Network-level queuing or premise-based – what’s best for your company?

Does your current telephony solution allow you to manage and efficiently distribute your call queues?

For most call centers, call queuing is a necessary evil. In an ideal world, each and every call would be immediately connected to an agent without the caller ever joining a queue but in reality this simply  isn’t practical, or at  least not without a significantly over-staffed call center. Call volumes fluctuate at different times of the day and on different days of the week, and the problem can be made worse by popular advertising campaigns, new catalogues/brochures landing on customers door mats and time sensitive offers. This kind of fluctuating demand  is one of the most common challenges that call center managers have to deal with. Generally speaking the decision comes down to this: do you manage the queue at a network-level or go for a premise-based solution?

The limitations of premise-based queuing

Premise-based call queuing requires your call center to have enough telephone lines to queue calls on its local telephone system, including sufficient to handle those potentially huge spikes in call traffic. This can often mean that the full queuing capacity is only ever fully utilised a few times a year, and for the rest of the time all those extra telephone lines are simply generating unnecessary cost.

The other problem with queuing calls on a local telephone system comes when it is necessary for changes to be made or for calls to be routed to alternative call centers (perhaps an outsourced call center) as this requires two lines per call, one on the way into your phone system and another on the way to the alternative call center. It is also common for these changes to be made by your telephone system maintainer or IT team, which can be both time consuming and costly.

Handling your call queue at the network level

The other approach is network-level call queuing which allows you to queue calls without using your local lines, affording you the ability to queue a much larger number of calls more efficiently and without the additional cost or resource. Network-level queuing is ideal for ‘everyday queueing’ as well as during those times when your call traffic spikes due to marketing activity or simply increased consumer demand for a product or service. With an almost unrestricted capacity, network-level call queuing allows you to focus on delivering the best service to your customers, without worrying about your capacity to queue calls and customers becoming frustrated by an engaged tone.

Unlike queuing calls on a local telephone system, network-level call queues can be configured and managed in real-time via a user friendly web interface, which means changes to queues and call routing can be managed by a supervisor or team leader, rather than your IT team or telephone system maintainer. On top of this, there is the additional benefit of fully customizable real-time queue dashboards, which show you exactly what is happening in all of your network-level queues from anywhere with an internet connection. Significant cost savings can also be generated by moving your call queues to network level, as those lines reserved for call queues are no longer required.

How Delfont Mackintosh benefited from moving to network-level queuing

One of Syntec’s customers, Delfont Mackintosh, a leading theater operator in London’s West End, has recently moved from premise-based to network-level queuing. Due to the nature of its business, the quantity of call traffic received at the company’s booking office varies wildly. Huge peaks of incoming calls occur shortly after the release of a newspaper or internet advert promoting a show. Once the allocation of tickets has been sold, traffic dies down to a much lower level.

This situation was extremely difficult for Delfont Mackintosh to manage in terms of having sufficient agents available to take the calls during peak times and the availability of lines on their local telephone system for call queuing. Customers were increasingly dissatisfied as they received a busy tone during spikes in call traffic, and the business was losing sales as a direct result. Moving to a network-level solution has solved these problems and helped Delfont Mackintosh provide a much higher standard of service to  its customers.

More information about how Delfont Mackintosh has benefited from deploying network-level queuing is in this case study.

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