Your customers live in a fast-paced, digital-first, instant-gratification society. If you’re not offering a virtual queue on your customer service and sales lines, then, quite frankly, you’re losing money.
A survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers by TCN Inc. found that when there’s a long wait time to speak to someone on your customer service team, 37% of respondents would prefer to be put in a virtual queue and called back when an agent is available, compared with 24% who would continue to wait on hold.
In our 25 years of experience, we find time and time again that customers are willing to withstand 300% more wait time in a virtual queue than being on hold while still being a promoter.
Virtual queuing helps your team deliver a high-quality support experience for customers. This turns into real-time savings for your business and can deliver a boost to your bottom line by improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
1. Virtual queues save costs spent dealing with repeat callers.
You’re going to get repeat callers. It’s par for the course of contact centers. But when that repeat caller dials in, treating them with a virtual queue could mean the difference of thousands of dollars to your bottom line.
Every time a caller dials in and waits on hold, it tallies up toll fees with your telephony providers. Multiply that by thousands of calls, and that tallies up to a LOT of money—especially if you have long hold times.
The cost to your infrastructure is burdensome, but repeat callers that are upset will sap your human resources as well. Having perfected callback for over 25 years, we know angry and annoyed customers will spend an average of two additional minutes venting about their issue—which adds crucial handling time to your calls.
Operationally, repeat callers are also a resource-drainer for your agents. When callers are placed on hold, five percent hang up immediately, and 28% hang up in five minutes. While that’s only a small percentage, that can be a significant time drain for your support team when you consider how many customer calls they handle every day.
From working with our clients, we’ve found that 35% of callers using Mindful won’t abandon a call or become repeat callers because they don’t have to wait on hold—they can use a virtual queue instead.
Worried about the cost? The ROI of virtual queueing has been time tested and proven.
2. Virtual queues reduce call transfers when they start digitally.
When a customer gets through to one of your support agents, that person may not be in the right department or have the right level of experience to solve the problem or resolve the complaint. More often than not, your agent will need to transfer them to the right place. Invoca found that 79% of consumers were transferred between departments at least once when they called a business between March 2020 and March 2021.
But transferring customers between different departments takes up a lot of time and upsets customers—68% of customers are annoyed when their call is transferred between departments, and 33% of customers hate having to repeat themselves to multiple support agents.
Get the customer into the right queue by starting with digital scheduling, like our virtual queuing software which “eliminated over 1.1 billion minutes of hold time” by allowing customers to request a callback, either as soon as an agent became available or on a day and time of their choosing.
By starting online with the call request, brands can ask customers some starter information—what issue they need help with, if it’s an open case, tied to a purchase—and funnel the customer into the right queue from the start. And, since it’s a virtual queue, their “hold” time turns into free time, aligning the stars for a near-perfect customer interaction.
3. Virtual queues save money—and make money!—by improving customer satisfaction and retention.
A frustrated customer is rarely a repeat customer, which means your business misses out on the revenue from a long-term customer relationship. A negative support experience—such as long hold times or being unable to speak to a support agent at all—can break down that customer relationship. According to PwC, “32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience,” which shows just how important it is to deliver a great customer support experience.
Virtual queues change the customer’s perception of their wait time because, while they still have to wait 17 minutes to speak to someone, they don’t have to actively be on the phone. It turns a negative (waiting on hold) into a positive (they’ll call back when I ask them to), making them feel empowered and valued by your company.
TCN Inc. found that “companies that prioritize good customer service are likely to be rewarded by consumers with increased brand loyalty and positive online reviews.” Providing efficient customer service that prioritizes the customer experience can help turn a customer who’s on the verge of leaving you back into an engaged, loyal customer.
From speaking with our customers, we see how virtual queuing helps reduce customer frustration. Erin Badger, Contact Center Agent at First Energy, explained, “Customers who opt for [Mindful’s virtual queue] are not nearly as annoyed or angry. They have had time to focus on something other than waiting.”
4. Virtual queues reduce hiring costs by improving agent efficiency.
Average speed to answer (ASA) is the average amount of time it takes for a support agent to answer a customer call, including time spent waiting on hold. ASA is a key success metric for call centers and support teams—especially if you have SLAs in place legally requiring your ASA to be under a specific threshold. If companies are working to improve their ASA, the simplest solution is to hire more support agents—which is the most expensive piece of the puzzle.
Using virtual queuing is another way to improve your ASA. A virtual queue gives customers an alternative to waiting on hold, so instead of waiting on hold for a long time, the customer leaves their details and receives a callback when a support agent is available or at the time they requested. And for customers that do wait on hold, wait times are shorter.
Virtual queues help your support team hit their ASA targets without needing to hire additional support agents, saving the company a lot of FTE money.
5. Virtual queues reduce turnover costs by creating a calmer work environment.
Virtual queues can help to create a calmer work environment for your support agents. Virtual queuing gives customers back the time they’d otherwise spend on hold, so they’re calmer once they get on the phone with your agents. Creating a positive environment can help improve employee retention in your support department.
Zendesk found that in 2020, support teams were busier than ever, with support requests increasing by 20% since the start of the pandemic. For support agents, that had a negative impact on their work environment, as “68% of agents reported feeling overwhelmed.”
Dealing with an increased call volume means heavier workloads for your support agents and longer hold times for your customers. But long hold times mean angry customers, which creates an even worse work environment for your agents.
One of our clients, Connecticut Department of Labor, experienced a 500% increase in case loads at the beginning of COVID, and case workers were crushed in calls. When they were scrambling just to answer relentless phone calls every day, you can imagine how angry their callers were. Implementing Mindful’s callback created expected time slots for case filers, and gave similar expectations to case workers who could go home on schedule for the first in months.
Summing up: Virtual queuing prioritizes the customer support experience.
When faced with long wait times, customers would prefer to wait in a virtual queue over waiting on hold or calling back later. That’s because a virtual queue gives your customer back the thing they value most: their time. No one likes to wait on hold—so instead of being tethered to a phone, they get their time back and, with it, a sense of control over their support request.
Virtual queues provide a positive, customer-centric support experience that can boost your company’s bottom line by improving customer retention and reducing customer churn. They can also save your support agents time they’d otherwise lose juggling multiple calls at once or routing calls between different departments.
How much are dropped calls and dissatisfied customers costing your business every year? Taking customer preferences and the time and cost benefits into account, virtual queuing is an investment well worth making.