We’ve all heard the saying ‘time is money’. Time is the one thing we can’t get back and we can’t get more of, so it’s easy to understand why the last thing we’d want is for someone else to waste it.
When it comes to customer service and customer experience (CX), time is the one aspect that your customers value the most – and one they are truly unforgiving about. Over 50% of customers think long wait times are the most frustrating aspects of a bad experience. Why does this matter, you ask?
With more than one-third of customers willing to stop doing business with a brand they love after one bad experience, it’s easy to understand why respecting your customers’ time should be a top priority for your business. Getting it right, the first time (and quickly) is the only option if you want to see your customer loyalty increase and your customer churn decrease.
But how long is too long for a customer to wait? Not long at all. Across most channels, including webchat and email, customer expectations of an immediate response (i.e., within five minutes) have drastically increased in the past year: webchat saw an increase of 21%, reaching nearly 43% in 2020, while email’s response expectations grew by 45%. For voice and video calls, 33% of customers expect an immediate response.
With customer requirements growing and their patience decreasing, it’s time for your business to employ the right solution to cope with these changes. Stop leaving your customers waiting and respect their time with these five key features to help you improve your CX.
Respect your customers’ time with these 5 features
Advanced queue management
Respecting customers’ time starts with properly managing your queues. Regardless of how efficient your customer service is, it’s almost impossible to get rid of waiting times completely, all the time. Queue management is about how to improve your customer waiting time, in order to turn an unbearable experience into a decent one (we won’t go as far as to say that waiting is ever pleasant!).
A solution offering an advanced queue management system, with a complete set of tools, will help your customer feel more at ease and less frustrated while waiting – ultimately improving your CX and your customer retention.
Queue and wait time announcements
Imagine being at a store to buy a new shirt. You find the one you like and head over to the cash register, only to realise the queue is longer than you expected. It looks like you’ll have to wait at least 15 minutes, but unfortunately, you must head back home for an important call, so you decide to leave and come back another time.
When calling a business, customers want to have the same freedom and knowledge. Yet too often they just end up waiting on hold, without a realistic understanding of how long it will be until an agent will help them.
Queue and wait time announcements are an invaluable feature to ensure your customers don’t enter your queue ‘blindfolded’. By realistically letting them know how long they’ll have to wait, you give them the freedom to decide whether that fits their schedule and will show them that you fully respect their time.
Call back and call slots
The sad reality is that customers aren’t always in a position to wait in a queue to speak to a customer service agent. When your business doesn’t address this issue, the result is many frustrated customers who believe you don’t care about their time and schedules.
Assessing a caller’s position in the queue and announcing their estimated wait time is not enough if you’re not going to do anything to improve their experience. By offering the caller the option of a call back if the wait time is too long, you give them back that perceived freedom they demand and appreciate. Selected call back time slots are an even better option to provide a more flexible experience for your customers.
Getting through the queue doesn’t mean that your customers don’t have to wait anymore. Too often your agents aren’t trained, equipped, or simply they aren’t the right person to deal with a customer problem. The last thing you want is to put your customers through more waiting, hoping their call will finally be transferred to the right agent. As a matter of fact, 68% of customers find it annoying to have their calls transferred to a new agent.
In a perfect world, the agent who picks up your customer query is the best one to solve their issue. With a solution offering intelligent routing, on hold time and transferred calls are a thing of the past. Intelligent routing assigns each customer interaction to the best agent either based on their skills or on the last agent your customer had spoken to on previous occasions.
Just like customers shouldn’t enter a queue ‘blindfolded’, agents shouldn’t enter an interaction without the right information to help the customer. When your agents don’t have the right customer historical data, your customers have to repeat themselves, get frustrated, and eventually take their business elsewhere. On the other hand, agent productivity deteriorates, and their frustration also increases, making them less likely to provide a better experience to the customer.
This is CRM integration is vital to the modern customer communications solution. CRM integration allows the contact centre agent to quickly find contact information and contact history, so that they can better assist your customers having all necessary data at hand. This not only saves time, but also provides a more personalised experience for your customers – a key element to great CX in today’s digital age.
Respecting customer time and schedule should be a top priority for your business CX strategy. Shorter wait times not only benefit your customers and keep them happy, but they also hugely benefit your business. More than half of customers are willing to pay more for a speedy and efficient experience – this means your business revenue could increase by implementing the right solution featuring all the features we’ve listed above.