Calling time on delays and frustrations

As the summer holiday season swings into full flow airlines are warning travellers to and from a number of destinations to check in anything up to 4 hours early or face the risk of missing their flight. The reason for the delays has been laid squarely at the door of new EU rules which require enhanced security checks for passengers entering or leaving the Schengen area.

The EU facilitates passport free movement across countries which have signed up to the Schengen accord. So, for example, those travelling from Germany to France don’t even need to show their passport as they move across the border. However, the UK did not sign up to the Schengen agreement which means that the passports of passengers entering or leaving the Schengen area from the UK have to be run through security databases to check if individuals are on any threat list.  This is leading to substantial delays, particularly in certain airports which have failed to ensure that there is adequate staffing to meet the new demand.

The British may be known for a love of queuing but spending up to 8 hours of precious holiday time standing in line is perhaps a step too far. But then any time spent unnecessarily waiting in a queue comes at a cost. Whether we are standing in line at an airport, hanging around indoors waiting for a delivery or for a response to a call, or being told that our call is important to someone as the phone rings and rings, we are wasting time which we could more productively spend elsewhere.

So what’s the solution? Well whilst every problem will have its own unique set of circumstances, there are some ways in which businesses can help their customers and in the process reduce or remove the frustration which comes from unnecessary queuing. Take telephony for example. Given the level of telephone technology available nowadays there is little or no excuse for businesses to keep their customers hanging around.

Let’s start by taking a quick look at a company switchboard. Offering all the functionality of a large telephone system at a fraction of the cost, the company switchboard can help businesses to manage and route calls in order to speed up call answering. Combining single divert and hunt group functionality and capable of being reprogrammed whenever required, company switchboards can enable businesses to optimise call handling even at busy times.

This means that whether a business operates from a single office or multiple worldwide premises, the caller experience need not be downgraded thanks to an endlessly ringing telephone. Businesses may also find that by deploying company message lines, answers to common queries can still be provided without the need for human intervention.

Of course there are times, particularly in smaller organisations, when telephone answering just isn’t possible. Those are the times when switching to answerphone or transferring to a virtual assistant may be the only solution. Even here, as long as the core pathway is designed to switch quickly and efficiently, customers may still be able to receive a prompt response from one medium or another.

When the messages are taken via an answerphone or virtual assistant, the key to continuing customer satisfaction is to ensure that expectations are managed and calls returned as promptly as possible. So if you aren’t going to be the office for the rest of the afternoon, make sure that message gets through and ensure that the call is returned as soon as practicable.

Customer satisfaction and the reputation of a business are made up of a whole range of different factors. By taking steps to cut call queuing times businesses at least have control over one aspect of their relationship with customers and suppliers. Even if you’re caught up in those queues on your return from holiday, your telephone system can still be working hard on your behalf.

Written by Alison