Monday, April 8, 2013

Cloud Call Center ACD,Queue management and Service Level Efficiency

Now that you have decided that you need a call center for your business -  and also that you have taken care of the basic estimate of number of agents required etc -, it is time to delve into some core features/necessities of the day to day operations of a call center.
Some common questions we come across is what if all my agents are busy at peak load? What if there is no one to take the calls? What is the Call treatment when a customer calls at such an instance?

All these lead to a discussion on Queue Management with ACD (Automatic Call Distribution - we will go in detail on ACD in our next article) and how it helps your business in increasing customer satisfaction or a direct revenue addition. In this article, we will discuss the following:
  • Why is Queue Management required?
  • Call Queuing mechanisms
  • How many queues can a contact center handle?
  • How can the management make use of Queues?
Why is Queue Management required?

To answer this question ,In a recent deployment we did - The customer was using a system which could hunt numbers and connect. It did not have ACD nor queue management system. The effect was the customer thought that they had enough agents to answer the calls. All the extra calls are going to voicemail. Once Ozonetel's Cloud Contact Center - was implemented, there was an immediate turnaround in the answered calls due to queue management as well as 50% increase in customer satisfaction for those who were calling the contact center( Their calls were not disconnected abruptly and they connected faster due to ACD) A graphical representation of this analysis is presented in Figure-1 in a Pie Chart.

The data presented makes it very clear that for any Call Center implemented, Queue management is a must without which you not only make customers unhappy but also lose potential business.

Call Queuing mechanisms

Various call queuing methods can be deployed for your contact center.What should be the call treatment while the customer has gone in queue and is waiting for an agent?. Is he a VIP customer? Is it a payment transaction call waiting in queue ( potential business)?Some advanced implementations include 
  • priority queuing of customer calls ( for VIP customers) based on phone numbers
  • for a particular transaction type 
  • for a particular choice in the IVR 
Though there are various options available in standard contact center implementations, you need to think through the business processes and decide the right methods for maximum impact.

The final step in Queuing is having a limit on the Queue time and size ( Major impact is for Toll Free Numbers - see below). But once you limit the time & size, you need to have the customer call ended in a professional way. This is where Fallback Options come in - Do you want the customer to leave a VoiceMail? Maybe ask him in IVR if he wants a Call Back?Maybe you have free agents in another Skill or another location - Do you want to route the call there?

How many queues can a contact center handle?

Let's get this short and straight - A Call Center can not have unlimited queues. It is limited by the number of E1 lines (PRI lines) if you are running a PSTN contact center or by the bandwidth you have in case you have been able to get VOIP lines from the operator directly. In case some one makes you believe otherwise , Do Not.

So always mix up your queue with a timeout and always have a fallback after a minimal wait time. As discussed above,Potential fall back can be Voicemail, routing to another skill or an IVR option where customer goes through self service or requests a call back.

Also, if you are having Toll Free Number , then queuing does add up to your cost. So be sure about the number of queues ( Queue Sizing) you want to have because every additional customer in queue is adding to your toll free minutes and thus increase your costs. To give an example, one of our customers has intelligently used queue sizing and has put a limit to half the number of agents ( The standard will be 1:1 queuing) and rest of the calls ( after the queue limit) are automatically sent to voicemail.

How can the management make use of Queues? 

Though queuing is not desired by most contact centers either due to stringent SLA norms or due to very good policies on customer user experience management, it is an inevitable event in any contact center. Once you have accepted that, you can utilize the opportunity of wait time by the customers for the following:

  1. Play new offers/discounts thus increasing sales
  2. Move customers to interact online by playing the relevant messages and reduce your contact center costs subsequently
  3. Give the customers right info. on the queue 
  4. Prioritize your VIP customers and get higher transaction values for your business
  5. Reduce costs on Toll Free by managing Queue size


You need to reach the point of Zen, Realize that "You can not avoid queuing" unless you have overloaded the agent roster with more than 250% capacity. There will always be a peak load and being practical, you need to roster agents for the average. You should be ready to accept a certain % of pick rate. If 100% answered rate is required , then be ready to invest in at least 3X of the normal contact center cost in terms of agents and infrastructure.

Using Queues, you can improve your answered rates and also manage the contact center operations with the average number of agents required. So go ahead, prepare your self to have some queues and manage them

About us - Cloud Agent:

Our product – is India’s first of its kind Call Center solution on the cloud. We have taken care of all the above parameters discussed, to ensure that our customers can grow on the same system from a small Contact center to a full blown customer experience management system. To know more, email us at or contact us on our toll free 1800 200 0820.


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