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Call Center Queue Time: Helpful Ways To Manage It: №1
Business Tips

Call Center Queue Time: Helpful Ways To Manage It

December 6, 2021
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If you want to provide high-quality services to your customers, call center queue time is one of the critical factors. It makes your customers satisfied and reduces the call abandonment rate.

When a call center fails to handle wait times well, the quality of service drops. This leads to customers having a poor experience and possibly leaving negative reviews. They might even switch to a different call center.

Call agents have various tools, techniques, and strategies to improve their services and reduce call center queue issues. To learn more about these in detail, continue reading our article.

Call Center Queue Time: Helpful Ways To Manage It: №1

What Is Call Center Queue Time?

Call center queue time is simply the duration a customer waits before their call is answered. Customers are placed on hold in a line and speak with a call agent when it's their turn.

Essentially, it's the time a customer spends waiting to get a response to their questions through an interactive voice system.

The length of call queues is crucial for effective customer service. Shorter queue times lead to better customer experiences. To achieve this, customer service agents use various tools and strategies to decrease the average time spent on each call. This allows them to answer calls more quickly. When a call center successfully reduces its queue time, customers tend to be more satisfied.

Why Is Average Time In Call Center Queues Important?

The average wait time in call center queues is key to ensuring customer satisfaction and positive feedback.

Improving customer experience

Everyone appreciates fast service. Keeping customers on hold or waiting can frustrate them. Therefore, to keep customers satisfied, call centers should minimize long wait times in queues.

If customers are kept waiting too long, they may become unhappy with the service. This can lead to lower customer satisfaction ratings. Over time, if waiting becomes a regular issue, customers might choose to go to a different company. So, it's important to reduce the time customers spend waiting. Doing so is an effective way to enhance their experience.

Note: If you want to learn more ways to deal with angry and annoyed customers, you can read: How To Deal With Angry Customers.

Lowering call abandonment rate

Both customers and businesses prefer call centers with shorter wait times. When customers have to wait too long, they often hang up or consider taking their business elsewhere.

By reducing the average queue time, call center agents can handle more calls, which naturally lowers the rate of abandoned calls.

Gaining clear and honest feedback

Long queue times are not indicative of quality service. It's challenging to receive honest feedback if the service is inefficient. Call centers should employ various strategies to shorten queue times to ensure they receive clear and honest feedback.

Note: Keeping queue times short is vital for call centers. It's important not just to prevent customers from waiting too long, but also to ensure their inquiries are fully addressed. Customers can become upset if they feel that representatives are rushing through their calls.

Call Center Queue Time: Helpful Ways To Manage It: №1

What Is Acceptable Average Call Queue Time?

The length of time customers wait on hold greatly affects their satisfaction. Therefore, it's important to keep average call queue times short. A common standard in call centers is the 80/20 service level, meaning 80% of calls are answered within 20 seconds. This helps ensure that the next customer doesn't wait too long.

A 2014 study by American Express revealed that the longest wait time customers would tolerate was 13 minutes.

In 2017, Arise conducted a similar study and found that about two-thirds of consumers are okay with waiting less than two minutes. However, 13% of customers said that no hold times are acceptable. Long wait times can be a major source of frustration and annoyance.

Approximately 34% of customers end their calls if they are kept waiting too long, and they often choose not to call back. This behavior, known as the Abandonment Rate, reflects customer dissatisfaction.

Key Point: In today's world, where social media and e-commerce are prevalent, customers expect immediate service. For a call center to thrive and succeed, meeting customer expectations for quick responses is crucial.

What Factors Create Queues In Call Centers?

For reducing a call center queue time, it's important to first identify the underlying causes. Understanding these factors allows for prompt resolution of issues. Here are the key reasons why customers often experience extended queue times before reaching an agent.

Seasonal variations

Call centers often experience fluctuating call volumes based on the time of year, week, or even day. These variations are closely linked to the nature of your business and can change regularly.

For instance, many call centers receive a higher number of calls on Monday mornings, especially if they were closed over the weekend. Lunch hours, typically between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., also see an increase in call volume.

Additionally, certain times of the year are busier than others. Retailers and businesses often get more calls during the holiday season. Insurance companies might see a spike in January when new policies are introduced. The IRS, for example, is particularly busy from February to May, the peak period for tax filing.

To manage these peak periods effectively, call centers should identify their busiest seasons and consider hiring additional staff. This approach not only reduces queue times but also enhances quality of customer support services and reduces frustration for both customers and employees.

Call handling time

Call handling time is a key metric indicating that agents should aim to manage calls quickly and thoroughly. As call handling time increases, more calls accumulate in the queue, leading to longer queue times for customers.

Providing excellent training and efficient tools can significantly reduce call handling time. Solutions like omnichannel systems or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) can enhance agent efficiency. Additionally, integrating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can streamline agents' post-call tasks.

At Simply Contact, we prioritize these strategies to ensure quick and comprehensive customer support.

Staff availability

Ensure you have enough staff during peak hours to handle the workload. However, simply having enough staff isn't the only important factor. Proper scheduling is crucial to efficiently minimize customer waiting times.

Note: Consider hiring remote staff during peak seasons to help maintain call quality.


Poor or outdated technology is also a hurdle in reducing queue time. Your call center should be equipped with the latest technology and software. This will enable your team to serve customers faster and with greater confidence.

Call Center Queue Time: Helpful Ways To Manage It: №1

6 Tips for Improving Call Center Queue Management

Call centers can enhance their services by implementing various strategies. Here are some effective tips for reducing queue time:

  1. Implement Queue Callback: A valuable method is the queue callback feature. This allows callers to exit the queue and receive a callback from a customer service agent.
  2. Set Up an IVR System: An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system can efficiently manage calls. This automated system is especially useful for addressing basic inquiries, helping to keep queues shorter.
  3. Adjust Call Queue Settings: Introducing options that allow callers to bypass the queue can be beneficial. For instance, callers can choose to go directly to voicemail.
  4. Utilize On-Call Agents: Having on-call agents available to assist callers stuck in the queue can significantly reduce their queue time.
  5. Empower Agents to Manage Their Queues: Allowing agents to monitor and manage their own queues can lead to quicker resolution of calls. This autonomy enables agents to address situations more effectively, ultimately improving service quality.
  6. Use Software to Track Average Queue Time: Software tools can monitor average queue times and identify factors contributing to longer waits. This information is crucial for making improvements.

These methods streamline operations and improve customer satisfaction. For specialized assistance in implementing these strategies, feel free to reach out to us at Simply Contact.

Our Summary

Effective queue management in call centers is crucial for their success and plays a significant role in building customer loyalty. Therefore, it's important for call centers to implement various strategies and tools to minimize queue time and enhance customer satisfaction.

This article thoroughly explores the factors contributing to longer queue times in call centers and offers practical solutions to address these challenges. By applying the tips and techniques discussed, you can effectively manage your call queues.

If you're interested in professional assistance, feel free to contact us. We specialize in resolving call queue issues, which can lead to improved customer acquisition, retention, and positive feedback from satisfied customers.

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