A call queue is a system used in telephone networks to manage the ordering of calls. It is used to optimize the use of available lines and resources. Callers can connect as soon as a line becomes available without waiting in long queues. It also allows callers to communicate more efficiently with people who are busy on the phone.
This article provides a detailed explanation of the call queue system and information on choosing an effective call queuing system for your business. You will learn how to use a call queue system to manage phone calls and improve customer service in your business.
What Is Call Queueing?
Call queuing occurs when a customer calls up a business or organization and is placed on hold in call queues before someone helps them. Many businesses and call centers do this to retain the customer without immediately responding or call routing. The purpose here is to prevent the callers from hanging up immediately when they don’t get a response.
To retain a positive customer experience, call queuing systems may advertise pre-recorded messages, music, or other audio played when a caller is on a call queue. Another call queue feature is that there may also be an interactive voice response in the call queuing software until the inbound callers talk to a live agent.
The IVR can have helpful messages at certain points, such as an apology for some inconvenience and information on the estimated time for fixing the issue.
How does a call queue work?
A call queue does make customers wait, but it also helps to make the wait times seem shorter. Playing music or pre-recorded messages allows a call center to handle peak call times without compromising customer loyalty. Once an agent is available, the callers waiting in the virtual queue get their turn.
Several call queues might be in action if a business needs to collect customer data in stages. Now specific call center software offers automatic call distribution to agents based in different locations. The services for this software may also have options for customizing the IVR message, rerouting to agents for agent productivity, or otherwise shrinking the call queue as much as possible.
How do businesses set up a call queue?
If a business does not have enough call center staff or a high enough agent productivity, it might look towards contact center solutions to handle customer calls. Call center operators will receive information on how many callers are in the virtual queues and how long the expected wait times are. This is a call routing system that a business sets up to deal with inbound calls.
With queue management software, call centers can deal with high call volume and maintain a good customer experience. They can also improve customer satisfaction by transferring some incoming calls to their extra call center team members. A small business can choose the most suitable queue management software.
The usual way in which a call queuing system will work for a small business includes the following steps:
- The inbound callers are put in a line where they will wait for service
- When an active call ends, the next person in the call queue will get to proceed further (unless there’s some other customization that prioritizes urgent calls)
- The numbers might ring simultaneously and allow the available agent to pick up whatever line they want or sequentially according to their position in the queue.
- The callers in the queue will be able to listen to a greeting message and then, some music or an advertisement.
- The recordings may also insert a certain voicemail or message every couple of minutes or so
What are the causes of long calling queues?
A contact or call center usually goes for call queuing when their call volume is very high. Their need for contact center solutions increases when agent schedules are very tight. Here are a few more reasons for long calling queues in any contact center:
- The queue management software is outdated
- The average call handle time is very high
- The first-call resolution rates are low
- The departments are understaffed and don’t always have a qualified agent at the contact center or even an available agent for any incoming call
- Shoddy management, especially when it comes to agent scheduling
- Lack of self-service options, especially for after-business hours
- Weak workforce management
- Even when agents receive calls, they may have difficulty accessing the relevant information to fulfill customer expectations
Overall, it may not even matter how many agents a business has; if contact centers don’t perform good queue analytics, business growth can stop altogether. This is why it’s important to maintain strong call-routing strategies. While having an available agent on every virtual line may be impossible, some effective skills-based routing can increase customer satisfaction.
How to decrease the abandonment rate in a call center?
If a business keeps its callers waiting for a long time, the result will be angry customers due to long call queues. Many callers may abandon calls due to long queues, improper call routing, or poor queue management.
Here are a few ways in which a call center or contact center can retain an inbound call for improved customer satisfaction:
- Announce the estimated waiting time and the call queuing position of the incoming call
- Have alternative options, such as virtual queues
- Make use of media blending; this means integrating various ways of communication in different combinations, resulting in a creative connection between the business and its audience.
- Dial back abandoned incoming calls when there are no call queues
- Try making the long call queues as short as possible with effective call routing, efficient call center software, or interesting announcements
- Have an auto-attendant or self-service system among your queue management features
How to improve call queue management?
Proper call queue management can help large and small businesses handle their inbound calls for customer satisfaction. The right routing strategies can limit operational costs and shorten the call center queue. Fortunately, there are ways to improve call queue management and, by extension, make your customer service more effective.
The above tips for decreasing call abandonment will also improve the management of your call queue. However, it’s not just preventing customers from hanging up their call. Below are some other viable tips that can help a business cater to every call they get:
- Have different greetings and messages based on the time of the day, month, or year; for instance, customize the greeting to say “good morning,” “good afternoon,” or “good evening” to give a somewhat human touch
- Have a choice of preferred languages for different types of callers in the call center queue; this will route calls to agents who can help people speaking a certain language
- Have various call routing options, including the round robin; this is when the call center software will attempt to transfer calls to each agent until it finds someone who is available
- Consider the IVR system, or Interactive Voice Response, which helps customers help themselves instead of directly going for call queuing; if the customer can help themselves, they will not feel so frustrated when waiting for an agent to help them
Before choosing any call queuing software to manage calls, an entrepreneur should consider the various options on the market. Every service will have something different to order. For example, you can compare the business phone systems of RingCentral and Vonage. See what features characterize these services and choose whatever suits your business best.
Major VoIP Software with Call Queue Feature
Several VoIP software options are available for businesses that want to handle inbound calls properly. Let’s have a look at some of the top options now:
RingCentral includes call queuing as one of its business phone system services. All of their plans include call queuing. But only the higher-level subscription plans include real-time analytics or reports for this aspect of the business. Here are some features of the call queuing service offered by RingCentral:
- A call queue with a name, its own extension number, and a direct phone number if required
- Any incoming call can be connected to group members in a rotating (regularly changing the order of ringing available members), simultaneous (ringing all available agents at once for up to 10 extensions), or sequential manner (ringing available agents one by one in a specified order)
- Administrators are available to change the settings in your RingCentral account (this service can be used to create new call queues, delete unwanted old ones, or tweak them as you wish)
The call queuing service is built into the Nextiva business phone system. So, anyone who already has it can easily tap into this option. Customers of Nextiva can also manage their call queuing system themselves by visiting the settings in their internet browser. Many customers have said that the reliability and features of Nextiva have helped their business.
Here are some examples of what this service offers:
- Helps a business give the impression of a bigger, more experienced, and more polished organization by providing features such as an auto attendant, IVR system, call routing, etc.
- A routing policy that decides on routing calls based on several factors such as agent availability, relevant departments, and so on – this is through ACD or Automatic Call Distribution
- Recorded messages and audio that strive to help the customers help themselves
- A callback feature that customers can choose; this means that the VoIP phone service will return a call when the customer does not get in touch with a relevant agent; this will retain customer interest and possibly prevent a business from losing customers
Ooma offers call queuing as an upgrade for existing customers or service for new customers. It also seems like only customers of the Ooma Office Pro Plus are eligible for acquiring the call queuing service. The call queuing system here can help out with the following aspects of running a business:
- Handling calls if there is a peak busy time during the day, month, or year – Ooma guarantees no missed calls
- Handling a regular call center, thereby increasing production, enhancing customers service, and generally helping in business growth – mostly with call queue reports and analytics that can increase productivity
- Managing the experience between a call queue agent and potential customers
- Empowering agents by allowing them to log into or out of call queues when they complete their shift; the calls will then get routed to the other available agents within the relevant department
The Vonage options offer call queuing as an additional service that customers must pay separately. This might sound limiting. But it’s nice to know that businesses can just pay for the features they want instead of a multitude of free but little-used add-ons.
Here’s how Vonage can help you handle incoming calls with its call queuing services:
- It offers two pricing options for more flexibility. Choose between $250 a month for every call queue and unlimited usage or $14.00 each month per call queue with 3 cents added on for each minute of wait time
- The business can set up a sequence in advance. This ensures that they get all the customer data required before the relevant agent answers a call
- Setting up a specific extension to have the call queue is possible. You can then choose the hold line audio – a sound playing, sharing information about the business, or other options
- Fewer missed calls, marketing campaigns promotions, management of large call volumes, and customized experiences for engaging callers
Compared with RingCentral, Dialpad offers a 14-day trial of its call queuing services and other products. With this option, businesses can see whether this service can organize incoming calls. Here are a few key features of call queuing with Dialpad:
Here are a few key features of call queuing with Dialpad:
- In-queue callback: offers callers (who are on hold) a callback option instead of waiting around
- VIP queens: the default option is that calls get attended to in order of first come, first served. In emergency VIP queues, certain calls can get picked up first
- Custom queue greeting: this may consist of audio files, pre-recorded messages, or customized greetings according to the season, the time of the day, and other aspects
- Call routing options: choose between routing to the very next available agent, to the agent who has been free for the longest, or to a certain department
Call Queue System Conclusion
Whether you need an IVR system or something else, pay attention to your queue analytics and see what’s working.
With a proper system of call queues, all kinds of businesses can enhance their customer service. You want to take care of your potential audience from the very first call, so it’s essential to take help from software like the ones discussed above.
Call Queueing FAQs
Have some confusion about call queuing? The answers to the following questions may be useful:
Call queues will allow a call center to place incoming calls on hold until there is someone to deal with them. When the call center has a relevant agent free to deal with the caller, they connect the two parties. The caller can then voice their query, get routed to the billing department, or whatever is required.
Call queues route calls to various people in an organization or business. The people who receive these calls and help potential customers are also called call queue agents.