Callback Best Practices Part 1: 10 Ways Callback Creates a Better Customer Experience

By Dale Holub

With today’s callback technology, and the ever-growing demand from callers to be offered choices that make the wait to speak to a customer service agent less painful, companies must employ a multitude of IVR services that empower the caller with options. The clear frontrunner when it comes to those services is call back software, which allows the caller to hang up when there is a prolonged hold time, relieving the number one frustration callers continuously complain about.

There are plenty of callback solutions on the market today, each designed differently, but each focused on creating a customer experience that is efficient and as pleasant as possible. Setting up a callback solution to provide the best possible customer experience can be a tricky undertaking. Understanding your caller’s needs, and knowing how to customize your callback solution to fulfill those needs can be cumbersome.

When assessing how your callback technology should be implemented and customized, the following considerations are helpful to keep in mind:

    1. When to offer the callback option (during business hours) – To gain better contact center efficiency, you should specify in your callback solution when the queue is staffed for each day of the week, ensuring you designate an “open” and “close” time for when to offer the callback option. The close time should end early enough to allow all callbacks to be made before there are no more agents to take the calls. For instance, if your queue is no longer staffed at 9:00 P.M., you should set your close time to no later than 8:30 P.M.
    2. When is the best time to offer the callback option to callersTo ensure the best customer experience, you should offer a callback early in the call to give the caller the option to wait on hold or choose the callback option. For the best system performance, set the option between your service level and 90 seconds, which will boost the number of callbacks requested and decrease trunk usage.
    3. How to treat incoming calls – Some callback technologies provide the capability to customize how the system will treat inbound calls. For example, the system could announce the estimated wait time to the caller, but not offer the callback option. Or, the system could offer a scheduled callback if someone calls after the contact center has closed for the day, instead of telling the caller to “Please call us tomorrow”, and then disconnecting. As part of this customization, it would in your best interest to set the system to stop offering the callback option an hour before the end of business hours to allow time for callbacks already requested to be made. Some callback systems even allow you to automate this process by setting up a schedule of when these different modes change throughout the day.
    4. How to speak estimated wait time to a caller – When a caller hears their estimated wait time to speak to an agent, they most likely will look at the clock or their watch, and expect that callback to be on time. With most callback systems, callbacks do not typically occur at the exact moment the customer expects. For example, if a caller hears their wait time is 30 minutes, and it is 3:00 pm right now, they will expect their callback to occur right at 3:30 pm. Since that callback most likely will not occur right at 3:30 pm, it is suggested not to speak the actual estimated wait time.If your callback system allows it, you should communicate a range of estimated wait time. Using a range instead of a specific number sets a broader expectation of when the customer will be speaking to an agent, resulting in a better customer experience and improved customer satisfaction.
    5. What happens if a customer misses their callback – A callback solution should offer the capability to call a customer back if they missed their original callback. It’s not unusual for a customer to become unavailable to answer their phone when the system calls them back. Having the system try that customer again provides another powerful tool to improve the caller experience. Some solutions allow you to customize not only how many times the system retries the customer, but also how often in between each try.
  1. How to avoid callback abuse – Sometimes callers can become impatient. An impatient caller may arrange a callback and hang up, but then for some reason call back to arrange a second or even third callback to the same phone number. This results in duplicate callback requests, and the subsequent callback requests might fail because the customer is already speaking to an agent. Or, worse yet is if the customer receives those multiple callbacks, they most likely will be perturbed because you called them multiple times.To prevent this type of scenario, your callback solution should offer a feature that checks to see if the number the caller entered is already waiting to be called back. If it is, the system will inform the caller that they already have a callback in the system, and will not allow them to request another callback until the original callback is made.
  2. How to avoid callbacks occurring after the contact center has closed for the day – If your system provides the capability, set your system to automatically stop offering callbacks early enough to ensure all callbacks are completed prior to the close of the day. This type of feature would compare the estimated wait time for a new call to the amount of business time left in the day, as specified by your business hours. If the wait time exceeds the amount of time left in the day, the system would offer the callback option, and instead route the call to the specified location. Depending on your system used, it might be able to announce the estimated wait time before routing the call.
  3. What to do if a caller cannot accept their scheduled callback – Some callback solutions allow callbacks to be scheduled for a later time or day. This feature provides the capability for a caller to reschedule their callback after they have received their original scheduled callback, which would enhance the caller experience.
  4. What to do if the system caps how many callbacks are allowed in any given timeframe – If your system allows callbacks to be scheduled, but also limits how many scheduled callbacks are allowed during the day, it is possible callers could become extremely irritated when they schedule a callback, but there are no slots available. Having the caller “guess” when a slot is open can lead to caller frustration, and possibly even abandonment.Having the capability to inform a caller when they can schedule their callback can lead to a very pleasant experience. This feature provides a caller with the available time choices if the original scheduled callback request time is not available. It removes the guessing game for the caller, leaving them with the feeling of empowerment.
  5. How to save the caller time and remove the chance of inputting a wrong number when entering their callback number – With most telephony systems having the capability of capturing the phone number the caller calls in on, so should your callback solution. This elite feature can play the phone number the customer called in on as the first option for their callback. This improves both the customer experience and system performance by making the option to choose a callback quicker and easier. It also removes the possibility of a caller entering a wrong phone number for a callback.

While the options for employing callback technology are substantial, too many contact centers have not yet incorporated this highly effective tool. A callback solution should provide several benefits, both to the caller and the contact center.

To learn more tips and best practices about implementing the right callback solution for your contact center, download this helpful ebook, Your Guide to Contact Center Best Practices.