What is a Small Business Call Queue?

Missed calls are one of the biggest issues for small businesses. Prospects and customers who call and fail to get answers or help from your company can cost your company money daily.

Many smaller businesses, including employees, have limited availability. Unanswered calls are frustrating for both the caller and the business owner.

Sometimes, a small business becomes overwhelmed with calls after a media appearance (such as a podcast) or news story. A call queue intelligently routes calls to agents, preventing them from getting lost in voicemail.

Large companies use call queues every day to manage their high numbers. Small businesses can also utilize call queues to keep their customers happy.

Call centers use this powerful function in their operations. However, a company with two employees can benefit from a call queue.

What Is A Call Queue?

A small business may receive more callers than it can handle at once. A cloud-based VOIP PBX phone system makes routing calls to agents easier.

Customers don’t like it when a business wastes their time. A call queue can offer a better experience for your customers and employees.

A call queue is an add-on feature that fields incoming calls. The queue puts them on hold in order and limits their time on hold. The on-hold message lets them know that there is a delay. The queue routes their call order to the next available agent.

If there is a longer delay, the on-hold message can offer callers options and additional marketing. Callers can either leave a voice mail or set a time for an agent to return their call, which helps them spend less time on hold.

Call queues also have an algorithm that shows which agent has been on the phone for the least time. The call is then routed to them.

Prospects and customers who listen to relevant content tend to stay on hold longer. On-hold content can help reduce your company’s call abandonment rate. Spoken content, such as service offerings or frequently asked questions, keeps a caller’s interest.

Routing calls in a queue lets customers know someone will talk to them. Keep callers from waiting for an unacceptably long time with queue time limits. Call queues also help reduce call abandonment.

Call Queue Features

Having a call queue in your small business is more than just routing a call to the next agent. Queues can have additional features such as:

  • Reports for agent login and log-out times
  • Music and/or messages on hold (perfect for more marketing)
  • Call recording
  • Custom queue hold
  • Offering callers a list of options that do not require human intervention
  • “Escape from the Queue,” allowing callers to press a button to go directly to voice mail or other destination
    • Adding a comment about this to on-hold messaging lets callers know it’s available
  • Reports on caller wait and hold times
  • “Drop-out” option, also called “call-back,” where a caller can be added to a queue for a return call when an agent is available

You can also generate many of these reports by agent and by the queue.

The results of having a call queue include:

  • Efficient distribution of calls among your company’s agents
  • Reduction in call abandonment
  • Reduction in wait time for callers
  • Better overall customer experience

Call queueing can also be customized based on wait time, caller value, or other company criteria. Agents can monitor the queue status and other relevant metrics to make effective decisions when picking up a call.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Another part of a call queue system is the IVR. It routes higher call volumes more cheaply.

The IVR is a system a caller interacts with through voice or telephone key tones. It requires a caller to press a number for a specific group.

Customer support can also be automated with IVR. Callers can access basic help information without waiting to talk to an agent. If they need live help, they can press a key to reach a live agent.

The queue then routes calls to the right agents for their needs. This saves time for agents and callers because calls are less likely to be transferred to the wrong person.

An IVR can also identify specific callers and ensure they are routed to the needed agent. VIP callers can be directed to the first available agent or the front of the queue for the shortest wait.

ROI is greater since an IVR is affordable, more efficient, and can help reduce operating costs.

The “Call-Back” Queue—Make An Appointment

Sometimes, a business experiences a surge of calls at once. It could be due to a holiday, sale period, or other unexpected exposure. Callers wait longer, especially if the business doesn’t have enough staff to answer all the calls.

Previously, callers might have had to stay on hold longer to avoid losing their place in line. How long will most people stay on hold? At this point, a caller may wonder if they want to do business with a company and hang up.

However, allowing a caller to schedule a callback when an agent is available allows the caller to keep their place in line. They are not tethered to a phone and won’t have to sit and wait to talk to someone.

Training And Assisting Agents

Most new agents improve after answering their first few calls. Those who don’t may need extra help.

Queue Call Eavesdropping allows supervisors to listen in on an agent while on a customer call. The dashboard allows them to check on each call in progress. Call recording can also help examine agents’ work and any room for improvement.

With eavesdropping, a supervisor can observe a call from afar without interfering. The information gathered can help supervisors determine how well each agent handles their calls. From there, supervisors can identify areas for improvement and recommend the training needed to achieve them.

Escalated Calls

Sometimes, an agent doesn’t have the answers that a customer needs. They may have a complaint that’s beyond the agent’s ability. At this point, escalating the call gets the caller to someone who can help.

A company can also establish a call queue for callers who need to speak to a manager or supervisor. When a customer needs a manager or supervisor, an agent transfers the call. The escalation queue will find the appropriate individual to answer the customer’s call.

An escalation queue makes it simple for an agent to pass along a customer who needs more assistance. Managers and supervisors can offer agents the support they need when they cannot offer a solution.

Through escalation, your company can also identify and track trends. Offering access to supervisors when needed can also help with customer satisfaction.

Talk To Them On Hold

Many companies default to the standard short-loop music on hold. For a customer on hold for over a minute, that music can quickly become irritating.

When your company’s call volume increases, create a message explaining why there is a wait. This feature is especially useful during the busy holiday season.

Adding the company’s business hours, fax number, locations, website, or other frequently asked questions can help reduce the number of calls a company needs to answer with a live person.

An on-hold message can inform customers about additional services a company offers that they may not realize are available. In your on-hold messages, announce promotions such as flash sales and other special events.

For example, a busy independent pharmacy can add its hours of operation and any other locations to its on-hold custom messaging. Waiting customers can learn about the pharmacy’s smartphone app for refills, prescription compounding services, flu shots, and strep testing.

Adding marketing to your on-hold messaging can work for nearly any small business.

What Else Can A Call Queue Do For A Small Business?

Call queues can gather up data to examine data points like:

  • How long does it take an employee to answer a call
  • Which employees answer faster or slower
  • How long a caller is put on hold
  • How long does a caller stay on hold, and when do they hang up
  • If they call back after hanging up
  • Missed and connected calls
  • Reports on incoming and outgoing calls
  • Voicemail and other metrics
  • Average call duration

Are your callers happy with how they were treated on the phone? This information can help your company identify room for improvement.

Managers can also use this information for work assignments and hiring decisions. The data can also help identify employees who need help or additional training.


In the past, call queue systems required hard wiring into a landline system. This required expensive equipment and a data center, which many small businesses didn’t have budgets for.

VOIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol, eliminates that expense and allows a PBX system to be cloud-hosted. Using your existing company’s Internet service, VOIP phone service offers cost savings and flexibility over traditional landlines.

Need more phones? Add them. Moving employees around—or moving your office? Your system moves with you, and employees plug in their phones. This function, besides the features that a call queue offers, is especially helpful for small businesses.

Read more on our blog about whether your business could benefit from all that VOIP offers.

Small Business Benefits

As you can see, most small businesses can benefit from adding a call queue to their phone system.

Whether you’re a:

  • Doctor’s office
  • Medical or dental clinic
  • Legal services provider
  • Financial Advisor
  • Pharmacy
  • E-commerce company
  • Transportation company
  • IT Company
  • Home services provider (plumber, electrician, etc.)

Adding a call queue to your company’s business will improve the way your employees handle calls and allow your company to handle calls faster and more efficiently.

Ready To Add A Call Queue To Your Small Business?

Customer calls are vital to your company, and you don’t want to miss a single one. Satisfied and happy customers lead to repeat business and increased sales.

Press8 Telecom offers a wide range of VOIP telecom services for small businesses. We offer no-contract monthly plans that offer a wide range of standard services. Add-on services like call queues to expand your system’s capabilities are also available for an additional and affordable monthly charge.

Find out what Press8 can do for your company. Contact us today at 800-349-VOIP (8647) or use our online contact form.

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