Why It’s Obvious:
It’s so obvious because, in every other queue-related discussion, I’ve already stated the importance of a solid and effective queue management system, so at this point, there’s nothing new to say about it.
Then Why Bother:
Well, it’s the fault of how search engines work, in that I have to repeat myself a dozen times to be sure that everyone who needs information finds it, no matter how they choose to hunt it down.
Stating the Obvious:
So, why does it matter? If I’m going to state the obvious, then I should go ahead and state it, right? Well.
What department deals with this the most? Would it possibly be customer service or support? I’d say so. What’s the worst part of dealing with customer service? It’s the wait.
The worst part of call centers is undoubtedly hold times, and it’s so easy for people to think that alternative service channels like help desks, social support, live chat and so forth don’t have these hold times, but in fact they do.
The waits are generally less awful of an overall experience on non-call-center channels, for obvious reasons. But, it’s still time they have to wait, in anticipation, until their problems are solved.
Having a system of prioritization based on wait times, severity of the issue at hand, and other such factors means that nobody is, between their wait and their problem, unduly exasperated by the entire process.
And that’s usually how it works with most companies – higher priority ones are handled as soon as received, and on down, while the lowest priority issues are still seen to before a threshold of wait time is reached on them. This is more or less the only real way to handle this.
As they work now, call centers sort priorities in the only way it’s practical here, as they are received and by the department they are seeking. It is entirely possible to work in a system to report the criticality of the issue when they call.
Combined with simplifying phone trees and finding a solution I’m at a loss to work out at the moment, for the problem of the awful hold times. But, really, there’s no higher management model for them and there never really has been.
The problem is that having a solid queue management system is important, and your customer service and support would never work if everyone just had to wait in the precise order they came in, with no indicators for how backed up you are and the like. But know that even so, customer service and support have other, much bigger problems that, for the past century, have yet to be resolved satisfactorily.