New Technology Reduces Call Center Waiting Times for Callers
March 14, 2012
By Chris Freeburn
, TMCnet Web Editor
Waiting for a call center agent to handle your call is an exercise most people would like to avoid. Whether one is calling to pay a bill, request information or report a problem with a good or service, having to sit around with receiver in hand listening to bland, but supposedly calming music or canned promotional recordings, is one of the banes of modern life.
Unfortunately, it is also largely unavoidable. No call center employs enough agents to immediately answer every call that comes into the center. Many call centers, especially for major utilities, retailers and financial services providers, handle millions of calls per year. No company’s budget is big enough to provide instant call center service, not even Apple’s (News - Alert).
Still, even if it is inevitable that some callers will have to wait while agents work their way through the incoming call volume, it is still possible to reduce call wait times for consumers. A variety of software solutions already exist to accelerate the speed with which calls are handled, allowing agents to deal with many more callers every day than would otherwise be possible, and thus reducing overall waiting times.
However, British software developer Matt King has created a solution that allows consumers to turn the tables on call centers and mitigate their waiting times. His solution, WeQ4U, an automated call queuing service does all the waiting for customers. The solution works with any phone, including iOS and Android (News - Alert)-based smartphones. WeQ4U apps are available on iTunes and Google Play (formerly Android Market).
Users of the WeQ4U app receive eight calls included in their regular cellular minutes, a cost savings of roughly 30 pence a minute. If a finds himself or herself caught in a call queue, pressing 9* activates the service, which holds their place for them, free of change, in the call queue. WeQ4U estimates an average saving of £2.53 for every mobile phone-based call center call.
According to call center industry analysts, British consumers spend 45 hours a year waiting on the phone, the company noted. Fully 60 percent of customers expressed frustration getting their calls answered at many call centers in Britain.
WeQ4U works with either mobile phones or landlines. Once a call queue is encountered, the user presses 9*. Once that’s done, the service takes over and the user can hang up their phone. When the agent finally comes on the line, the phone will ring twice. After the ringing stops, the user just hits redial or enters 0121 667 5969 to be put through to the agent immediately.
“One of people’s pet hates is being held in a queue when they are trying to get through to a real person at a call center,” King said in a company statement. “In fact there’s nothing worse than being told that your call is important and will be answered shortly when it clearly isn’t. Research shows that people can be left on hold for anything up to an hour as they try to get through to a customer advisor. We are on a mission to put an end to that misery by connecting people to pretty much any UK call center without them getting stuck in the inevitable queue.”
Edited by Jennifer Russell