Your Customers Hate Long Wait Times – Here’s How to Address Them


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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Long hold times are the number one customer service complaint. Here are five ways to make this issue a thing of the past.

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Your Customers Hate Long Wait Times – Here’s How to Address Them
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44% of customers would rather clean a bathroom for half an hour than spend 30 minutes on hold with customer service. This statistic remains true, even in an age where consumers have multiple options for communication and connection with your customer service team. It isn’t an exaggeration to say long hold times can kill your customer’s experience and it’s vital to find effective solutions to minimize this problem.

Customer satisfaction decreases and hold time increases

The modern contact center is about more than just voice calls, yet waiting in any instance continues to dissatisfy your customers. One global survey found waiting on hold when calling a company was top of the list for poor customer service, so it’s essential that contact center managers and supervisors act to ensure they don’t become a problem.

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How to reduce hold time in your contact center

Eliminating hold time in contact centers is probably a goal too far, but there are many ways you can reduce your average call waiting time. The following techniques can help to improve your service level without expecting the impossible from your contact center staff.

1. Improve your self-service offering

Self-service options have advanced significantly since the days of three options where  none met the requirements of the customer. A well designed and tech-led self-service menu can guide your customers effectively to the information they need, often much more quickly than waiting for an agent to answer their call. Good self-service options should make it easy for people to resolve the most basic and common issues themselves, and this will instantly reduce call volume and hold times.

2. Utilize call-back and virtual queuing services

If you want to minimize the frustration customers feel at long wait times, implement call-back options. Call-backs or virtual queuing services utilize a bot that waits in line rather than the caller having to remain on hold. This means callers don’t need to stay on the phone and will be contacted the second their place in the queue is close.

Call-back services can also be integrated via other communications channels and media. Your website can incorporate a call-back request form for example, rather than customers being directed to your customer services contact center number and joining the back of the queue.

3. Optimize your IVR and call-routing

Consumers know that a phone call can be the quickest way to resolve their issues, but wait times can put them off, especially if your IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is slow, clunky, and confusing. Investing in your IVR is a vital step in improving customer call experiences and minimizing the chance of call abandonment.

IVRs are commonly cited as one of the most annoying things about ringing a call center. They can be frustrating and routing systems may not be efficient or effective enough to ensure customers actually speak to the people they need to. Optimizing your IVR means regularly testing it and ensuring customers calls are routed as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

4. Empower and strengthen your contact center team

Experienced and knowledgeable agents are vital to a successful contact center. Investing in your people and ensuring they feel empowered and able to find solutions they believe will work can be important in helping to keep those wait times down. An unmotivated and apathetic workforce won’t be concerned if the wait times are excessive, so you need to give them a reason to care.

It ‘s also important to populate your contact center with the specialist agents you need to satisfy your customers’ queries. Your IVR will automatically route calls to the right specialist teams, but to further enhance your team and your contact center’s functionality, consider cross-functional specialist training.

Cross training agents across different specialisms removes those frustrating moments where a caller has to be passed from agent to agent looking for the right expert. Cross-functional specialists minimize the need to keep callers waiting for even longer as you seek out the most experienced agent.

5. Implement predictive modelling and AI effectively

Contact center software is more sophisticated and gathers more data than ever before. This data can be analyzed and utilized to help plan and predict future call volumes. While this technology is quite new, predictive modelling can help contact center managers predict fluctuations in demand, identify common patterns in calls, and ensure the staffing levels meet the requirements to keep wait times to an absolute minimum.

Artificial intelligence technology is also advancing IVR in a way that means human agents can focus their energies on customer calls, while easy solutions can be dealt with via online means, such as advanced chat bots.

Making long wait times a thing of the past

Contact centers have battled with the problem of long hold times since their inception. As technologies get more sophisticated, consumers still have a desire to connect with another human when resolving product and service-related issues. Giving them this opportunity shouldn’t involve excessive wait times, and utilizing the latest technologies available and empowering your people to provide more comprehensive and all-round solutions may be the key to minimizing excess wait times for good.

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RingCentral, Inc. (NYSE: RNG) is a global provider of cloud enterprise unified communications and collaboration solutions. More flexible and cost-effective than legacy on-premise systems, RingCentral empowers today’s mobile and distributed workforces to be connected anywhere and on any device through voice, video, team messaging, collaboration, SMS, conferencing, online meetings, contact center, and fax. RingCentral provides an open platform that integrates with today’s leading business apps while giving customers the flexibility to customize their own workflows.


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