How many times have you called a contact center or a customer service line only to be met with long periods of silence? Whether it’s the time before you’re connected to a live agent or periods between active conversation with your customer service representative, these stretches of silence are referred to as dead air time - and they can be deadly to a contact center and the company they represent.
If you’re like most call centers, you’re always on the hunt for ways to lessen dead air time. Doing so can majorly benefit your business by boosting consumer confidence in your brand and enhancing customer satisfaction - but how can you kill that dead air time before it kills your metrics?
Here are a few tricks to keep in mind to keep dead space to a minimum:
Train Your Agents Properly
Before your agents can work toward your goal of reducing dead time on the phone, they need to understand why that is important. It is also important for you to train your agents as to how your supervisory team expects them to handle calls so that they can minimize wasted time and maximize efficiency and productivity. Training primes your agents for success by setting goals and establishing expectations that they can use as guidelines. A well-trained agent is much more likely to adhere to the following pieces of advice than a novice representative, so make regular training a priority for every staff member.
Keep Your Consumer Posted
Constant updates on what your agent is doing may seem unnecessary from their perspective, but for your consumer, it can mean the difference in a satisfying call experience and one that leaves them feeling uncomfortable and excluded.
Your caller cannot typically see what is happening unless you are utilizing a screen-sharing service. Since they are going into the situation “blind”, they are trusting the agent to handle the problem and keep them updated on what is happening as it is being resolved. One excellent way to rid your conversation of dead air is to fill those potential quite moments with frequent updates. Tell your caller what is happening as you move through the process and reassure them that you’re making progress toward their goal. This will satisfy their curiosity and soothe any anxiety they have, as well as take care of unnecessary silence.
Always Ask Before Putting Someone on Hold
Most callers do not like being put on hold. While it is often necessary during a long call or to assist with a more complicated request, putting a consumer on hold should always be treated as something that an agent understands that the consumer will be wary of.
Ask your caller before placing them on hold. Don’t tell them that you’re going to put them on hold, ask permission. This way, it gives them the sense that they are in control of what happens during the call and that they chose to go onto the hold. They are less likely to become upset and frustrated by the silence that occurs during a hold this way - and you are free to accomplish what needs to be done during the hold without worry.
Make Conversation with Your Consumer
While keeping your calls brief in the name of reducing AHT - average handling time - is certainly a priority in most contact centers, there is no reason why you can’t deploy some friendly conversation in the name of space-filling. This is a great tactic to use to prevent dead air time, as it both prevents awkward and uncomfortable silence and also helps the consumer feel more at ease with the conversation at hand.
Offer Discounts, Deals, and Promotions
Still looking for things to talk about to fill the time? Rather than letting the line go quiet, mention some specials, promotions, or great deals and discounts your company or partner agency is offering while your customer waits. If the process they are waiting to have finished takes a while, it may be both interesting to them and in the best interest of your agent to fill the potential silence with information about these deals. You never know when an offhand comment could lead to an additional sale or conversion!
Use Technology to Avoid Dead Air Time
Cutting down on dead air time isn’t solely the responsibility of live human beings. It can also be done using the myriad of technology currently available to contact center agents and managers. Whether your center is primarily inbound, outbound, or a combination of both, there are tools and technology available to help you keep your conversations flowing and keep silence from killing your calls.
Consider any of the following if you want to trim awkward silence from your consumer’s call experience:
- Improving your hold or waiting experience with music or information that is shared during these waits, rather than silence.
- Offering call-back features, so callers do not have to wait on silent lines for a live agent to speak to them.
- Choosing a better outbound dialer, so live agents are connected to leads automatically and no one is ever left answering a silent call.
- Enhancing your self-service and IVR systems so that consumers can serve themselves or direct their own calls appropriately, cutting down on wait time and transfer time.
- Adding a recording solution, so all calls can later be replayed and reviewed for training purposes and to identify how improvements can be made in reducing silence.
Looking for the tools and technology that will help you and your staff avoid too much dead air time? You’ll find it - and everything you need to outfit your operation for success - with the industry experts at ChaseData. No matter what your center’s needs are, we have what you need to meet them. Give us a call today to learn more!