Design a Callback Strategy That Works for You and Your Callers
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.
Though not every caller will use it, many appreciate the option to have you call them back instead of waiting on hold. As with any technology, your implementation of your callback strategy has probably evolved over time.
If so, look at what you’re currently doing to see if it still makes sense, to ensure it’s the optimum execution to best facilitate communication between you and your callers.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you look at developing your callback strategy. Follow these tips to achieve the best results.
Where Are They in the Queue?
A much-appreciated courtesy you can give callers as they wait to talk to you is to let them know where they are in the queue. In short, how long before they can talk to somebody?
This is vital information for someone to know as they contemplate whether they should accept your offer of receiving a callback.
If they can stay in queue and talk with someone in a minute or two, most people will be happy to wait. But if the delay is much longer, most will opt for a callback.
What about Your Callback Queue?
Once someone asks for a callback, do they go into a separate queue or is it integrated with your new-call queue? Having separate queues, allows for dedicated agents. Most will handle new calls and the rest will handle callbacks.
Alternately you can prioritize callbacks, moving them ahead of new calls. Or you can prioritize new calls, moving callbacks to the end of the queue. There may not be one universally right answer here, but there is a right answer for your operation. Just be sure to make an informed decision.
What Is Your Maximum Callback Time?
Another consideration is if you want to set up a maximum threshold to make the callback.
If you wait too long, your customer may have mentally moved on to something else and isn’t ready to engage with your agent. Yet trying to place callbacks too quickly could jeopardize new-call responsiveness.
Consider what seems reasonable for the caller and doable for your operation.
What If You Can’t Make the Callback the Same Day?
Also develop a policy for what you’ll do if you get to the end of the day and there are still pending callbacks to make. Will you have staff stay late to make sure they happen?
Or will you roll those pending callbacks into the next day? If you do this, consider your customers’ reaction. It may not be good.
What If the Customer Isn’t Available When You Call?
Your customers are busy people, perhaps as busy as your agents. There’s a chance that when you call them back, they won’t be available. What should you do?
The worst reaction is to hang up and forget about them. You could leave a message and let them call you back. Or you could hang up and call them back in a few minutes. Even better would be to leave a message and call them back.
Should You Allow Scheduled Callbacks?
Putting callbacks in a general queue or having a separate callback queue supports optimum call center efficiency. But what about your customers waiting for you to call them back? Though it may be more work for you to let them schedule callbacks, it’s a smart customer-centric move.
Just be sure that someone calls them back when they request it.
Callback Strategy Summary
Offering to call customers back when you get busy is a feature that consumers increasingly expect call centers to offer. If they look for it and you don’t provide it, you’ll disappoint them. Disappoint them too often and they’ll take their business elsewhere.
Instead, follow these suggestions in developing your callback strategy, and you’ll score with your callers who expect you to call them back.
Read more in Peter’s Sticky series, including Sticky Sales and Marketing and Sticky Customer Service featuring his compelling story-driven insights and tips.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Connections Magazine, covering the call center teleservices industry. Read his latest book, Healthcare Call Center Essentials.