Is ‘Call Back’ Right for Your Contact Center

Shot of a young woman using a digital tablet while talking on the phone at a cafehttp://

Today, I had to call a government agency to help me solve an issue. Past experiences had me realistically concerned that I would be stuck on hold for an eternity.  To my pleasant surprise, my call was immediately put into the queue, and I was asked instead of holding if I would like a call back in 30 to 45 minutes. The chat bot also assured me that I would not lose my place in the queue if I chose a call back. I responded with a simple, “yes”.

The system recognized my phone number and requested a confirmation from me that this was the best number for a return call—to which I said yes and then hung up.  Precisely, 35 minutes later I received a call back with an automated message alerting me that a representative would assist me in less than six minutes.

Three minutes later, Betsy joined the line, providing me with her name and employee number and then proceeded to provide me exceptional service.

Now let me tell you, if I had sat on the phone for 30-45 minutes, I would have been pulling my hair out. I am pretty sure most people would have too if they even lasted half that long.  The fact the agency realized that their callers are busy and might want a call back option demonstrates that they understand that people have better things to do than wait on the line for service.

However, the real outcome of this in my opinion is that when I was connected to the agent, she was very attentive.  I never had the impression that she was in a hurry or knew that because of the time she spent with me there was another caller on the line who would be frustrated with the wait times. Rather, she focused on resolving my needs.

In my opinion, the agency handled this right from start to finish by:

  • Giving me a control and a choice.
  • Setting accurate and clear expectations.
  • Providing great customer services

This is truly the experience that any customer needs and deserves.  And, technology was an enabler for this experience to meet my needs.

Now that we understand the experience, let’s talk about some of the operational considerations that any contact center manager should ask themselves before deploying this option:

  • Do you have the staff to handle call back capability? Start by analyzing your workforce management reports and historical data.  It will show when there are gaps in handling the interaction activity.  You will want to ensure that your staff is in compliance in taking the interactions when assigned.  If you have compliance than review your interaction volume trends and compare to staffing.  You may need to move staff around in order to facilitate the peeks.  There can be many factors that drive the root cause.  Reviewing your data and speaking to your leaders and front line staff are all key to solving these.
  • Are you meeting service levels consistently? If not, this may not be the best approach as it could just compound the problem of responsiveness. Again, review your reports to determine if you are meeting your services level targets for calls, callback, chats, emails or other interaction methods that your center may provide.  If there is an area where you are missing, determine why and address that first.  You may also want to review trends throughout the day which will provide you a clearer picture of the root cause for missing the service level. Many times your issue with staffing levels may also be driving your service levels problem.
  • What’s your forecasting and scheduling plan? The contact center will want to be careful how they forecast and schedule with callbacks in order not to double count.  If this is the approach the contact center will want to forecast for that “media type”.
  • Are your agents trained and knowledgeable and in a position to resolve your customer’s needs? The key remains that the representative focuses on understanding the questions from the caller and answers them fully, preventing future calls.

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Pamela Jo Hynes

Pamela Jo Hynes

Pamela Jo Hynes is a recognized leader in customer engagement backed by nearly thirty years of experience in customer enablement, product implementation and support, and customer account management. During her career, Hynes has consistently driven success by always considering the customer’s perspective first. Her motto: “What would you want if you were the customer?” Currently as Vice President of Client Success at Indiana-based Interactive Intelligence, she is responsible for ensuring that customers receive exceptional value and return on investment from the company’s customer engagement, communications and collaboration software and cloud services. She leads a team focused on increasing the success of product deployments, managing ongoing customer engagement and education programs, and upholding the company’s commitment to providing world-class customer support and services. In 2013 Hynes was recognized by the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) with an Impact Award for leading outstanding customer experience initiatives in her role at Interactive Intelligence. Previously, Hynes served in a variety of customer-facing roles for software development companies. She is on the board of directors for Connect2Help, an Indiana-based community resource that connects people to service providers.