The Power of Broadcast Announcements

Story Time

As the manager of a contact centre for a major bank, part of my team supports our online customer account portal, with triple redundancy this usually ticks along nicely, at least from a customer perspective. Today though, it’s all gone wrong and online services are down. Customers bombard my support team with calls to report the outage and things I don’t like begin to happen:

  • Queues become saturated with duplicate calls

  • Call volumes have two extra zeros and forecasting is now out the window

  • Service Levels are in serious jeopardy

The estimated time to restore services is one hour. I have two courses of action: continue allowing agents to answer calls and explain to each customer individually that we are aware of the outage and estimate a resolution in one hour; or I can find a mechanism to get this information to the customer without tying up queues and agents unnecessarily.

Door Number Two

Using functionality already available in the telephony system, it’s possible to enhance your design by adding a message into the incoming portion of your call flows, playing before a customer enters a queue. We call this a broadcast announcement.

 
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Without going into the minutia, this design concept has two stand-out features:

  • Non-technical users control the wording of the announcement and can change it at any time

  • The same users can switch the announcement on and off at will

What’s the Point?

By recording and enabling a broadcast announcement simply saying “We are aware of the outage, services will resume in approximately one hour”, we have solved three problems:

  • Customers have access to the information they need without having to queue

  • Duplicate calls reporting the outage are encouraged to abandon but at a point in my call flow where they won’t be measured against contact centre performance

  • Genuine calls have lower wait times as agents are not wasting time confirming the outage

Versatility

This isn't just a solution to a specific problem, broadcast announcements are an enhancement that can be used anywhere to provide customers with additional information, manage expectation or just market your latest product.

Tell customers that inclement weather has stopped half of the agents making it to work or that a network issue is causing poor line quality.

It’s a simple and low cost process to implement and it’s powerful. One of my favourite tools in the design tool box.

Laurie McLaughlin