Have you ever felt abandoned? Maybe as a small child you lost sight for a little while of the adult you were with, and you really thought you were on your own. Or maybe later in life, you lost touch with a close friend who moved away, and you wondered if you’d ever hear from them again. Or maybe just yesterday, or last week, a company you’ve done business with for years treated you as if you’re expendable.
Nobody likes that feeling — the feeling of abandonment.
That’s why most contact centers take abandonment seriously. Service level agreements limit it. Supervisors fear it. And call flow designers work hard to prevent it.
But what if your abandonment rate is artificially high? If you use Genesys PureConnect (formerly CIC) and your call flow gives callers the option to transfer into voicemail after routing to an ACD queue, you may be inflating your abandonment rate without knowing it.
In PureConnect, an ACD call is considered “abandoned” if it ultimately disconnects without ever having reached an agent. This is just as true whether your customers are tired of listening to hold music or they’ve just finished leaving you a voicemail message when they hang up. These abandons are reflected in several out-of-the-box reports and are very difficult to filter out, even in customized reports.
For some contact centers, this definition of “abandonment” fits perfectly with their approach to call flows. For example, they may only send callers to voicemail as a last resort — when capacity is overwhelmed and they simply can’t handle the call as they would have liked. In those environments, the default system behavior is probably desirable.
Other organizations, however, may intentionally allow callers to opt out to voicemail as part of the expected flow. When both the customer and the business consider flowing out to voicemail to be a positive outcome, there may be no reason to stigmatize this behavior by counting it as an abandoned call.
Thankfully, there is a workaround, fully tested by CPI.Solutions and recommended by Genesys.
If you configure your Interaction Attendant call flow in such a way that it transfers callers out of the original workgroup queue and into a different workgroup queue just before sending them to voicemail, then those calls are counted as “flowouts” for the original queue and as “abandons” for second queue.
Let’s consider a practical example… The Smiths are having trouble riding the brand new tandem bicycle-built-for-two that your company sold them last month, so they decide to call your toll free Bicycle Hotline number for help. Reaching the Customer Service queue, they wait on hold for several minutes before they decide to opt out to voicemail. Behind the scenes, when the Smiths press * for voicemail, Interaction Attendant silently transfers them to a second queue. This other queue happens to have no agents assigned to it, and Attendant has been configured to send the call to voicemail immediately if no agents are available. The mailbox for this voicemail can be the mailbox belonging to the original queue if desired. What matters is that the second queue takes the hit for the abandoned call, while the original queue only counts it as a flowout.
Configuration is simple if you’ve had experience building call flows in Interaction Attendant. Here’s how:
Start by creating a separate ACD workgroup in Interaction Administrator for each of your existing queues that allow callers to leave a voicemail. To avoid any confusion, you may want to name each new workgroup the same as the original workgroup, but with the word “Flowout” appended to it. For example, for the “Customer Service” workgroup you might create a “Customer Service Flowout” workgroup. For the “Sales” workgroup, you might create a “Sales Flowout” workgroup. The name is unimportant — just make sure each workgroup is configured to have the “ACD” queue type and that it does not contain any members (users).
When that is done, open Interaction Attendant and create or modify the portion of the call flow where you plan to send calls to voicemail for each ACD queue. We’ll use the “Customer Service” queue as an example.
Using the type of Attendant node known as a Group Transfer, send the call to the workgroup named Customer Service. Underneath that Group Transfer node, add some Queue Operations, such as a Queue Audio node to play hold music, and a Queue Menu node to provide the caller with options. Within the Queue Menu, give the caller the option to press * for voicemail. The type of node you want to use for the voicemail option is a Menu Transfer, however, not a Voicemail Transfer node. You’ll come back and configure this Menu Transfer node later. For now, just name it “Menu Transfer to Voicemail Menu.”
Note: You may also want to include a default option in your menu using a Queue Stay node, so that failing to press any keys will result in continuing to hold. Then add a Queue Repeat node to take the caller back up to the hold music.
Here’s what that portion of the call flow might look like:
Now you need to create the Voicemail Menu so your Menu Transfer node can send calls to it. To do this, add a Menu node directly under the Schedule, at the same level as the Group Transfer node you created earlier. Name it “Voicemail Menu” and do not give it an audio file. Configure both the “Number of times to repeat this prompt” and the “Number of seconds to wait before repeating” to the value of 0. In order for this to work, you must also click the Fax Options button and uncheck the box for Fax Listener, as shown below.
Underneath this Voicemail Menu node, add a new Group Transfer node and make it the default option for the menu. This time, send the call to the workgroup named Customer Service Flowout. Do not give it any audio to play. Click the Advanced Workgroup Settings button and on the Timeout tab choose the option to “Transfer the caller after a specific number of seconds.” Configure the number of seconds to the value of 1. Leave the other settings alone for now — you’ll go back and change them later.
Next, still underneath the Voicemail Menu node, add a new Voicemail Transfer node and call it “Voicemail Transfer to Customer Service.” Configure this node to send the call to the voicemail belonging to the Customer Service workgroup, as shown below.
Now you can return to the Group Transfer node you created a moment ago, underneath the Voicemail Menu. Click the Advanced Workgroup Settings button again, go back to the Timeout tab, and this time choose the option to “Jump to a custom location.” In the drop-down menu below that option, choose the node named “Voicemail Transfer to Customer Service.”
Finally, go back up to the Menu Transfer node you created earlier — the one named “Menu Transfer to Voicemail Menu.” Under “Transfer the call to this menu,” select the Voicemail Menu.
That’s it! You’ve built a call flow that prevents voicemail from counting against the abandonment rate within the Customer Service queue. Instead, those abandoned calls are counted against the Customer Service Flowout queue. Nevertheless, the caller is still routed to the correct voicemail mailbox.
The complete call flow should look something like this.
Let’s walk through it, step by step. The call enters the Customer Service queue and transfers to an agent, if available. Otherwise, hold music begins to play. After a pre-configured period of time, the caller is given the option to either continue to hold or press * to leave a voicemail message. The caller opts out to voicemail and is thus routed to the Voicemail Menu. This menu does not play any prompts but, rather, immediately transfers the call out of the Customer Service queue and into the Customer Service Flowout queue. Since there are no agents in any of the flowout queues, Interaction Attendant moves on to the next step, which is to transfer the caller into the Customer Service queue’s voicemail.
No one likes abandonment, and contact centers are certainly no exception. When customers disconnect without getting the help they need, everyone suffers. As a result, the accurate measurement of abandonment rates is critical to success, and it’s often a key performance indicator. But those metrics are only valuable to the extent that they match your organization’s definition of abandonment. If voicemail is not part of your definition of abandonment, the steps outlined above can help align your implementation of Genesys PureConnect with your organization’s business objectives.