to processes or systems.
CallGuard Remote prevents agents from seeing, hearing or recording card details so, the agent, their screen, and any call recordings are removed from the scope of PCI DSS. This simple approach means the customer effectively types their own payment information into the agent’s payment screen, but with the card details being shielded from the agent’s view. It’s simple, and highly effective.
PH: 01442 458300

8.) 
Happitu

Happitu is your customer support team’s personal coach. It guides your team through every interaction with custom workflows, responsive scripting, and dynamic help topics.

Documentation in Happitu is automated, detailed, and consistent. Go beyond handle times and service levels with the rich insights of Happitu – from granular interaction data to aggregate data and trends – you get the complete CX journey!

We intentionally built the Happitu Workflow Designer with your customer support team in mind. Using our intuitive tools that provide quick and safe iteration, you eliminate the need to involve IT or Development. Yes, you will no longer have to dread submitting a change request to Devin from IT!

Try it free for 45 days!
PH: 833-427-7488

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MattsenKumar LLC

Virtual Contact Center Solutions
Our virtual contact center services help our clients to run their customer support processes (phone, chat, and email) remotely. Our well trained remote agents can help them deliver the best experience for their customers irrespective of the channels. With our data security measures, engaged workforce, and the right reporting tools, our clients are guaranteed with a satisfied customer base.
PH: +91 99026 10044

10.) 
MFE International

Oracle LIVE Experience
Live Experience offers HD voice, video, Screen sharing and annotations for customer mobile users. Agents interacted with users using desktops or mobile. Applications are for Financial Services, Retail, Travel and Hospitality, Digital Services, Utilities, Coporate IT where remote HD video, screen share or annotation is needed for a great customer experience.

11.) 
Nuxiba Technologies

CenterWare
Maintain your business operation from anywhere, even if your agents are at different locations!
Don't let COVID-19 stop you. Use our cloud contact center hosted software and continue your operation.
Monitor active campaigns in our administration module, have your agents receive and dial calls, access reports, have multi-channel interactions, and obtain 24/7 support.

Easy setup and usage, request a quote or schedule a live demo today!


12.) 
Orion Learning Services Inc.

Learning & Development
Learning & Development - For Remote Workers
Learning & Development for Remote Agents, Supervisors, Managers and Administration/Support Staff

Orion Learning is a global leader in providing accredited learning and development solutions for organizations globally. We offer call/contact center certification programs for Agents, Supervisors and Managers, business certifications and examinations for wide range of topics including project management, change management and service management, leadership soft skills and a full suite of assessment tools which can be used for recruitment, talent management, succession planning and coaching/mentoring. We deliver our solutions to global community and all of our solutions are delivered digitally.
PH: 1-416-992-5158

13.) 
Vads

VADS Indonesia Remote Agent Solutions helps your company with various features that can make it easier for you and your company to stay productive, can be accessed anywhere because it uses cloud-based licenses so that it can help you and your business activities run smoothly.The features that keep your company activities running and productive.
PH: 0217991445

14.) 
Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

InterDialog UCCS
InterDialog UCCS with its work from home agent ready call center software helps you to have complete control over your contact center operations. Agents can log in from any where , home, office or any other place where they are through their mobile phone or desktop , or even through our ID mobile app . With centralized recording & reporting , you gain visibility of all contact center metrics , and you can manage your center the same way as you were doing when working from office.
 



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