Contact Center Queues and How to Utilize Them

As a contact center, you face varying amounts of calls every day. Some days could be lighter, while on others your team is on the phone nonstop. What tools are available to you to help mitigate this?

A definition

Most business phone systems offer a wide range of features that help you better manage your call demands. One of these features is widely referred to as a call queue/call queueing. What this does is it lets calls be placed on hold before it is handled by an agent or a team.

During the period when a call is in a queue, a pre-recorded message or hold music can be played. Some IVR features can also be integrated during this period like, say, information gathering. This helps speed up the process so that when the call eventually gets picked up by an agent, their profile is already up, among other things.

A wallboard helps to give an overview of all the queues and agent status

Call Queue vs Ring Group

A popular misconception in the call center industry is that call queues and ring groups are the same thing. They do share certain similarities in features, as a matter of fact, but they differ in one crucial thing: complexity.

Call queueing is a more thorough software feature that lets you integrate features that could essentially benefit the customer. Ring groups, on the other hand, simply route a call to a pre-set number of extensions until it is picked up by a member of that group.

What causes long call queue times?

There are many reasons that causes longer than usual queue times. The usual suspects are the following:

  • Holidays
  • Understaffing
  • Improper training and misallocation of agents
  • Technical difficulties
  • Emergencies caused by international events/demands

Benefits of using call queueing

The goal of every contact center is to offer correct solutions in a timely fashion. This goal, however, continues to evolve the more the industry adopts complex technologies that eventually dictate customer demands and expectations.

What’s the best way to keep pace with the ever-evolving customer trends and expectations? Take advantage of the features available to you.

  1. Speeds up the call journey — A fully-optimized call queue is one that integrates all other relevant features.The IVR, for example, is an important feature that goes hand-in-hand with the call queue. It actually precedes it. When a customer calls in, the first point of contact would be the IVR — this is when they can input relevant information to their inquiry before they’re even assigned to a queue.
  2. Keeps callers preoccupied — some days can be extremely busy that your wait times can last longer than usual. Playing a well-worded playback message keeps callers in the loop and (possibly) entertained enough to stay on the line. This lessens your drop frequency and lets you handle calls appropriately.
  3. It gives customers options — According to this report made by Zendesk in 2020: “nearly 60% of consumers say waiting for extended periods of time to get the help they need is the number-one cause of a bad customer service interaction.” That being said, giving callers an option to call back when they can greatly enhances the customer experience for those who don’t have the time to stay on the line.
  4. It helps your team handle calls better and more efficiently — your call center agents are likely to be handling a barrage of calls on the daily. Giving them a fully-optimized call queue sets them up for success and lends them the right amount of time to be proficient at what they do.

Abandon Rates, Customer Resolution, and Employee Turnover

A career in customer service is not an easy one, and running a contact center is a juggling act of keeping your employees and customers happy at the same time. A good measure of this are the following:

Abandon Rates
A properly-implemented call queue flow is one that keeps callers on the line regardless of wait times. It is quite difficult to keep abandon rates low, but there are ways around it. Constantly updating your playback message to include pertinent events causing the longer than usual wait time can be extremely beneficial. Customers can be quite understanding if you keep them in the loop!

Customer Resolution
Achieving first call resolution should always be the ultimate goal of every contact center. This keeps customers happy, prevents your call queues from getting clogged up, and maximizes your team’s overall performance.

Employee Turnover
An unfortunate statistic that contact centers are too familiar with is employee turnover. Given the high-pressure nature of working in the industry, this number is relatively high. This affects not just the business, but the quality of service customers can expect as a result of an ever-revolving pool of agents. Keeping your customer service team happy can result in them staying in the company, retaining the quality of their service for longer and helping the end result for both business and customers.


Utilizing your call center queues is vital for a smooth and seamless customer journey. One can even go as far as saying that it can dictate your operation’s chances of success and failure, seeing as it goes hand-in-hand with important metrics like abandon rates and customer satisfaction.

The odds are that you are currently using a cloud-based contact center software, and the chances of you having these features are high. Using these tools (and using them well) can help you and your customer service team succeed in your business goals. Moreover, call queueing and IVR features are so customizable that you can dictate how the customer journey goes. In a marketplace that focuses on a seamless customer journey, having the right contact center solution offers benefits that you just can’t deny!

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