Don’t you love to get a callback option instead of waiting on hold when you reach out to a company? I do. I’m one of those customers who immediately latches on to the callback offer when it’s made. Today’s customers have no patience for idling on hold. For proof, check your social media accounts! This is where angry complaints will be logged—as well as in your Communicators’ ears.

Adding the callback feature to your contact center capabilities is easy with today’s cloud-based offerings. However you introduce the function, though, be sure to heed the following four tips to ensure your callbacks are successful:

  1. Time your callback message to coincide with your average hold time: The message, something like, “If you’d prefer that the next available agent return your call, press 1 now,” must, obviously, be played before your typical caller would hang up. This is your “time to offer,” or TTO, and it depends on your call center’s unique data and analysis. Your TTO will affect your take-up rate, which is the fraction of callers who opt-in after hearing the message.
  1. Repeat the callback offer: As time passes for callers in your IVR system, more and more of them will opt-in. Make sure the callback offer is repeated several times to give hesitant callers a chance to take advantage of the benefit. Don’t leave them wondering, and wishing they’d responded to the offer more quickly. Instead, simply extend the courtesy periodically.
  1. Correctly determine agent availability: Don’t overestimate when the next agent will be available and initiate the callback too early. You may end up placing your customers on hold a second time. Avoid letting your eagerness to maximize agent efficiency result in a negative experience for the customer! This would wipe out the advantage of providing callbacks altogether. A better idea is to already have the agent on the line when the customer picks up the return call. Typically, the downtime for the agent is less than 10 seconds.
  1. Enable other channels with the callback option: A majority of contact centers use multiple channels to interact with their customers: phone, Web, chat, email and text. Yet, if a customer issue is urgent or difficult to resolve, a phone conversation is still the preferred channel. In fact, 77 percent of people polled, according to a Northridge Group survey, reach for the phone in these circumstances. Quality contact center service, therefore, requires smooth transitions between channels in a multichannel environment. When your customer on a chat, for example, decides that he or she wants to talk to a live Communicator immediately, the transfer should be quick and seamless. For a consistent user experience, if your phone channel includes a callback option, so should your other channels.

Your callback solution should, therefore, have strong multichannel functionality, like pre-built components that can be easily integrated into your webpage or mobile app.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.