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3 ways to reduce contact centre wait times and build customer loyalty

Raffaele Ferrara Product Marketing Manager at Odigo

Reducing contact centre wait times is foundational to improving customer experience (CX). Customers are abandoning brands that fail to respect their time, and switching to companies that find ways to continuously reduce contact centre wait times. Deploying the right solutions positions contact centres to gain new customers and build lasting loyalty.


It’s 6:00 in the evening, after customer service hours, when Joanna runs into a problem. She spends two hours trying to solve it herself while her frustration mounts. First thing in the morning she calls customer service only to hit peak call traffic. As she waits she posts about her experience on Facebook. Dozens of followers read her negative opinions.

Mark is waiting for an agent. He’s already spent two minutes answering repetitive automated questions and has run out of patience. As the minutes drag on, he googles a competitor and finds an offer that interests him.

Sophie has a simple question. She has recently experienced a long wait time and decides that this time trying to reach an agent isn’t worth it. She quietly changes brands.

How can contact centre managers turn customer service from a pain point into an opportunity to create value? Here are three ways to reduce contact centre wait times and provide the level of service that customers expect.

How AI helps reduce contact centre wait times

Joanna’s issue turned out to be a common one that could have been solved in seconds, but with customer service unavailable she had no way of knowing that. If the contact centre had deployed a 24-hour, AI-powered chat option, she could have solved her problem on the spot. A well-designed conversational agent answers simple questions like Joanna’s quickly and also discerns when an issue may be more complex. In that case, the AI directs customers to an agent or schedules an automated call at a convenient time.

AI also smooths the process of reaching a human agent. The moment that a customer reaches a contact centre, AI begins gathering data. Who is calling? What products or services does this customer use? What issues has this customer recently inquired about on this or other channels? Have those issues been resolved? Automation-based qualification identifies callers and their needs quickly, reducing wait time, transfers, and overall call time

Improved routing can further reduce wait times in your contact centre

There’s a reason why Mark has been on hold so long, and it’s connected with the automated questions that he found so frustrating. The contact centre Mark is calling has out-of-date qualification and routing systems that failed to understand his needs. Mark is in a long queue waiting for a specialised agent when his issue could be solved at any time by a more generalised agent.

Contextual routing leverages information gathered in the qualification stage to ensure each caller reaches the agent (human or automated) best able to meet their needs. It does this with a minimum of repetitive questions which tested Mark’s patience. And it provides agents with access to customer data, leading to swifter and more personalised service at every step of the customer journey.

The last step to reducing contact centre wait times: organisation

Sophie’s long wait is due to a number of factors. The contact centre is experiencing a high volume of calls due to a new product release. Although the peak was predictable, the call centre manager had trouble finding enough agents to fill the need. To make matters worse, a small number of experienced agents have recently left the company. As unprepared agents work hard to fill those roles, they’re unable to handle the call volume they usually manage, and delays are cascading through the workforce.

By tightening their organisational skills, contact centres reduce the negative effects of such challenges and keep wait times low. One way to achieve this is through workforce management (WFM) solutions, which ensure the right person is available for the right task at the right time. WFM optimises employee performance individually and as a team, enhancing scheduling agility, providing visibility into performance and creating intuitive platforms for training and skill management.

Skills management prevents situations like Sophie’s by making sure that key skills are not limited to one or two employees. More broadly, it helps contact centres assess the tasks they need performed and train employees in the skills needed to optimally perform those tasks. Contact centre managers benefit from the enhanced skills of their workforce, and employees benefit from the chance to increase their skill sets and move up in the organisation. Most importantly, customers benefit from faster, better-qualified support.

Personalised service at its best

AI, contextual routing and enhanced organisation do more than reduce the wait times that Joanna, Mark and Sophie faced earlier. They are key to providing the level of personalised experience which customers expect. When a contact centre unleashes the potential of its workforce the results are clear and quantifiable.

Lower abandonment rates, higher customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, and ultimately, greater customer loyalty. To reduce your wait times and learn more about agile contact centre solutions, contact Odigo, a leader in Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solutions.

Raffaele Ferrara
Product Marketing Manager at Odigo

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