Prioritizing unhappy customers, one call center’s approach. Part 3 of a 3-Part Series on Virtual Queuing

//Prioritizing unhappy customers, one call center’s approach. Part 3 of a 3-Part Series on Virtual Queuing

Prioritizing unhappy customers, one call center’s approach. Part 3 of a 3-Part Series on Virtual Queuing

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As the economy has deteriorated over the past three years, we’ve seen a number of our business partners become more aggressive in their collection practices.  One of the unintended consequences to this approach has been an increase in overall call volume in response to the collection calls and service termination messages.  In part 1 and part 2 of this series, we talked about a few different scenarios where virtual queuing was successfully implemented in call centers.  One of our business partners, had an approach that was also a proven success, yet different from how others may have implemented this solution.

One Company’s Approach

While it is important for an organization to recover monies owed, it’s equally important to keep call center costs down.  One business partner in the utility space has taken steps to issue virtual queuing to prioritize customers in good standing from customers calling in response to collection or termination calls.   Customers calling in response to a service termination or a collection call are likely to be unhappy with the experience regardless of how quickly they get to an agent or how respectful and polite the agent is.

customers-grade-the-callsThe concept of using virtual queuing here to reprioritize calls coming in to the call center between customers who have the potential to be pleased (by providing more expedient service) over customers who have no potential of walking away pleased with the customer service provided.  The virtual queue informs the customers responding to a collection call that due to high call volume their calls will be returned within a specified number of hours.  The result has been higher satisfaction scores among customers in good standing and little change in (dis)satisfaction levels among high-risk customers.

This same approach can be used to mitigate the impact of seasonal surges in call volume.  Many of our business partners experience predictable peaks in call volume, whether in response to the end of winter rules among utilities, the onset of lawn and garden, back to school or tax seasons.  While predictive modeling of interactions between customers and agents can help better “arm” agents to deliver delight during these seasonal peaks, that preparedness does nothing to actually mitigate the issue of call volume.   That’s where virtual queues offer a solution.  Imagine being able to offer customers calling about non-urgent matters a call back after call center hours or later in the week on a slow call volume day.

It’s a Wrap

Virtual queuing is similar to other call center technologies in that it has pluses and minuses.  The pressure to deliver improved service experiences with fewer resources has led many organizations, including some of our business partners, to explore this technology.  A virtual queuing technology may not be the right fit for your organization and that is okay as long as you realize this before negatively affecting you customer experiences.  Consider the pitfalls along with the push to implement the solution.

About Jim Rembach

Jim Rembach is a panel expert with the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) and an SVP for Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM). Jim spent many years in contact center operations and leverages this to help others. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence (EQ) practitioner and frequently quoted industry expert. Call Jim at 336-288-8226 if you need help with customer-centric enhancements.

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By | 2016-12-05T15:15:11+00:00 February 17th, 2011|Virtual Queuing Series|0 Comments