It’s time to ditch inbound calls, here’s why and how
Updated: Apr 1
Let’s be honest, inbound call centers aren’t going away anytime soon. There are still many customers who prefer to talk to support over the phone (a whopping 69% of them actually). However, making an inbound call to support usually isn’t the most enjoyable experience.
Dealing with transfers, dropped calls, and ineffective IVR flows can be extremely frustrating for customers. In a survey of 2,500 consumers, a third of respondents said they would not be willing to be put on hold at all, with only 4.1% willing to wait on hold as long as it takes to reach an agent. That means, up to 96% of your customers don’t want to deal with the dreaded wait and will try to resolve their issues through other channels.
It shouldn’t be this difficult or frustrating for customers to get support, which is why it may be time to reevaluate your customer service strategy and limit inbound calls.
Why make the move to more productive support channels
Up to 38% of customers are likely to churn if their issue isn't resolved after their first call. In this scenario, your customer is left with a negative impression of your company and you’re left with missed opportunities and, potentially, revenue – it’s a lose-lose.
38% of customers are likely to churn if their issue isn't resolved after their first call.
While voice interactions will always be an integral part of customer support, inbound calls can create repetitive, frustrating experiences for both your customers and agents.
The good news is that there are plenty of more productive ways to support your customers, while also improving key business metrics. Even better, you can cut costs along the way. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of shifting away from inbound support calls.
Create better experiences for customers
Relying heavily on phone support will only get you so far. If you expand your support into other channels, you can impact your customer experience (CX) in the following ways:
Meet customers where they’re looking for support. Thirty-one percent of customers do not prefer to speak with an agent over the phone, but sometimes, it’s their only option. If you limit your support only to calls, you could lose out on customers who have questions but aren’t willing to pick up the phone.
Minimize customer effort. Inbound calls are simply not efficient and often require much more effort from customers. Between long-winded IVR flows, shuffled calls between agents or departments, and repetitive conversations, customers can leave a call feeling more agitated than when their issues first arose.
Reduce wait times. Every second counts when a customer is waiting for support. In fact, 73% of customers consider time a critical factor in determining the quality of a customer service experience. If customers can resolve their issues through other support channels instead of waiting on hold, they’re less likely to switch to a competitor.
Reduce operational costs
Each phone call costs your business between $9-$15 on average. So, taking every call that comes in can get expensive. If you cut back on the number of inbound calls, you’ll see a significant impact on your bottom line.
And, the fewer calls you take, the fewer agents you need. With a lower baseline headcount, you don’t have to spend as much on onboarding and training. Additionally, you can also focus more time on your agent experience and less money backfilling roles with rapid turnover.
Do you know how much your call center is costing you? Download our free cost per call calculator to find out now.
When you should take inbound customer service calls
In certain circumstances, a one-on-one phone call is absolutely necessary. But how do you identify those necessary calls?
Some examples of inbound calls your team should be taking include VIP customers, critical or complex cases, or accounts with call-specific service-level agreements (SLAs). By narrowing down the calls you accept, you free up agents’ time to address other inquiries via chat, social, or callbacks.
How to scale back on inbound calls and improve efficiency
As mentioned above, you should still accept some inbound calls, but only the ones that matter the most. And while it might feel like a difficult transition at first, it will pay off in the long run. Here’s how you can start converting inbound calls into more productive channels and improve the efficiency of your support organization.
Implement callback functionality
Rather than waiting on hold in long queues, customers can request a callback when an agent is available. Callbacks not only minimize wait times but also route calls to the best-fit agent and offer more context into customers’ issues.
The callback method allows agents to answer questions more efficiently and customers to get answers quicker. When agents have time to find a solution before getting on the phone, they can reduce average handling time and improve customer satisfaction.
And, if you want to take your callback capabilities a step further, you can use our real-time AI customer care manager, Spotter. With automations triggered by custom business rules, Spotter can take actions like notifying a team lead when a callback wait time has been breached or sending a Slack notification when a high-priority customer requests a callback.
Leverage digital channels
Aside from offering an alternative voice option, you can also provide real-time support on digital channels like live chat and social media — both of which are growing in popularity. In fact, more than half of consumers prefer to contact a company in real time online rather than call for support.
With a smart help desk software, like Wix Answers, you can easily integrate your social channels including Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram for seamless social communication. You can also auto-route chat tickets to the best available agent, automate personalized responses, and provide quick answers with dynamic knowledge base article recommendations. The goal is to provide support wherever your customers are looking for it, and most of the time it’s not the phone.
If you empower customers to resolve simple issues on their own through help centers and widgets, there’s less of a need to speak to an agent. But beyond enabling customers to help themselves, self-service can unlock even more value for your business:
Enable your agents to focus on more complex projects, instead of one-touch tickets.
Use analytics to evaluate which self-service solutions your customers prefer, such as help widgets or a knowledge base.
Gain valuable insights from your customers’ self-service activity to inform content gaps on your site.
Reduce the need for headcount and operational spend while addressing issues quicker and more effectively.
Inbound calls will always play a large part in customer service, but they are no longer the only support option available. If you’re ready to minimize customer effort and start making your agents more efficient, consider putting down (some of) the phones and expanding into other support channels.