Queues and the Rule of Six – Lee Mansell of TeleWare looks at the very British queue and how we can make sure that customers don’t get frustrated when waiting to talk to someone.
British people are famous for their queuing skills. We’re happy to line up at ticket offices, the bank, the post office, or wherever there’s a place to wait in an orderly fashion. However, recent research suggests that we’re a little more discerning about how we queue than at first glance.
Research carried out by Professor Adrian Furnham, professor of psychology at University College London, has found that the Rule of Six plays quite a large role in our queueing habits. It’s generally considered that people will only wait for six minutes before becoming impatient. Likewise, customers can be reluctant to join a queue if there are more than six people in it.
Of course, this is a simplification. But the point still stands. If the queue is moving slowly and there’ll be a wait of more than a few minutes, we’re unlikely to join. If there are a lot of people in front of us and not many behind, we’ll become impatient faster. So, it’s important to manage the queue appropriately. This is just as true for waiting on the phone for a call centre to answer your query as it is to send those late Christmas cards. Managing inbound calls effectively can mean the difference between making money and losing it.
We therefore need to keep the rules of the queue in mind. Flexible call management solutions will allow companies to scale the number of workers to answer increased demand. If call volumes decrease, the same solutions will allow us to reduce operators to make sure time and money isn’t lost with staff waiting at silent phones. Cloud based call management solutions allow further flexibility as the operators don’t have to be in the same location. As well as keeping staff connected, single number solutions and IVR(Interactive Voice Response) can help to ensure that callers are less likely to go to voicemail or be placed in a queue unnecessarily.
Each company and customer is different. While the Rule of Six will apply in most cases, it’s also important to understand how your customer experience is unique. Acting on a constant analysis of your calls will allow you to fine-tune your call management. This will help to ensure that your customers aren’t waiting too long.
British people are famous for being able to queue. However, we’re also famous for complaining about queuing. By making sure you have the right software and the right analytics, companies can make the wait a pleasant experience, rather than a painful one.
TeleWare’s Top Tips for Managing Calls
1. Keep clients informed about where they are in the queue and how long they may still have to wait.
2. Make sure there’s enough staff to answer high call volumes, but not so many they’re sitting idle in off-peak times.
3. Take a tip from Disney – they make the queue part of the ride by keeping guests entertained from the minute they step in line.
4. Record, replay and revamp – keep your call management systems fresh and make sure you make changes based on feedback and analysis.
5. Be contactable wherever you are and on the same number – the best queue is no queue.
Lee Mansell is Product Manager at TeleWare
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