Fortunately, you can take some simple measures that will help you communicate with more current and potential customers. Following these tips will help keep your unanswered calls to a minimum.
Inbound Unanswered Calls
While your call center often focuses on outbound calls, inbound calls are also vital to your success. When they cannot reach an agent quickly, consumers become frustrated. They hate being put on hold, and their reaction is worse if they cannot reach an agent at all. These unanswered calls lead to bad reviews, loss of opportunity, and damage to your brand’s image. You cannot afford to miss inbound calls.
The following actions will help correct this problem:
A good interactive voice response will gather basic consumer information and answer common questions without needing to connect customers to a live agent When an agent is needed, an IVR will funnel customers to the right departments, streamlining your service so that the proper experts can answer calls. With an IVR, callers do not waste time and are far more satisfied with the process.
Configure ACDs for Skill-Based Routing
Configuring your automatic call distributor to use skill-based routing allows customers to connect to the right agents on their first attempt. This step means callers will not reach the wrong agent and have to be placed on hold to transfer to yet another employee. This step means happier callers and agents.
Add "On Hold" Messages
When you place a consumer on hold and they hear dead air, they may think that you dropped their call. They do not know whether to hang up or keep on waiting. Using "on hold" messages reassures customers they are in a queue that leads to an agent. Some messages let callers know their place in line or their estimated remaining wait time. This information may keep them from hanging up and taking their business elsewhere.
Provide Call Back Options
Businesses that have high caller volume benefit by adding call-back options to their process. If your queue times are long, these options can help improve the customer experience. They will not have to stay on hold, but they can still receive the service that they seek. An agent will simply call the customer back once they are first in line. The consumer feels more empowered and less at the mercy of lengthy holds. And they can accomplish other tasks while they wait for your agent to return their call.
Some agents do not mind taking calls after business hours. They want to provide the best service possible to help the company and their own performance numbers. When you add forward-to-phone options, you let your agents receive customer calls on their cell phones. Some areas, such as customer service, won’t benefit from this option, but others, especially sales, may embrace it. Forward-to-phone is another tool used to eliminate unanswered calls.
Outbound Unanswered Calls
Many call centers are also seeing a rise in unanswered outbound calls. While this may not be as harmful as unanswered inbound calls, it still wastes agents' time and company resources. It also leads to agent and consumer frustration.
Typically, unanswered outbound calls are attributed to:
- Blocked outgoing phone numbers.
- Phone number caller ID flagged as "scam likely."
- Inaccurate, outdated, or irrelevant call lists.
- Improperly set dialer configurations.
To fix these issues, consider taking the following actions.
Use Enhanced Caller ID Services
Some carriers and companies offer enhanced caller ID. This service allows you to display your business name and logo on outgoing calls. Sometimes, you can include additional information such as the name of the department that is calling. Customers are more likely to answer calls when they know the source. Enhanced caller ID services allow customers to identify your business immediately when their phone rings. Unfortunately, enhanced caller ID is not standardized yet, so some phone carriers will display your enhanced ID while others will not.
Purchase Numbers from Reputable Sources
Your outbound phone numbers make or break your dialing campaigns. You must only purchase your numbers from reputable sources; otherwise, you may end up with many flagged or blocked numbers. These problems will cause your connection rates to plummet. Besides buying only from trustworthy companies, you should keep your numbers after finish with them. Doing so ensures that bad actors will not use your numbers and cause more harm to the industry. Also, always buy more numbers than you need just in case some are flagged or blocked.
Swap Out Numbers Frequently
When you overuse a number, you increase the chances that a carrier will flag it as spam or worse. To prevent this issue, do not let your agents use it more than 100 times a day. Take the number out of rotation and let it cool down while you use other numbers instead. That way, you can safely keep the number in rotation for some time.
Monitor Your Phone Number's Reputation
To ensure the quality of your numbers, scan them daily for carrier flags. Being vigilant allows you to spot “hot” numbers and caller ID issues. When you take the time to do a daily scan, you help protect your company’s reputation and lower your rate of unanswered calls.
Your business cannot survive, much less thrive, if you have too many unanswered calls, both inbound and outbound. You must be able to connect with consumers consistently, or you will lose business. Incoming callers will grow frustrated and disconnect if you leave them on hold with no idea of where they stand. This frustration often leads them to post damaging reviews of your company while taking their business to a competitor.
When your call center's outbound calls do not connect, you cannot effectively sell your products or services. Using unflagged and unblocked numbers will lower your unanswered call rate and help reassure consumers that your company is legitimate. Daily due diligence pays off on both ends of the line.