ticket counter for virtual call queue

What Is Virtual Queueing, How Does It Work, and How Can It Benefit Your Call Center?

5 min to read · By Dale Holub

A customer calls your contact center. They hear the dreaded “Current wait time: 30 minutes.” But they can’t wait on the phone. They have work to do. Dinner’s on the stove. A kid needs a bandage. A dog needs to be walked.

There’s a solution: virtual queuing systems. A virtual call queue is a way to hold a customer’s place in line, guaranteeing they’ll be serviced when it’s their turn—which gives callers the freedom to do other tasks.

Virtual phone queues reduce the occurrence of abandoned calls, decrease customer frustration, increase first contact resolution, and combat spikes in call volumes.

Here’s an in-depth look at how virtual queue systems work, along with some of the major benefits that come with using this virtual queueing technology.

How does virtual queuing work?

Virtual queuing puts new callers in an automated phone queue if their call can’t be answered right away. The caller’s phone number and general reasons for the call are stored, and the caller is automatically called back in the near future when it’s their turn to speak with a representative.

Think of it as replacing “Please hold” with “We’ll call you back as soon as possible.”

The benefits of virtual call queuing solutions

There are plenty of benefits of virtual queuing systems that we’ll get into below, but certainly the biggest benefit for a business is cost savings. Read more on how virtual queuing saves money for your business.

Reduce the number of abandoned calls.

Have you ever been in a retail store with an abysmally long line at the checkout counter, and you decide to leave your items in the cart and walk away frustrated at the lack of service? That’s abandonment. In customer service, abandoned calls mean a customer left your phone queue because they were frustrated and didn’t want to wait—and 70% of consumers said they wouldn’t buy from a company with long customer service wait times.

And a customer that abandons a call is now a dissatisfied customer, which could lead to them having an unfavorable view of your business. In a global study, 34% of consumers say a poor customer service experience has led them to second guess purchases, with 19% saying they completely stopped spending after one bad experience.

Increase customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction and positive customer experiences are the biggest drivers for your call center. They increase loyalty, revenue, and reputation. High CSAT (customer satisfaction) scores are the lifeblood of any business. They’re an essential metric of customer loyalty and brand championing—both of which increase revenue.

With virtual queuing, satisfaction for the customer is achieved by giving them the freedom to spend their time as they wish—it puts the customer in control of their support. It’s important not to waste a customer’s time—over 50% of customers say hold times are their leading cause of frustration.

Virtual call queuing gives them the perception that there is “no time lost” in waiting for customer service.. A virtual waiting room gives the customer a sense that you care, even if you’re too busy to take their call right now.

For more on CSAT:

Reduce customer frustration.

Customer frustration is obviously bad, but the effects of customer frustration go beyond simple call abandonment. A frustrated customer is likely to leave your business after one bad experience—but more importantly, they’ll let others know about their experience.

In one study, it was found that 13% of people who experience poor customer service ends up telling 15 other people about it, and 49% of consumers relate their bad experiences through social media. Reducing customer frustration should be high on your CX priority list.

According to a psychological study on perceived versus actual wait times, unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time—for instance, if your customer is on hold with nothing but wait music, it will seem longer to them than if they had something to distract themselves during the wait.

Related: See how long customer should wait on hold and focus on the data.

Increase first contact resolutions.

First Contact Resolution (FCR) is a valuable metric that measures a call center’s efficiency in resolving a customer’s question or issue on their first call or contact. Typically, higher FCR rates translate into more satisfied customers and increased call center productivity.

Virtual queuing systems help customers (such as patients in an online queue system in the healthcare industry) to pass through a sequence of services without having to re-queue for each one—think of it as filling out one form instead of several when seeing a doctor.

With a best-in-class virtual queue platform like Mindful, customers entering the phone queue aren’t just names and numbers on a list. Instead, Mindful uses Mindful Scheduler and Handoff to collect customer data alongside their intent—the reason the customer is calling the business—so that calls are properly routed and agents are given the context they need to successfully resolve the customer’s call the first time.

Combat spikes in call volume.

Call centers will always face times of high call volume, and oftentimes that increase can be crippling.

However, virtual call queuing helps mitigate spikes in call volume.

One prime example occurred in 2020 as the Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOT) faced a 500% increase in call volume overnight as the COVID-19 pandemic led to soaring unemployment rates. Desperate callers couldn’t get the help they needed while case workers were stuck on the phone all day.

CTDOT turned to Mindful to implement a virtual queue solution — properly routing callers to the right department, providing guaranteed time slots for callers to talk about their case, and significantly reducing call center and agent overload.

For more: Read about how Mindful helped CDOT in our in-depth case study.

Summing up: Don’t waste your customers’ time or your money with outdated hold technology.

Every call center knows that hold time is a death knell. As the pioneer of virtual hold technology for the last two decades, Mindful is ready to help.

Mindful helps clients to create lasting brand loyalty, enabling over 300 of the world’s leading companies to increase their Net Promoter Scores among millions of consumers and help them generate millions of dollars in return on their investment. You can discover the benefits of Mindful’s virtual queuing systems and read about their success with airline queues here.

Save time and money, increase customer satisfaction and profitability, and reduce agent attrition by adopting a virtual queue management system, an easy and simple solution to long hold times.

Note: This article was originally published in October 2018 and has since been updated.

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