Joni Mitchell, a Canadian singer / song writer sang "Big Yellow Taxi" in 1970 - in the song, parking lots are viewed as bad compared to better alternatives like trees, and bees, and we think ACD's (Automated Call Distribution).
Call Parking is hurting your business and you may not even realize it. Jokes aside, this article explains why it’s bad, and better alternatives. The article attempts to use a real world example and digs into how the system works for both callers and your staff. Let us know if you can think of any improvements?
Call Parking is a feature that was introduced on many phone systems as ancient key systems (phones where every phone has line 1 to line 12 – you can see when a line is “in use”) started to be replaced by more advanced systems which were capable of things like call transfer, Newer systems could handle many more lines with many fewer buttons.
To see an example of a parking lot from the caller’s perspective, you don’t have to try very hard – Call a Staples for example (or [ a number of]many other businesses). Someone will answer your call, and tell you that they will find you the right person. It’s what they do next that that hurts your relationship with your clients. They put you in a “parking spot” where you can do nothing but listen to music or marketing. You can’t leave a message. You can’t tell them you will call back. You are trapped. Instead of a parking spot we think the term “cell” is more applicable because you can’t escape (unless you hang up and call again).
Next, they use a paging system to yell out through their business “Hey team! We’ve got a caller a question on spot #43”. IF there is a person available (they may be with clients, or on break or otherwise unavailable), one or more people might try to retrieve the call. If they try and fail a few times they may stop trying, assuming someone else will be there faster.
Meanwhile, you are on hold waiting, and listening to music or marketing… but you are getting annoyed.
Eventually you will ring back to reception. Where you may be asked again to explain who you were calling for, or why again. This process will repeat. They may even lose track of who you were and ask you again and again.
Eventually you will stop trying and either go to the store OR order the product on Amazon./p>
This hurts businesses every day as more an more people don’t feel they have the time to go – the value in local business is often in how well they can handle their callers.
It is a problem, but you can make a change.
With Automatic Call Distribution, calls can go directly to a system that both plays music or marketing but also allows the caller to leave a message if they choose to.
Queues or Automatic Call Distribution, or ACD for short are the answer.
With a queue, calls can go directly to a system that both plays music or marketing but also allows the caller to leave a message if they choose to.
Instead of being forced to hold or hang up the caller can decide to let you return their call later or they can wait.
Call takers can focus on the person they are speaking to, and that caller will feel better about the business because someone put them first.
Queues take care of calling to find an available agent (and they can log when they succeed and when they don’t – so you can learn when you need more staff instead of guessing!). There are many strategies which can be adapted as your pool of agents grows. You can ring everyone… or ring the person who has handled the fewest calls or ring preferred people and only ring additional staff if preferred people are busy. There are many options, which may be advised depending on your goals and staffing levels. Most importantly, call takers can be empowered to focus on the caller they are dealing with.
Gone are the days when new calls need to interrupt your team with a new call (that they need to park, and repark) just so they can go back to dealing with the caller they started with.
Focusing on one caller speeds up the process of handling the current job (no need to constantly apologize for the interruptions, no “hello again I’m back!”) by more efficiently handling each caller’s needs.
This makes your callers happy.
Happy callers will keep using your business.
For the sake of your business (and for Joni Mitchell), get rid of the parking lot and...
.....make ACD your paradise today!
Contact support using the form below to make the switch.