5 effective ways to reduce call volume and wait times

Written by Erin Green

One of the biggest challenges in tech support organizations is the issue of how to reduce call volume and wait times. It’s one of the most-cited frustrations of customers who call in. Naturally, that makes it one of the most pressing issues for support teams to solve.

Though they may seem like independent issues, they’re surprisingly symbiotic—and solving one often means solving the other, too. After all, lower call volume means shorter wait times; and shorter wait times mean more manageable call volume.

So today, let’s talk about five ways your support team can solve this major pain.

 

How to reduce call volume and wait times: 5 techniques

Plan ahead.

In tech industries, market seasonality can be a little harder to predict—but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead for higher call volumes. For instance, ISPs may see higher volume at times when more people are home, like holidays and summer breaks (or the entirety of the last year!). A smart home brand might see higher volumes after a new device launch or during the holiday buying season.

By forecasting for situations like these, as well as any historical high-volume times you’ve seen in past years, you can do two things:

  • Ensure you have enough staff on hand to work through everything
  • Build resources for those situations to help deflect calls

Tip: Need to onboard seasonal staff quickly? Check out our tips here!

 

Equip your agents with information.

There’s a lot a support agent can do to speed up calls with the right information—and a lot they can’t do without it. By ensuring that agents have access to key account information without the customer having to give it, you can save a lot of back-and-forth time.

For example, let’s say a customer calls in because their laptop keeps disconnecting from their WiFi. The agent who gets the call pulls up the customer’s file, then spends several minutes asking questions about the network setup to narrow down what the problem could be.

What that agent doesn’t know is that this particular customer has already called with this exact problem before. And just like on those previous calls, it turns out that the customer:

  • Has the router in a remote part of the house
  • Has no extenders on the network
  • And is trying to use the laptop in the furthest possible spot from the router

With the right visibility into the customer’s historical data, that lengthy call could instead be a two-minute conversation. It could even be an upsell conversation—and then, it’s unlikely you’d get that same call again.

 

Be confident problems are solved the first time.

This is building off of our previous example, but it’s worth calling out on its own all the same. One of the biggest culprits of high call volumes is that customers will call in more than once if they don’t think an issue is totally resolved.

So, by that logic, if you know a WiFi network issue has been solved the first time—and the customer knows it too—it’s likely that they won’t need to call back in. And that can contribute drastically to call volume reduction.

A particularly effective way to handle this is through visual proof. Too often, agents need to spend valuable time on the phone trying to convince customers that an issue is fixed. But if the customer can see that the issue is fixed for themselves, that’s a lot of time (and potentially another call or three) saved.

For example, with RouteThis, agents can run additional scans after troubleshooting connectivity issues to establish that the issue is gone. That scan shows up on the customer’s smartphone while it’s running, so they can see it in action—and they can see the final result, too.

 

Offer self-serve resources.

These days, customers want to be able to at least try to fix things themselves before they call support. Often, that desire turns into long forays on web searches, trying to find a forum post where someone answered the same question they have.

Then, when they can’t find it, they’ll end up having to call in.

Self-service support resources are one of the best ways to help these DIY customers find the right answers quickly. This can take all sorts of forms; blog posts, FAQs, and videos that cover common issues and resolutions are all popular choices.

On the other hand, it can also mean more guesswork for customers. So for more specific issues and resolutions, many ISPs and smart home brands are going a step further with branded apps that can scan a customer’s home network and offer personalized resolutions and suggestions.

That way, it takes all of the guesswork out of the equation for the customer, gives them the confidence that the issue is fixed, and keeps them off the phone. And because it’s a resource they can keep around, it can help prevent similar issues and phone calls in the future, too.

 

And make sure people know about them!

You can have all the self-service support resources in the world, but if your customers don’t know about them, they’re still going to call in.

Most people won’t remember what their support options are, no matter how many times they’ve been told. It doesn’t stick. So what they’ll do is go to your website, find the support page, and pick the first support option listed. In most cases, that’s either an email address or a phone number.

If your goal is to reduce your support call volume and wait times, then one rather subtle technique is to adjust which information shows up first on your support page. Place your self-service options front and center; that way, customers will see those options first, and will be more likely to try them before they call in.

It’s time to get your agents off the phone.

Let’s talk about what RouteThis can do to help you cut back on call volume and wait times for customers.

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