3 great tips to help reduce call queue times

time clock

Queue times are one of the most complained about issues regarding call centres, and can have a negative impact on businesses.

There are lots of ways to help reduce queue times but here are our top three tips:


  1. Offer call-backs

One way to help reduce queue times is to offer a ‘call-back’. Customers can either choose to stay on the line and wait in the queue, or receive a call-back when they have reached the front of the queue or at a specific hour chosen by the customer.

By making this offer to customers, the queue time will be reduced for those that do not wish to have a call-back.

It can also have an impact of the length of the phone calls, as less time is spent complaining about queue times (by the customer) and less time apologising and explaining the situation (by the call operator).

The most important thing to remember when offering a call-back is to make sure they actually happen, and also at the correct time they were promised. If call-backs don’t happen, or if they come through much later than the customer expected, this could have a negative effect on your business.

A survey by Forrester of over 1,500 customers showed that 75% would accept a call-back from a company, rather than sit waiting in a queue. This shows that if you were to start using this service, you wouldn’t be wasting your time.

  1. Br prepared for high demand periods

Many call centres experience a surge in calls at particular times, for example after the weekend or after a bank holiday.

It is well worth analysing your data to determine these periods of high demand. This allows you to be well prepared for these times in the future by employing extra staff.

  1. Time shifting

During the day, a call centre usually experiences busier periods and times that are much quieter. Similarly to the previous tip, they may also experience busier times on different days or at different times of the year.

A great tip to get the best out of these times is to time shift, which basically means using the quieter times more efficiently, which will help prevent long queues arising.

An example of how this can be done is to offer call backs which will cut down queue times in the busier periods, and then make the call backs in the quieter periods.

This technique can be very cost effective, as less staff are required for the busier periods.

Some other tips to reduce queue times:

  • Add key information to the queue message. This works well when you know the reason for a spike in calls, like for specific periods such as the tax season. Having the message “tax forms will be sent out on xx” included could answer many caller’s questions.
  • Add wait time to the queue message. Telling the customer how long they should expect to be queuing can help in a number of ways. Firstly, it prepares the customer which can help to reduce irritation and frustration with long waits. It also allows the customer to assess whether or not their query is worth the wait. In addition to the wait time, adding further advice in the queue message such as ‘send us an email’ or ‘visit our FAQ page’ can be helpful as it gives the customer more options.

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