meter measuring ROI

The ROI of Virtual Queuing (and How to Measure It)

6 min to read · By Mindful

In 2021, Mindful saved callers 3.9 billion minutes of hold time. Add it up, and that’s roughly 7,420 years.

But giving callers back their precious time is far from the only benefit of reducing hold times with a virtual queue.

Time is money, which is especially true in the contact center environment.

While the average contact center in the U.S. receives around 4,400 calls per month, enterprise companies like Verizon can experience 5,800 calls per day in just one of their contact centers. Factor in agent payroll, toll fees, tech costs, center upkeep, and every operating minute can significantly impact a contact center’s bottom line. 

Businesses that use a virtual queue find an increase in contact center efficiency and customer satisfaction (CSAT)—all while reducing daily operating costs.

And rather than list a bunch of numbers to prove it, we’re going to break down exactly how you can measure this ROI in your contact center so you can see for yourself.

How virtual queuing increases profitability

A virtual queue—technology that lets callers save their spot in line until an agent is available to call them back—can help reduce costs and increase profitability in three key ways.

1. Increase contact center efficiency.

Virtual queues can help workforce managers effectively staff their contact centers for peak efficiency.

One of the most challenging aspects of contact center management is knowing how many agents are needed to effectively service callers at any given time. Too few agents during peak call times result in frustrated, churn-prone customers and high telephony fees. Too many agents during low call times result in idle agents and expensive payroll.

But when callers can choose to enter a virtual queue and receive an immediate callback or schedule one for the future, peak call times are smoothed out—making it easier for workforce managers to better forecast their staffing needs to accommodate for higher or lower call volumes.

This increased efficiency then creates a positive cycle. Callers are happier when they don’t have to wait on hold—leading to lower average handle times (AHT), higher first contact resolution rates (FCR), and higher customer satisfaction(CSAT) scores. This, in turn, boosts agent morale, leads to better engagement with callers, and lowers the risk of agent burnout and attrition.

For more: There are always more ways to improve operational efficiencies.

2. Reduce operational expenses.

Virtual queues also help reduce operational expenses, primarily in toll fees and agent payroll.

While toll-free numbers might be free for callers, they’re costly for contact centers. Toll fees continue to accrue regardless of whether your caller is speaking to an agent or waiting on hold. Even one minute of hold time can cause toll costs to shoot through the roof when a contact center deals with thousands of calls every day.

But when a customer can hang up the phone until it’s time for their callback, it eliminates those extra toll fees.

Or think of it this way: Deploying a virtual queue means companies no longer have to pay for callers to listen to their on-hold music loop for the tenth time.

Similarly, virtual queues can directly help reduce payroll costs. When managers can better forecast their staffing needs to accommodate for ASAP and scheduled callbacks, they no longer have to worry about understaffing or overstaffing their contact centers—leading to better customer service, less idle agent time, and a better-distributed workforce.

3. Increase customer satisfaction and retention.

Virtual queueing drastically improves the customer experience—increasing loyalty and retention.

According to Zendesk’s 2022 Customer Experience Report, 93% of consumers said they would spend more money with companies that offer their preferred way to contact customer service. And what is the most preferred method? Phone calls remain the top contender at 42% (followed by digital at 38% and email at 20%).

When you turn a typically frustrating experience—like waiting on hold—into an experience where the customer feels valued, you increase the likelihood that they’ll remain a loyal customer in the long run.

How to calculate the ROI of a virtual queue

Every tool you use in your contact center should contribute to your bottom line, and virtual queues and callback technology are no exception. To measure the ROI of your virtual queuing system, consider these three areas.

Factor #1: Monthly toll fees

Telecom companies charge businesses for toll-free numbers on a minute-by-minute basis. So, when a company reduces the time customers spend with the phone to their ears, they naturally see lower toll fees.

Say your business receives 10,000 calls per month and the average hold time for your callers is three minutes. That translates into 30,000 minutes of hold time. If your toll-free number costs you 15 cents per minute, you’re paying roughly $4,500 of toll fees each month—or $54,000 per year just for your hold times.

If 63% of customers (the average percentage of how many customers would rather receive a callback than wait on hold) skipped the hold altogether and opted for a callback, your business would save over $34,000 each year.

Factor #2: Average Handle Time

Average handle time (AHT) measures the amount of time agents spend on the phone with callers from start to finish. It encompasses talk time, wait time while the agent looks at the customer’s file, and wrap-up time. 

Here’s how to calculate AHT(Total talk time + total wait time + total wrap-up time) / total number of calls.

To see the ROI related to AHT, businesses need to place a monetary value on call efficiency and consider how a customer’s perception of a company plays a part in how long they’re on the phone with an agent.

Our data shows that customers who opt to receive a callback—rather than waiting on traditional hold—are more amicable in their interactions with customer service agents, leading to higher quality calls, quicker resolution, and higher customer satisfaction with your agents. This positive sentiment reduces AHT—meaning your callers move through queues faster because agents can handle more calls in the same amount of time.

For more: Download our free guide on call center metrics.

Factor #3: Staffing payroll

There are two primary ways contact centers lose money on account of staffing: Too many agents during low volume call times (resulting in higher payroll), or not enough agents during peak call times (resulting in negative customer experience).

Let’s say, before implementing a virtual queue, your contact center staffs 100 agents per shift to ensure you’re meeting your service level agreement during peak call times. If those 100 agents cost $21/hr, a single shift costs your business $16,800.

But when callers have the option of scheduling a call for later rather than waiting on hold, your virtual queue can distribute peak call times throughout the day. So instead of forecasting 100 agents, you might only need 80 agents during periods of high call volume and 60 agents during periods of low call volume.

80 agents x 4 hour shift x $21/hr = $6,720

60 agents x 4 hour shift x $21/hr = $5,040

That equals $11,760 per day compared to $16,800—a $5,040 difference in payroll per day

Summing up: Maximize efficiency with a virtual queue.

The results are in, and the data proves it: Implementing a virtual queue almost guarantees a massive boost to contact center efficiency, customer satisfaction, and contact center ROI.

Happy callers make for better engaged and more efficient agents. And when workforce managers can accurately forecast how many agents are needed at any given time to meet call volume demand and keep callers satisfied, you reduce the risk of agent attrition—saving your business untold hiring costs. 

For a best-in-class virtual queuing software, consider Mindful—the inventor of the virtual hold and industry leader in all things callback. With a suite of capabilities like Callback, Scheduler, Handoff, and Feedback, you can turn your contact center into an efficient, customer-satisfaction-generating machine that turns callers into loyal customers while increasing your bottom line.

Schedule a demo and get a free business review to see the ROI of Mindful’s virtual queueing in your contact center.

 

This article was originally published in March 2013 and has since been updated.

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