How to Reduce Call Center Hold Time.

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How to Reduce Call Center Hold Time.
Last Updated on July 1, 2024


Call center hold time is a key component to a positive customer experience. It plays a critical role in customer satisfaction which drives business. Customers with positive satisfaction levels recommend the company to friends, family, and return as repeat customers. It is important to keep customers happy and placing them on hold for an extended period of time will have the opposite effect.

Businesses will not be able to eliminate call center hold time, however; it can be reduced. This article explores what is call center hold time, the impact it has on the customer journey, what causes it, and how to reduce it.

What is call center hold time?

Call center hold time is the amount of time a caller spends on hold waiting for a call center agent to respond. This may be the initial interaction where the caller has not engaged with a call center agent or the moment an agent has placed the caller on hold to complete a task.

Why is Call Center hold time an important metric?

Customers are impatient and they do not appreciate being placed on hold. It makes them feel like their issues are low priority. Negative repercussions may ripple throughout the entire customer journey when a caller is placed on hold for a long time. Specifically, long hold times negatively impacts the following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) – Customers are impatient and they do not appreciate being placed on hold. It makes them feel like their issues are low priority. The negative impact on customer satisfaction will grow the longer the customer has to wait and will ultimately lead to their abandonment of both the call and engaging in business with the company.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) – NPS is directly affected by CSAT. The customer will not recommend the company’s products to family and friends if they are not satisfied. The customer may also leave negative reviews which damages company reputation if the NPS falls low enough.
  • Average Resolution Time (ART) – A customer may become irritated when they are on hold for too long. The representative may find that they need to placate the customer first when the customer does speak with a representative before they can resolve their issue. This increases ART because the agent must perform both the task to placate the customer then resolve the issue.
Person Waiting on Hold
Person Waiting on Hold.

What causes long hold time at call centers and what are the solutions?

Long call center hold times are a symptom of multiple root causes. They vary from unexpected high call volumes, insufficient staffing, technical issues, etc. Here is a list of common causes of long hold times for businesses and the solutions.

  1. Insufficient staff – There will be callers placed on hold when a business schedules a specific number of call center agents to work and the call volume exceeds that number. A company also does not want too many agents sitting with no calls to support. How does a business provide the appropriate number of agents at the right time? Running Business Intelligence and Reports provide managers with details of the busiest times, days, and weeks. This enables managers to provide staff to the call center at the busiest times and reduce staff when there are less calls.
  2. Inadequate agent training – Call center agents can handle higher volumes of calls and resolve issues with adequate training. The key to continuous improvement in training is call recording software. Businesses can review, assess, and detect common call issues by recording calls and reviewing the conversations. Coaching can be accomplished via managers to agents or peer to peer. Managers can coach and develop customer service soft skills to improve KPIs such as CSAT, NPS, ART, and work to continuously improve First Call Resolution (FCR). Companies can also develop a repository of solutions to common issues to resolve calls more quickly. Implementing call recording and coaching agents to focus on their KPIs to improve their performance is the most effective strategy to reduce call center hold time for most companies.
  3. No call back option – A call back option is when an organization offers the caller a bot to wait on hold in their behalf. An automated message informs the caller how long the expected wait time will be and provides an option to be called back when it is their turn in the queue. A call back allows the caller to freedom from waiting on the line.
  4. No Omni Channel Communication options – Providing additional channels of communication to customers allows businesses to reduce call volume. These channels may range from direct email, contact us forms, online chat, social media, appointment scheduling website forms, etc. Many companies also provide a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section and additional information on their website to allow customers to find their answers without telephone interaction.
  5. Inadequate Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system – Not every single call requires customer support. Callers may need to speak with Sales, Billing, a specific agent, or any other department. An IVR system allows the business to setup a routing system for callers to choose the department that best suits their needs, access prerecorded information, leave a voice message, and more. This reduces the volume of callers to general support and allows callers to accomplish their goals faster.

How to Reduce Call Center Hold Time.

Long hold times directly affect customer satisfaction which can have a negative impact on the business. Applying an IVR system, call back option, and Omni Channel Communication options will reduce overall volume from reaching the general customer service line. The more effective approach is the installation of call recording software such as Versadial Solutions.

Versadial’s VS Logger provides the Business Intelligence and Reports needed to analyze calls and identify the moments when volume will increase. This allows business managers to increase or reduce staff when necessary.

Versadial’s call recording is the most powerful tool a business can implement to reduce call center hold time. Listening to agent calls and providing staff with training to appropriately handle caller issues quickly will improve customer satisfaction.

Contact us to learn more about Versadial and call recording software solutions.

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Last Updated on July 1, 2024