Within a call center queue there exists the opportunity to tailor your messaging for best impact. Entrance messages, Messages on hold, and Comfort messages are the three main areas of concern. We will explore these three sections and offer advice on how to maximize the impact of these messages.
These are the messages that are played before the call is placed on hold when entering the queue. They can be mandatory, and always played even if no other calls are in queue, or they can be optional and play only if the call will go into hold. Legal messages, such as “it's call maybe recorded for quality and training purposes”, are good to place in the entrance message, particularly if the entrance message is mandatory.
Other information to place here is a definition of the type of help they will get in this queue. For example, a technical support queue should say as much, if a caller is looking to pay their bill they can hang up and call another line without waiting for the wrong person. This can lead to an increase in abandonment rate, but it should happen within the first minute of the call and can be seen easily with the proper reporting.
When comfort messages are played they interrupt the normal hold messaging. Set at particular intervals, Comfort messages can reassure your caller that they will be helped or they can expose the escape key to leave a voicemail or set for callback. Comfort messages may also contain vocalized information, such as placing queue or estimated time waiting. Correctly using comfort messages can increase the amount of time your caller is willing to wait on hold, reducing abandonment.
Many call routing platforms will allow you to offer an escape digit which will send the caller to another number or location. Best practice says that you should not put this in the entrance message. If you give your caller the opportunity to escalate immediately they probably will. This should be placed in the comfort message, because the comfort messages not played immediately. Setting the comfort message interval to your projected wait time for the queue Will ensure that nobody can escape until they've waited as long as you have chosen.
Messages on Hold
These are the messages that are played while your caller is in the queue. Most callers expect to hear music but given they are stuck on hold anyway, there's nothing wrong with using this as a marketing platform. You can advertise special services, hours of operation or holiday closures, or answers to frequently asked questions.
If you expect your callers to routinely wait longer than a couple of minutes, it might be advisable to alternate music and messaging. This bridges the gap and allows you to utilize the marketing capabilities of your message on hold, while not overtly treating your caller as a captive audience.
In the case of a technical support or customer service line, Messages on hold can offer suggestions to cure common problems. Your technical support line may advise the caller to turn the device off and then back on again and if this resolves the issue they can hang up. If done correctly this will increase abandonment so be prepared for that statistic to increase.
Another good use for messages on hold is to explain self-service options. Online support, searchable knowledge bases, and social media outlets can be advertised through this channel.
The call routing that is found in modern call queues allows you to have control over the messaging that those customers will experience. Entrance messages let you set some expectations, Comfort messages let you engage your caller so they can decide if they want to remain on hold, and messaging on hold lets you advertise features products and self-service options. Utilizing these three lines of communication can prompt your callers to stay more engaged, wait longer for your agents, and have a better overall customer service experience.