• May 11, 2012
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Verizon and VHT Help Organizations Dial Down Hold Times

Verizon Enterprise Solutions and Virtual Hold Technology (VHT) yesterday launched a service that can provide callers with an alternative to waiting on hold for a customer service representative: They can skip the wait, hang up, and receive a call back.

The service, called Voice Call Back, combines advanced on-hold software from VHT with Verizon's interactive voice response technology. It is available through Verizon's Contact Center Services portfolio as an enhancement to its cloud-based hosted interactive voice platform.

For companies that use the service, during busy calling times customers will hear a recording notifying them of the estimated wait time. They will then be given the option to receive a callback from a representative when their turn comes up in the queue or at a time and phone number they select. The call back can also be scheduled through a company's Web site or mobile application.

Since customers know when to expect a return call, the service has a successful reconnection rate of more 90 percent, according to Verizon, which has piloted the service with a government agency that receives roughly 2 million calls a month.

"Customers really appreciate the consideration of being told how long they will have to wait and being given the choice of a call back," says Lori Anne Pollock, manager of contact center services product management at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. "This brings immeasurable customer good will and better service. It really contributes to a better customer experience."

“We know that callers are less inclined to complain about the wait when it’s on their own terms,” adds Mike Palmer, vice president of marketing at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “This advancement to our contact center services platform will help our customers improve service delivery for their customers to improve their overall customer experience and transform their business in the process.”

The product, which Pollock says is ideally suited to government agencies and larger companies with high call volumes and other businesses with seasonal spikes in call volume, also offers other benefits. "There are some real savings associated with it because you're not tying up telephony resources to keep customers on hold for a long time," she states.

Furthermore, since the service is cloud-based, companies don't need to make large upfront capital investments to turn it on.

Alla Reznik, director of contact center services product management at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, says the deal with VHT to offer the service "aligns very well with Verizon's contact center strategy to expand to the Web and mobile. "This is fully integrated into our IVR, whether it's initiated in the contact center, on the Web, or mobile."

VHT's president and founder Mark Williams said: "Verizon’s well-established hosted IVR platform is a market leader today, and we look forward to working together to deliver our enhanced capabilities to large business and government customers. Our new agreement with Verizon will enable VHT to reach new markets and support the growing demand on the call center market."

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