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8 Ways to Reduce Call Hold Times at Your Business

by Joe DeBari

Don't make callers wait on hold for too long! Implement these solutions to keep your call hold times short.

Sixty-six percent of customers are only willing to wait on hold for two minutes. Thirty-four percent who hang up before reaching an agent will never call back (How Long Is Too Long On Hold). Stats abound that stress how critical it is to your business to keep call hold times as short as possible.

But how do you do so? Here are eight practical solutions that can help keep call wait times down.

1. Schedule Cross-Department or All-Hands Conference Calls to Pass Along Updated Product Info

When a new update for your product is released, or new features are rolled out, make sure that your call agents are kept informed and up to speed with the changes. If they aren’t, it will take much longer to resolve callers’ questions (not to mention the long periods of time they will leave callers on hold for) since they have to track down the people who can provide the answers.

Have your engineering or software development teams schedule meetings for the whole company where they demo the new products or features that are soon to be released. Or, have the heads of your engineering, sales, support, and marketing departments hold recurring meetings where information is passed and questions asked. That way, your call agents can know the ins and outs of the product and can use their knowledge to address callers’ issues without having to say, “I don’t know the answer to that. Can I place you on hold while I find out?”

2. Equip Each Call Agent With Access to Your Business’s Support Software

Empower each agent by giving her access to the entire cloud tech stack (the software, admin portals, CRM platforms, and support ticketing systems, etc.) that your business uses. This way, she can utilize all of these tools when troubleshooting issues with customers. Instead of having to place the caller on hold and work with a colleague to retrieve information from a certain database, an agent can get the info she needs on her own and quickly pass it along to the caller.

3. Set Up CRM Integrations to Auto-Complete Simple Ticketing Tasks

If your business uses a hosted VoIP service, set up any of the CRM integrations that are available to you.

  • A HubSpot integration can match an incoming caller with her HubSpot record and automatically present it on your call agent’s screen. With the record in front of him, the agent can greet the caller by name and immediately get into her issue.
  • A Zendesk integration can automatically create a Zendesk ticket, assign it to the call agent, and display it on his screen when he answers an incoming call. The ticket comes pre-populated with key info (the ticket number, date and time of the call, etc.) so he doesn’t have to spend call time manually creating the ticket and typing in the data.

Integrations such as these can handle basic housekeeping tasks, enabling your agents to complete calls quicker and move onto the next ones in the ACD queue.

Screenshot of OnSIP's HubSpot integration in the OnSIP app.
OnSIP's HubSpot integration matches a caller with his CRM record, saving your agent time from having to manually search for it.

4. Implement Skill-Based Routing to Solve Callers’ Issues on First Contact

Skill-based routing is a call strategy that matches a caller with an agent who is best suited to address his questions or issues—think a Spanish-speaking caller who is connected with a Spanish-speaking call agent. By implementing this routing feature in your business phone system, you can ensure that the caller only has to speak with one agent, one time, to have his issue resolved. You can also settle the caller’s issue on the first contact, allowing your agents to expeditiously move through the calls waiting on hold in the queue.

5. Offer Multi-Channel Support

In addition to phone support, offer your customers and leads other ways to contact your business. From chatbots on your website, support ticket submissions through your service’s admin portal, and a responsive presence on your social media pages, giving your customers a variety of contact channels will help to keep the number of people calling in and waiting on hold to a minimum.

OnSIP has a unique voice and video chat solution—sayso—that enables visitors to your business website to have real-time conversations with your agents. By clicking on sayso on your site, the visitor can get on a voice or video call with an agent straight through her web browser window without adding to the wait times in your ACD queue.

Screenshot of sayso voice and video chat panel on a website page.
Customers who contact your support team using sayso on your website won't be adding to the line in your ACD queue.

6. Create a Knowledgebase and Keep It Up to Date

Create a detailed knowledgebase that covers all aspects of your product or service, and make it accessible from your main website. And whenever updates are released or new features added, edit the corresponding Knowledgebase articles so they remain accurate.

With an up-to-date Knowledgebase, customers who are the do-it-yourself type can answer their own questions by consulting the specific article they need. They won’t be calling in—adding to the queue line and taking up your call agents’ time—since they can get all of the answers they are looking for in your how-to articles.

7. Review Queue Reporting to Uncover Areas of Improvement

Through your business’s phone service, you should have access to detailed reports covering your call queue’s historical stats and trends. These reports provide key topline numbers like average call hold time, maximum call hold time, and average call duration (average time on a call with a caller) for each agent in the queue.

Review these reports regularly to pinpoint areas that need improvement. For example, if a particular agent has a long average call duration time, follow up with that employee. It may be beneficial to provide him with more training or review his call recordings to suggest how he could have handled calls differently. By acting on the data found in these reports, you can improve your business operations by ensuring that agents are efficient in handling support calls.

Two colleagues in a meeting.
Act on the data in your queue reports to follow up with call agents who may need more training or further guidance.

8. Use Announcements to Notify Callers of Long Call Waiting Times

Finally, there will be times when you are bombarded with a barrage of calls and your call hold time will be much longer than you want! In these cases, it’s best to be forthright with your callers and inform them of the situation. You can record an announcement that advises callers of the long wait times and have it play before a new caller is added to the queue. That way, the person knows from the start that they will be waiting on hold for a while until they speak with a representative. It may also convince callers who don’t have an urgent issue to hang up and try calling back at a later time.

Keep Your Call Hold Time Down With These Solutions

From skill-based routing to CRM integrations to multi-channel support, implement the above solutions at your business to keep call wait times low!

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