Estimated wait time is the average time it takes for a customer support agent to answer a call. It is the amount of time a customer waits in the queue before getting a response from an agent. It should be noted, that time spent on IVR/Voice Prompts is not considered within the estimated wait time.

As customer experience (CX) is emerging as the key competitive differentiator, many companies mark estimated wait time as a key metric of customer satisfaction. It’s our human nature that we want our queries to be resolved “instantly”. And thus businesses today are focusing and implementing multiple strategies to reduce average waiting time at a grand scale. Because an “instant customer service” always positively impacts customer satisfaction.

 

How increased call waiting time for customers can hit back a brand value

A major factor for long estimated wait time is call abandonment. This happens mainly when customers hang up the call even before get connected to an advisor.

As a result, the customer starts losing faith over the brand which adversely affects retention rate. According to a study of Consumer Reports, 75% of people feel “highly annoyed” when they couldn’t get a live agent on the phone after waiting for a reasonable amount of time. This is the major cause why most of the contact center with all its deployment, trying to keep estimated wait time to its minimal level.

Tracks to reduce estimated waiting time

Team efforts clubbed with enhanced product knowledge and technology, can reduce this waiting time significantly.

Adopting the appropriate call routing configuration

Contact centers regularly should make sure that their IVR system is performing in an optimized way. If the call routing system routes calls incorrectly, it will end up having a long waiting queue for customers. Also, the call center software should comply with features like solving certain manual and repetitive tasks accurately of its own. This will obviously reduce call volume for the support team and in turn, will reduce the waiting time for customers.

Conducting dedicated training sessions especially to reduce AHT

Operation team supervisors should arrange special training sessions with quality team, to curb AHT and increase FCR of the entire team. Firstly agents should possess deep product knowledge before they start sitting in the product bay. Simultaneously they should have sound knowledge of the tools they are using while handling customers. Also, the supervisors should identify the most common causes of increased AHT among agents. This will ultimately help them to find the product or service related glitches that are causing repetitive calls.

Easy access to Knowledge Base

A contact center should develop a detailed knowledge base for both its customer support agents and customers as well. Once customers get access to this knowledge base, it will encourage self-help among customers and will reduce call volume. And providing a rich source of information right on their fingertips will surely reduce average hold time and customers will get accurate answers to queries in a couple of minutes. To get the best from the knowledge base, it should be easily navigable and supervisors should update it in a regular interval.

Omni-channel based approach

Adopting omnichannel based customer support is another effective remedy to reduce estimated wait time for customers where each support channels are interconnected within themselves. Different support channels indeed have a different least-waiting timeframe. For example, chat and voice support generally comprises less waiting time compared to the first intimation that goes through e-mail support.

Omni-channel allows a customer to switch between different channels (like from chat to a voice call) without any interruptions or ending the conversation. So customers can easily change their mode of communication whenever they want without repeating the query. An ideal omnichannel based customer service also liberates agents to switch from one channel to another without ending a conversation with the customer.

Workforce management

Supervisors should manage the live agents’ number according to the average call volume of daily operation. First management should identify the most engaging hours of the day and deploy agents according to those working hours. Keeping more agents logged in during busy hours will reduce the estimated wait time significantly.

 

To get a real grip over estimated wait time for customers, contact centers should deploy the best fusion of these efforts smartly and in a customized way coupled with smart queue management system software.

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