Call Queuing: Benefits, Best Practices, And How it Works

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Call Queuing: Benefits, Best Practices, and How It Works

If people get frustrated waiting in lines for something as fun as a roller coaster ride at an amusement park, imagine their agitation while waiting to speak with a vendor about technical issues and billing errors. Yikes.

As humans, patience is not our strong suit, especially when it comes to things we don’t necessarily enjoy in the first place. But, fortunately, we have tools and technologies at our disposal to alleviate the challenges or frustrations associated with customer service experiences.

These days, businesses have access to call queuing technology that ensures their customers can quickly reach an agent and have a satisfactory experience.

We’re here to offer you the basics of call queuing—how it works, why it’s so effective, and best practices for managing it.

What is call queuing?

Call queuing allows callers to virtually wait in line for their turn to speak with a customer service representative. This call queuing system allows contact centers to follow the social rule of first come, first served, mimicking what would occur in a physical place of business.

Implemented correctly with the right technology, call queuing leads to happier customers, more satisfied agents, and lower call-abandonment rates.

How does call queuing work in a contact center?

When a customer calls into a contact center, the call-queue feature assigns them a spot in line where they wait on hold, often listening to music, until it’s their turn to speak with an agent. This process is mostly consistent across systems—the specifics of the call-queue process, however, depend on which technologies the business uses.

For example, some cloud-based contact centers have a feature called automated callback, which enables the customer the option to hang up without losing their spot in the queue. When the customer reaches the front of the line, the phone software automatically calls them back and connects them with an agent.

Many call-queue software tools utilize an automated voice message to greet callers and tell them their spot in the line or the expected wait time. This gives customers a sense of control and helps to manage expectations—without this feature, 60% of customers are likely to abandon the call within the 2-5 minute range.

Five ways call queuing benefits your business

There are many benefits to using call queuing in your contact center, all of which lead to greater revenue numbers and lower customer churn for your business.

  • Reduce customer wait time: IVR technology, a necessity for effective call queueing, routes customers to agents based on factors such as: availability, skill or specialty, region or time zone, language, and others. This distributes calls evenly and appropriately among agents and can significantly reduce average handle time.
  • Keep customers engaged: Call-queuing software enables you to upload music files, greetings, and other messages to entertain or educate the customer during the wait.
  • Improve brand loyalty: Customers are grateful to businesses that prioritize their time. They take it as a gesture of respect and value.
  • Lower call abandonment: When customers can visualize how long the line is in front of them, they can more easily handle the wait. The automated callback feature makes it so they don’t even have to stay on the line.
  • Increase customer satisfaction: Aside from shortening the wait, call-queueing software also often uses intelligent call routing to send customers to agents best equipped to answer their inquiry, which leads to faster resolution.

Call queuing isn’t just about keeping current customers happy—it’s also effective for securing new ones. If a new customer calls your business and then abandons the call because they cannot reach a service agent, it’s unlikely they’ll ever call back. They’ll take their business to a competitor instead.

Software for call queuing can reduce call abandonment rates via various features and therefore ensure that you avoid losing new, interested leads who call your business.

4 best practices of call queue management

Call queueing needs to be set up appropriately using the right software to effectively reduce the wait for your customers. Let’s go over four best practices for call queue management.  

Provide self-service options to reduce the queue

The fewer people there are in line, the faster the queue moves. Find an omnichannel contact center solution that enables you to offer self-service options to your customers, such as chatbots and interactive voice response (IVR).

That way, customers with simple questions can get their answers quickly without calling your contact center and taking up a spot in the line that could go to a customer with a more complex issue.

Always use an IVR system

Most contact center solutions with call queuing offer an IVR system, which automatically greets inbound calls with an automated voice message and, based on caller input, routes them to the right department, team, or skill group.  

You’ve likely been on the customer end of an IVR system before. The system begins by prompting you to select from a list of options (“dial 1 for customer service, 2 for sales”, etc.). Then, based on your response, it routes the call to the right department, where you may have to wait in a queue.

Or, if the question is a simple one like “what are the business hours,” the IVR can provide the caller with an answer, thereby eliminating their need to wait in line and shortening the queue for other customers.

Set up automated callbacks

Automated callback is a feature that allows customers to maintain their place in line without staying on the phone call. Depending on how costs are structured for outbound calling, businesses may opt to only use this feature during peak call volume periods.

If the customer opts into an automated callback, the phone system software will keep track of their spot, and when an agent becomes available, automatically place the outbound call.

Minimize customers’ hold time

According to HubSpot, 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response to a customer service question as being extremely important to their experience.  One of the best ways to reduce hold time and get customers the fast service they want is to improve agent productivity.

Alongside call queuing, a cloud contact center solution will give your agents tools that enable them to more effectively handle customer calls, from call whispering to a unified agent dashboard - where they can review the customer’s details and past conversations, call scripting, and conversation analytics.


Customers just can’t stand waiting in line, so it’s essential that your business uses call queuing in your contact center to shorten the wait time or at least make it less painful.

If you’re looking for a tool that offers not only call queuing but also IVR, automated callbacks, and other features that help you improve your call handle time, check out PlivoCX, a cloud contact center platform that’s easy to use.

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