Many businesses, including call centres, energy companies, and phone and broadband suppliers to name a few, have realised the benefits of offering call-backs. For any organisation that has a high number of sales calls or bookings to manage, this has been proven to improve customer satisfaction and reduce abandon rates.
But simply offering a call-back as soon as possible, often with a basic contact form, has its drawbacks. Doing this doesn’t actually reduce the queue of callers, it only transfers that queue from customers waiting on hold to customers waiting not on hold. Preferable as this may be, it still leaves the door open to frustration on the customer’s part, and does nothing to alleviate the unevenly heavy workload of the operator.
That’s why more and more companies are taking the further step of offering scheduled call-backs. Scheduled call-backs build on the advantages of so-called ASAP call-backs but offer improved quality of service, a more consistent workload for employees, and improved ROI. Based on the true cost of a single operator or rep, the average cost to your business of a phone call is around £5. Scheduled call-backs reduce that in a number of ways, here are just a few.
Lower abandon rates
Abandon rates impact businesses in a very real way, whether that’s on sales calls or support lines, and the highest abandon rates are produced from long queues and extended periods of being kept on hold.
When a customer is left sitting on hold for a long time, the effort is in staying there and waiting, and abandoning the call is the easier alternative. Conversely, offering a call-back reverses this, making it easier to wait for the call than to go to the effort of removing yourself from the call-back list. The problem with an ASAP call-back, however, is that giving the customer an alternative to staying on the line but not providing a concrete time for the returned call means that you risk the customer then missing the call-back when it eventually happens. By providing the opportunity for the customer to choose the time of their call-back, however, this latter risk is also mitigated, thereby further reducing abandon rates.
Reduced call handle time
Although handle time alone should not be seen as the be-all and end-all because it does not take into account the quality of calls, measuring the handle time of your customer calls can be a strong indicator of the efficiency of your operators and business as a whole. Simply put, lower handle times = less labour required per call = lower costs per call.
It might seem like scheduled call-backs won’t impact the handle time of calls itself (which covers the time from the start of the call, any interstitial hold periods, and any time spent working on matters from the call afterwards) but in fact they can and do. One of the most frustrating customer service issues is long waits on hold, and even boring or repetitive hold music contributes to that frustration. “Removing the frustration of hold-time leads to happier callers and less “venting”,” say Fonolo. “That venting itself can eat up valuable time in a call. Furthermore, happier callers can, in general, be serviced more quickly. Thus the “happiness dividend” is the reduction in AHT due to callers being less annoyed.”
As well as this “happiness dividend”, scheduled call-backs have the added time-saving benefit of allowing you to ask questions about the customer’s call before the call even begins. Simply gathering this essential information in an online scheduling form rather than at the beginning of the call itself saves valuable time for both the operator and the customer.
Regulated call spikes
Inevitably, there are certain times of the day that are more popular for calls than others, and this can result in busy periods that cause long wait times as well as quiet periods when operators are under-utilised. Being able to regulate the stream of incoming calls throughout the day allows you make better, more efficient use of your staff’s time, plus it reduces wait times to improve abandon rates.
Scheduled call-backs smooth out call spikes during the day by allowing customers to choose an alternative time for their call from what is available. This is superior to ASAP call-backs in that it removes the guessing from the wait time and instead allows for customers to feel that they are being catered to, while also taking the surplus calls from the busiest times and transferring them to dips in the day.
So now we know why scheduled call-backs are better for you and your customers, how can your business start scheduling? The good news is, it’s incredibly easy to offer customers a simple call-back booking tool that streamlines your calls and all the admin surrounding them with Appointedd. Real-time booking, automated comms, calendar sync, and so many more time-saving, cost-reducing features. Start your free trial or book a 15-minute call to find out more about our scheduling solutions and how they can boost your business.
Published on 14 August 2017