Scaling contact center services to reduce call wait times

Scaling contact center services to reduce call waiting times – Nikhil Bhatia – UK & Ireland Growth Manager for Artificial Solutions discusses.

More than half of the respondents to a recent British study in “time wasters” said being left on hold was the biggest culprit. And now some authorities are taking steps to address it. The UK Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed its intention to introduce a new consumption obligation, which will force companies not to make consumers wait so long to get an answer to a call they abandon. The Spanish government goes further and has drafted a bill forcing businesses to speak to customers within three minutes or face a fine.

Even three minutes might be excessive for some. To research found that three out of five consumers consider a one-minute wait too long. It is therefore crucial that companies adapt and evolve their contact center to meet customer expectations, using competitive differentiators, such as conversational AI technology, to reduce the time their customers spend waiting to speak to a representative and, in doing so, increase overall satisfaction.

Call Wait Times and Customer Experience

Long wait times are now commonplace for consumers. The average dwell time for a call center was calculated at just under five minutes, although almost a third could last up to 10 minutes, and 16% will exceed even that.

There are several reasons for the increase in wait times. Nearly two-thirds of contact centers reported having reduced their contact center operations in response to the pandemic, with much of the industry now struggling to grow as “normal service” resumes. And the current cost of living crisis has also led to an increase in the number of calls. Energy companies, in particular, receive an abnormally high figure due to rising gas and electricity prices.

For contact center agents, a caller’s experience of a call will typically be tied to the outcome of the call itself. For the caller, however, the impact can affect their experience and perception of the business. Leaving people on hold for long periods of time can result in the loss of customers and ultimately revenue.

Long wait times don’t have to be inevitable when calling a contact center. Businesses should take steps to reduce these wait times as much as possible.

Effectively resolve customer inquiries

One approach to managing the length of wait times is the application of conversational AI to support call centers through both phone and live chat. Conversational AI agents can resolve simple inquiries and respond to many of the most common contact center inquiries. This improves resolution speed, while allowing human contact center agents to focus on more complex calls or those that require greater sensitivity.

In 2020, for example, Swisscom, one of the most innovative telecommunications organizations in the world, has received more than 10 million customer inquiries. Such a volume of calls placed its contact center under significant stress and required significant resources to manage and maintain customer satisfaction.

Swisscom has adopted a AI-based SaaS platform with the functionality, scalability and multilingual capabilities it needed to provide 24/7 chat solutions for Switzerland’s multilingual environment. Over the past two years, the company has extended and evolved its AI solution to develop services that ensure a natural conversation that goes beyond simple questions and answers and effectively resolves simple customer requests through simple self-service options.

The combination of technical and human support provides Swisscom customers with an exceptional level of engagement over the phone or online. And, not only does it allow the contact center to work more efficiently, it dramatically improves the customer experience at a time when call volumes are increasing and wait times are getting longer.

A new normal for customer service

Applying conversational AI in the contact center means long wait times don’t have to be the norm. And for the sake of their customers – and their own bottom lines – it’s vital that companies adapt.

Nikhil Bhatia is Head of UK & Ireland Growth at Artificial Solutions.

For more information on artificial solutions, visit their Website