Some call it the new normal.
However you describe the evolving work environment, retail and call center managers know one thing for sure: the industry landscape has changed at lightning speed, and the changes keep coming.
As contact center managers seek to optimize their remote workforces in secure, scalable environments, they’re turning to cloud technology, and tools like call-backs, to ensure agents can deliver excellent customer experience (CX).
Fun, convenient shopping experiences and excellent service... are expected.
The demand for outstanding customer service has never been higher. Why? The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of eCommerce and challenged retailers to impress customers in an environment where everyone is measured against the world-class service offered by commercial giants.
Fun, convenient shopping experiences and excellent service, both in-person and online, are expected. Consider this: 89% of customers say they’ll buy again after a positive experience and 50% of customers say they’ll leave after a single bad one.
Why Call-Backs Are Essential
Where does that leave the call center? In some ways, it’s right where it’s always been: at the crossroads between digital commerce and customer service.
The difference is that the stakes are much higher. Customers expect excellent service, every time. But when you combine a remote workforce with high job-vacancies and chattier callers who are hungry for human connections (Forrester research says call center leaders see the phone as a new “empathy channel for customers”) you get very high wait times. CallMiner Chief Technical Officer Jeff Gallino says wait times have tripled since the pandemic started.
More than ever, call centers need technical solutions like call-backs to help their remote workforce manage workflow, smooth out call spikes, and deliver an excellent CX.
What is Call-Back Technology?
Put simply, call-back technology gets your customers off hold by offering them a call-back from the next available agent or at a time of their choosing.
Your call-back system must be secure and should be easy to use...
Call-back technology may be built into your existing contact center platform or added through a software provider. Those that need a more robust solution typically turn to a specialized third-party vendor. Your call-back system must be secure and should be easy to use, reliable, and feature-rich—including real-time data reporting capabilities.
When your call-back system comes with powerful features like Visual IVR, it helps create a seamless experience for agents and customers—on the phone and online. It’s a simple, elegant solution.
And yet, retail leaders may underestimate the transformative power of the call-back. It's so much more than just “press one to schedule a call.” All you need to do is explore the possibilities.
8 Ways to Maximize Your Call-Back Technology
1. Smooth Seasonal Call Spikes with Conversation Scheduling.
This is a classic use case, and the benefits are easy to see, so let’s start here. Every retail manager knows that some seasons see steep call spikes. Even after hiring seasonal staff, customer support teams struggle with high call volumes, putting their performance metrics and CX at risk.
Voice call-backs with conversation scheduling acts as a safety net by letting callers opt out of waiting on hold. Instead, they can schedule a call-back later in the day during a quieter period, the next business day, or even later in the week. Your callers don’t have to wait on hold and your agents don’t have to worry about dealing with frustrated customers. Better yet, conversation scheduling works from any device: phone, web browser or mobile app.
2. Support Online Customers by Escalating Chat to Voice.
Some online customers prefer email or chat support while shopping: no problem there. But there can be a hurdle when they reach the point where they require payment processing, or where they simply need to speak to a live agent. There may be sensitive data or payment information being exchanged that requires a voice channel. Smooth out this scenario using Visual IVR to escalate the chat to a voice call.
An online agent can send the customer a link for self-service scheduling, letting them book a call-back at a convenient time. Or the online agent can complete the call-back request for them. Either way, the customer’s query is escalated to an appropriate agent in your contact center, creating a seamless CX, free of hold time.
3. Prevent Cart Abandonment by Engaging Customers First.
2022 data from Statista shows that nearly 88% of digital shopping carts and baskets are abandoned without completing the purchase. Forrester research says eCommerce merchants lose a stunning $18 billion in yearly sales this way. Visual IVR can help.
Customers often have questions about shipping costs, warranties or payment security that keep them from completing a transaction.
In this scenario, you can set up a timed web widget to invite hesitant customers to schedule a call-back, keeping them engaged at critical moments of the transaction. When the agent calls the customer back, they can address their concerns and help close the sale. If customers are shopping after business hours—8pm-9pm is the busiest shopping time according to SaleCycle.com—your customers can request a call-back for the next day.
4. Support Your Internal Team for Optimal Performance.
Call-backs have a role to play in your internal operations, too. When you offer dedicated queues to employees or vendors, you help them stay connected without wasting their valuable time on hold. Sales associates often need to communicate with head offices or warehouses to check on customer orders or inventory status. Time is usually a factor, especially when addressing issues in-store. They’re likely dealing with a customer in real-time and if the associate can’t get support, they’re left with a dissatisfied customer. This might result in lost sales or a poor online review.
With scheduled call-backs, your associates can request a connection without waiting on the line for assistance. This helps them manage customer expectations with confidence, knowing support is on the way.
5. Replace Voicemail with Call-Backs.
An overflowing voice mailbox is a problem for busy contact centers, and it can leave agents feeling behind before they even start their shift. Offer after-hours callers a scheduled call-back instead. This method is much more reliable than having agents check voicemails manually.
Offer a priority call-back queue for your most valued customers based on things like VIP status or lifetime spend.
Voicemail is prone to human error. There may be issues understanding the customer’s query, and an unscheduled response from an agent can begin an annoying game of phone tag that no one wants to play.
But with call-backs, your customers can rest easy knowing they can schedule a conversation at a time of their choice. Bonus: Your agents won’t have to worry about greeting frustrated callers on the line.
6. Provide White Glove Experience with Priority Call-Backs.
Offer a priority call-back queue for your most valued customers based on things like VIP status or lifetime spend. A feature rich call-back provider can build this directly into your website or mobile app. Customize the feature with company branding to offer a true VIP experience.
7. Protect Your Customers with a Secure, Cloud-Based Environment.
More than ever, security matters. Customers expect a secure environment and will readily abandon transactions that feel unsafe. In fact, Shopify reports that 17% of customers completely abandon transactions over security concerns.
When it comes to robust, third-party call-back technology, look for secure appliances, secure SIP, direct site-to-site IPsec VPNs, and CIAM technology, such as MFA, SSO, password expiration, and IP limiting. Visual IVR installations can be secured with session-based protections and CAPTCHA technology.
Cloud-based technology is important, too. It offers faster deployment, frequent updates, and robust security, as cloud providers invest heavily in their backup sites and often have security that meets or exceeds in-house deployments.
8. Improve Your Agent Experience.
Workforce optimization is a hot topic. Part of the puzzle is to ensure your agents are set up for success in the new normal with appropriate training, scheduling, monitoring and a rewards system. Another key component is providing them with the tools they need to succeed and feel satisfaction from having done so.
Because of its tremendous impact on both CX and agent satisfaction, call-back technology stands out as one of the most valuable tools in your contact center’s toolkit.