Does anyone really believe queue messages which repeat ‘your call is important to us…’?
We have all heard it, in between short snatches of tuneless elevator music, while waiting for our call to be answered.
Most of the time we are trying to either pay a bill or resolve an issue that’s important to us, and have limited spare time available. In the contact centre industry these announcements are called ‘comfort messages’, but are they actually providing comfort to the caller?
Maybe, if the message is played just once and the call is answered promptly, we accept the message as being sincere.
Too often it is played repeatedly, every thirty seconds or so on an endless loop – if we have called at a busy time we could be forced to listen to it many, many, times. In these instances, it is understandable that the caller feels irritated by the time an agent answers. In the worst cases, the contact centre agent will have to placate the caller, wasting valuable time that could be spent answering further calls.
Is it time to dispense with these comfort messages? We can certainly provide a much better service for the caller with a range of other options.
5 Alternatives to ‘Your Call Is Important To Us’
1. Expected Delay
One of the simplest alternatives is to tell the caller the expected delay. This doesn’t have to be a totally accurate figure and it is best to be cautious with the time provided. It is counter-productive to tell the caller that there will be a ten minute delay when in reality it is closer to twenty. When given this information, the caller can decide whether they want to continue to hold, or call again at a more convenient time.
2. Quiet Times
All contact centres have periods of the day where the call volumes are much lower, and a message can be added directing callers to these quiet periods.
Mentioning the quiet times is always a more positive message than suggesting avoiding the busy periods.
Your website, web chat, Facebook and Twitter are all common tools for customer service.
If you use these, then think about directing callers to them in your comfort messages. Customers might not be aware they can have their query answered via these channels so it’s a good promotion tool too.
4. Position in Queue
If you have a call centre where all calls are dealt with on a first come, first served basis without any call prioritisation, you could consider telling the caller their position in the queue.
This can be perceived negatively, especially if the queue size is large, but from the caller’s perspective they can hear that they are progressing through the queue. It helps to set the expectation of when the call is going to be answered.
A popular way to keep callers happy is by using callbacks.
The caller’s position in the queue can be preserved, or the contact centre can choose to complete callbacks during quieter periods.
You could use a mix, or even all of these options. The added bonus is that they can help to reduce your call costs, especially if you are using a Freephone number, and will also reduce the peaks in calls.
But the biggest benefit is that any of these options will improve your customer service by showing your customer that they are important to you, rather than just telling them (repeatedly).