The idea of a callback (choosing to be called later rather than waiting on hold) won’t be new or shocking to your customers—but the presentation certainly can be. All of us have called a helpline where multiple voices are heard, at multiple volumes, with lots of transfers, clicks, and silences. It is the auditory equivalent of a fun house at a summer carnival, without any of the laughs.
And the stakes aren’t just annoyance. Trust is on the line. If the callback presentation sounds clunky or unprofessional, customers may be wary of committing to this process. A strong presentation builds trust and encourages adoption. A poor presentation creates caution in the caller, and can even paint a poor, cheap, or low-value perception of your brand.
While obvious audio issues are the quickest to spotlight and fix, they aren’t the only thing that can be jarring to a customer’s ears—and confidence!—in a callback experience.
Primer: What is contact center callback software?
More than 25 years ago, we pioneered callback software to help brands offer a better experience to customers waiting on hold. Traditionally, callback software fits into call center routing to take callers off of a hardline queue, save their spot in line virtually, and call them back when it’s their turn to talk to an agent.
Over the last three decades, we’ve evolved callback software to meet customers where they are—a brand’s website, text messaging, chat—granting them control over their experience with the brand. Now customers can schedule a call with the brand’s contact center, reschedule via SMS, and navigate the entire experience on their own.
The benefits? Customers aren’t stuck in on-hold-hell and now have free time while they wait for their call. And brands can eliminate peaks and valleys, predict call volume, and optimize staffing—while reaping major NPS and CSAT benefits.
Now, onto the recipe for callback perfection.
Steps to make a seamless transition from IVR to callback
Let’s look at some of the basic tenants of a perfect callback presentation, as well as some that we normally don’t even notice until they’ve gone terribly wrong.
1. Check the easy things: volume levels, voice prompts, and hold music.
Make sure all of your voice prompts are in one voice and are recorded at the same volume—including hold music! Make sure your soothing filler music isn’t at a volume that makes the caller jump out of their skin every time it comes on.
Mindful provides default prompts and music recorded at appropriate volumes to ensure seamlessness. You can even replace the hold music in Mindful if you have something custom to keep a completely consistent experience.
2. Identify your brand and let customers know what’s coming.
Most businesses usually have a good handle on this, but it never hurts to double check: Your branding should be consistent throughout your interactive voice response (IVR) prompts, and callers should understand who to expect the callback from.
Saying something as simple as, “This is your callback from our brand,” can help the caller make the connection to the callback they requested—and may have since forgotten about—10 minutes ago.
Why is this important? Setting the right expectations drastically improves your chances for higher customer satisfaction.
3. Keep voice prompts on brand.
A singular “voice” or brand tone should be used across all prompting. Is that voice conversational or formal? Do you offer ways to get assistance and advice along the way? If so, continue to do so while the caller is scheduling their callback with the Mindful experience.
4. Set expectations by speaking wait time.
This is a great way to provide consistency. Think about how you want your customers to react to wait time. You’re probably trying to drive them to request a callback, but also not trying to reveal incredibly high wait time. This is a delicate balance, but thinking about the desired outcome and relating that to your particular client base will get you the best results.
At VHT, we always suggest stating the estimated wait time, in a range, if possible. Research tells us this is the way to increase take rate and provide the best customer service to the caller. Sometimes this just isn’t possible and a message stating something as simple as, “We are experiencing longer than normal hold times,” is a good place to start.
5. Build trust with seamless transitions.
With a successful callback, there are two points of transition: into Mindful, and back to the contact center. Pay close attention that the transfer back into the call center sounds like any of the others, using the same hold music, messaging, or tones that are used throughout the system.
6. Stop the security and surveying burnout.
Many call centers are having to add information about security, call recording, or surveys to the multitude of other things being told to the caller. Pulling the survey out of the voice interaction and putting it instead in a follow-up SMS message is likely to not only keep customers engaged on the phone, but will likely increase survey completion. When customers can fill out the survey on their own time (and in a browser!) they’re much more likely to complete than when in the voice channel.
We know for a fact that offering a callback drives NPS, so surveying in this way would be a good way to track that goodwill.
7. Take easy steps to elevate the customer experience.
After you have done all this good work and created an experience where the client has been seamlessly guided through the whole process, don’t let it stop just because the caller has disconnected! Use Mindful notifications to go the extra mile to provide service that can be completely separate from agent interactions.
What’s the big deal? More interaction and information for the customer leads to a better customer experience, and automating callback journeys with notifications means improved CX without increasing agent overhead.
There are many ways to use notifications. You can confirm a successful callback request at the front, and text further information or a thank you for the interaction after the call has been completed.
8. Most importantly: Test out the customer experience!
Once you’ve looked through the list above and made sure all wrinkles have been ironed out, put your own work to the test! Call into your own contact center. Wait on hold. Take a callback. Listen closely, and, if all steps are clear, see if you can even tell you are moving between different applications. If you’ve done all of the above, we’re betting you won’t be able to.
For even more assurance, ask a coworker or friend to go through the whole experience and ask them about it. If you’re the owner that made all the system changes, you may be too close to the flow to notice the big experience problems, and it’d be helpful to get an outsider’s opinion.
When it comes to customer interactions with your call center, the data is clear: Customers prefer a callback over waiting on hold. But their likelihood to trust and move forward with a callback depends heavily on how it’s presented and perceived.
Follow the steps above, and your customers will love their callback experience.
Have a voice experience that’s lacking? Looking for a smoother transition between voice and SMS? Mindful might be what you need! Get in touch with our solutions team to elevate your callback experience and meet customers in every channel.