Moving into the future with better on-hold options for clients, providers and businesses.
Right this moment, I’ve been sitting on hold for 18 minutes with my insurance company. I just want to talk to a human, but … there are more people like me than there are of them.
The Journey of On-Hold:
When the phone was invented, they had no vision for what would be the day of us walking around with supercomputers in our pockets, our eyes glued to them, getting far more than a conversation from them. Weather, stock tips, images of grand children, a game of cards and far more than we have space here to list. But quickly, one limitation was discovered and a workaround created.
What happens when two or more people call the same person at the same time? You can either reject the call (busy signal) or let them accept the call and put the other caller in a holding place. And voila – the hold button was born to the scorn of most of the modern world.
The next leap forward was letting people listen to something while they sat in that space. Tape players fit that bill for a long time, then CD players, then USB players….you get where this is going. These changed the delivery of the same service, but that’s about it: Music and Messaging while you wait – forever, it seems.
Then, along came VoIP and voice as data. So we of course modernized all aspects of the caller experience, right? Nope. Even with this magical evolution of telecommunications in the digital world where we can have Virtual Reality chess games with zombies in our living rooms, we only have two options while we wait for a live human being:
1. Silence – (as selected by many large organizations like University of Virginia) because the frustrations and limitation of multi-tenant Broadworks systems. That 1970’s modernization now doesn’t work, it starts at the beginning every-time, it sounds horrible when mixed (music needs a different codec than voice)
2. Or extremely generic music and messaging. On-hold music and messagingpioneered in the 60s and 70’s when tape players were hooked to phone systems. I’m still on hold with my insurance company and the very generic music (which is not inspiring at all!) interspersed with “we are transitioning to new software to better serve our members and providers, we appreciate your patience at this time, please continue to hold, your call is important to us, your call will be handled in the order it was received”. No kidding Sherlock? I’ve heard that so often now I wrote it from memory because this has been my life for the last 29 minutes and 45 seconds. I think I would pay money to make it stop at this point.
So can we all agree that there will be times that more people are going to call than we have people ready to take those calls?
So…. What Happens Next?
How about this insurance company give me control of what I listen to? News, Podcast, my choice of music genre, messaging etc. Give me control of my life and my time, and I’ll be happier when I get on the call with your overworked staff who just got off the call with the last frustrated person. In fact, that wait will not have seemed as long.
I bet now would be a good time for my insurance company to run survey of my satisfaction, or ask what other offerings are important to me for market research, any number of things…heck, you could even make it a game. Make me think that I move up the queue for every trivia question about your company I get right. Now I’m both engaged and passing time after that little button got pushed.
Dynamic and Targeted On-Hold Content.
Now, because there are these things in the tech world called API’s, that allow companies to share information back and forth, my insurance company could know who I am while I’m on hold, my latest customer satisfaction, what I have outstanding, and send me targeted messages, humor etc. Or, if this was a commerce situation, market to me things that are targeted to me specifically, not everyone. If I’ve recently bought a TV, the latest Atmos sound bar would take it to the next level. It would be more sensible to market this item to me, than to someone who has already bought one.
So, since that “Hold” button is going to be pushed, shouldn’t what happens next be something that gives us Control, Engages us with Interactivity, and/or is Dynamic and Targeted to me as an individual? Don’t make your company seem like it’s in the 1970’s or 1980’s. Modernize your customer experience far more than making your lobby have digital signage for way finding, or a menu board at a restaurant.
Unless you plan on spending your resources on having enough people to answer every call no matter what, (poor utilization of resources) you can choose to go with silence (poor customer experience) you can choose not to modernize and just accept 1970’s technology, thereby showcasing to your customers the limit of your vision for their experience. Or you can modernize, and reach out to CUBE to bring Control, Interactivity and Engagement, and Dynamic and Targeted Experiences to your Caller Experience.
Why does it matter?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I spend any money getting people to call my organization?
- Do I know where I spent that money to get this caller in? Is that important information?
- How happy with me are my callers?
- If I can keep someone happy 40% longer, what does that mean? More sales, happier customers?
- Does happier customers relate to keeping call center staff longer, decreasing my on boarding cost?
- Is this person calling in to buy somethign? If Amazon thinks it’s worthwhile to suggest similar products to what they have bought before – would that help you?
- Is Customer Satisfaction ratings important to me?
- Is our organization an industry leader when it comes to modernization and transformation?
- Can I do A B testing today?
- If I could get Dynamic Analytics from my callers, what could I improve?
This is just the beginning. Digital Transformation can happen when “that button” gets pushed, and all you need to start is a conversation.
Take control of what happens next, and in turn, empower your customers like it’s almost 2020 – because it is!