How to Help Your Customers Avoid the Dreaded ‘Please Hold’ Music of the Call Center

By: Kate Zimmerman

May 4, 2015

customer experience management

Life has moved online, and that’s exactly where your customers are seeking support. Today, many customers see the call center as a last resort after online searching and social media fail them. So how can you optimize the support experience to free up your call center agents?

While it is still very beneficial to continue monitoring and improving upon your call center, it is also now important to help your customers find answers through other mediums. Doing so will not only better serve your company – it will also improve your customer’s experience!

Social media engagement. Managing and monitoring your social media channels through social listening can be a very low-cost and effective way to handle customer feedback, but that by no means makes it easy. There are now customer experience management programs that will monitor your social media and measure the sentiment of your feedback so that you know when, and how, to act. The half-life of a tweet is anywhere from 18 minutes down to only 4. Your customers are expecting a fast response, and providing one could not only save you a customer, but also help create a caring and responsive brand image for all to see. Perhaps most importantly, it could also prevent an unneeded call center interaction that costs you far more money and time.

FAQ pages. Your call center creates a large amount of data. You can use that data to determine frequent issues that cause your customers to call you. These frequent pain points make great additions to your FAQ page on your website. Your customers spend a large portion of their day online and many will search for an answer to their question; make sure your website has the answer waiting for them to save them the hassle of a phone call — and you the cost of responding to that call.

Online chat. I was recently shopping online for a product that I had purchased many times in stores, but never online: wine. I was unable to find my exact product so I began browsing somewhat aimlessly on, trying to find an alternative. At that point, an online chat window popped up, saying something along the lines of ‘we noticed your search didn’t produce any results. Can we help you find something?’ Well, yes! I typed in what I was looking for and the agent immediately came back with three similar, and – importantly – similarly priced items, including one that was on a sale that put it in my price range. It was the simplest and most enjoyable process ever! Online chat agents are a cost-effective and simple solution to reducing call center volume. Oftentimes you can intercept your customer before they even realize they have a problem. This not only deflects a call, it also creates a positive image of your brand that will stick with your customers beyond their purchase.

Statistics show that keeping a customer is much less costly than obtaining a new one. Make sure that you are addressing their problems beyond just the phone. Monitoring your social media channels, frequently updating your FAQ page, and developing an online chat program are all effective ways to save you money and save your customers time.

To learn more about optimizing your call center, download our new CX Brief: 4 Quick Wins for Call Centers using Customer Experience Insights.


Kate Zimmerman is a Product Marketing Associate at Clarabridge. Kate focuses on building content that supports CX efforts, product marketing, analyst relations, and has become an industry expert in Customer Experience Management. Kate holds a B.A in Politics from the University of Virginia and can be found on Twitter at @kmzimm.