Easy Tips That Work to Reduce the Waiting Time in Call Centers


Nothing can be more annoying than being placed on hold by call center staff. Customers look for fast and satisfactory answers when they dial a call center. Bad hold practices are one of the primary reasons why many customers sever their ties with a company.

Customers get disappointed when they have to place their phone on speaker and listen to the hold music, waiting interminably for the call center staffer to respond to their calls. Even though it looks inevitable in some cases, we can definitely do something to reduce waiting time in call centers and make the hold time experience better for the customers.

We have created a list of some helpful tips for reducing call center wait time!


Standard hold time

Standard hold time


If placing a customer on hold for too long can leave a customer highly discontented, how long is the ideal hold time? Various standards on hold time suggest that a customer should be answered within 20 seconds. But if the customer is placed on hold and the staffer knows that it’s going to take more than 20 seconds to get back to him, it’s better to let the customer know that he will have to hold the line for longer because people are working on his complaint/request.

According to one study, somebody seeking technical support would hold the line longer, on average, for 100 seconds while those related to sales would hold the line for up to 45 seconds. Here are some easy tips to reduce waiting time in call center:

When a customer calls up the call center, there are two ways he could be placed on hold: first, immediately, and second, after hearing him out while looking for a solution. Here, we have prepared a list of ways that can reduce waiting time in the call center.

Keep an updated knowledge base


Customers hold times can be reduced significantly if the call center staffers have quick access to critical and relevant information that can help them offer solutions and answers to customers quickly. Keep the necessary knowledge base handy so that the staffer can quickly refer to it during a call and answer the customer’s query quickly and satisfactorily. The knowledge base can be in the form of a data-sheet, spreadsheet, shortcut to relevant documents and company website.

If the call center staffer can access the requested information quickly, the customer will have a shorter hold time. Besides, making the information contained in the knowledge base available to the customers, it can also be made available to the call center in a special desktop version.

This will help the call center access the information and help the customer even when the customer is facing problems in accessing the information due to poor internet or some other issues.


Live chat, Email, SMS


Besides, call center services, customer care is essential also through other means such as email, SMS, and live chat. This will reduce the call center’s hold time as well free up its time from calls that can be preempted by live chat, SMS or email.


Monitor Performance


Listen to live calls, chip in


There are many metrics that can be employed to assess and monitor the performance of the call center staff. Besides, the call center solution should have features that allow senior executives to listen in on or talk to the staff during a live call without letting the customer hear the conversation, or even join in a complex call or handle tough customers. These features allow the call center to reduce hold time by pinpointing what’s leading to satisfactory or unsatisfactory customer experiences.


Listen to call recordings


Call monitoring is an important tool that can help plan more effective staff training, reduce call transfers and call to management. All of these factors will reduce hold time as well as handle time in the call center. The call center manager can plug in to call recordings for the period when he is not available to monitor the calls himself. Listen to the recordings to identify inefficiencies and other factors that shoot up handle – and take action on your findings.

Use the recordings for training


During the training of call center staff, recordings of calls should be used to show how a call was well-handled or poorly-handled. The staff should also be given an abundance of common case scenarios so that they are ready to handle multiple calls on similar topics quickly and efficiently. The training session based on call recordings can highlight how the call center should provide accurate information, follow procedures, and keep the promises made by the company.


Call Back


Let the call center staff have a clear instruction to request a call back offer if he finds the solution that the customer is seeking will take some time. Instead of having him holding the line, give him a clear timeline and call him back with the information/solution. Allow your customer to carry on with his life and work and don’t play phone tag with him.


Call Routing


Call Routing is an essential feature for call centers that ensures that the customer’s calls are answered as quickly as possible. There are some ring strategies that work very well in a call center setup.

Round Robin: This ring setup allows the phone to ring at a call center staff’s desk for a set duration and if it is not answered it gets transferred to another desk. This continues until the phone is answered.

Least Used: This ring set up makes sure that the customer’s call goes to a staff member who has been waiting for the call for the longest duration.

Ring All: This ring set up makes all the phones available to the call center staff ring simultaneously, allowing the one who is free to answer the call.


IVR settings


The call center phones can be equipped with an interactive voice response (IVR) system that makes sure that the caller is routed to the correct department right from the start instead of being transferred to another staff or department midway his call.


Final Thoughts

These easy tips to reduce call center hold time can also help the call center to improve productivity by focusing on better customer satisfaction.



Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.

Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.

StephanieEasy Tips That Work to Reduce the Waiting Time in Call Centers