Contact Center Callbacks – The Whys and Why Nots

In the course of my consulting travels, I always get asked the question, “Do I offer my customers callbacks?”

My answer is typically, “It depends.” It depends on what you are striving to accomplish. You might be striving for truth, justice and customer loyalty, but it is a tool that could derail the customer experience and your contact center just like Kryptonite did Superman!

The best way to see if the callback shoe fits is to understand what a callback is and to answer the question – “why or why not implement?”

A callback is a feature which provides the customer the option to receive a callback versus waiting in queue. Sounds like a great service right? Right. Check out the whys and why not’s before you decide:

Why Callbacks?

  • Callbacks provide a good, situational value proposition to the customer if they choose not to hold in queue for the next available agent. Offering it over a short two-hour window to cover an unanticipated spike might be a good start.
  • Callbacks may reduce abandon rates and save a customer. Instead of the customer hanging up and going to your competitor, the customer opts for a callback and you might keep that customer.
  • Callbacks may reduce agent idle time. Agents can be scheduled for callbacks and receive callbacks if they are idle and not receiving inbound ACD calls.
  • Calllbacks might save on your telecom costs. If the customer calls toll free, you are on the hook for the charges as long as they continue to hold or hang up and callback again and again until they reach an agent.
  • Callbacks might reduce call volume during certain periods of your operational hours – in turn, it might improve your service levels in the short run.

Why not Callbacks?

  • Callbacks are not a cure for a shortage on staffing. It is a short-term solution. Better forecasting, additional staffing and improved scheduling are the long-term solution.
  • Callbacks are not the way to drive contact center efficiencies. If the customer opts for a callback and is not connected promptly to an agent in the order the call was received, that callback may compound into additional contacts through other channels (mail, email, chat) for the same customer transaction.
  • Callbacks should not be offered at all hours. You are simply telling the customer you can’t talk to them at their convenience and they might decide to go elsewhere where they can get the same product or service at their select time.

For more information on callback best practices, see my recent whitepaper, “Best Practices in Customer
Callback Strategy Design and Implementation.”

How do you use callbacks? If you would like to share your experiences with me, I will share those scenarios in a future blog.

Stay tuned! Thanks for reading!


Todd Marthaler

Todd Marthaler

I am a 20 year veteran of the contact center field and a Contact Center Strategic Consultant with Interactive Intelligence since April 2013. Before joining Interactive, I was a business analyst and client services manager for a top Interactive Intelligence partner. I’ve managed several multichannel and multi-site contact center operations with Fortune 500 Companies in the retail, hospitality, utility, and service verticals. I have a passion for positioning the companies I service to deliver the ultimate customer experience. I also have expertise in IVR and call flow design, workforce management Implementation, workflow optimization, operations management, quality assurance and voice of the customer programs. In addition to speaking and consulting engagements, I frequently write for Contact Center Pipeline, present at partner events and deliver educational webinars. I’ve been an active member of ICMI and SOCAP. I hold a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in Journalism and a master’s certificate from St. Catherine’s University in Organizational Leadership.