T&D World Magazine

Virtual Hold Queuing Supports Utility Contact Center Crisis Management

Virtual Hold Technology's product is being implemented nationwide as part of a crisis management plan for many utility contact centers. With the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the many utilities that were affected during the last hurricane season, these utility companies are installing Virtual Hold in their contact centers to help them manage the large amount of calls they receive during outages.

During these peak times, Virtual Hold automatically notifies callers of their Estimated Wait Time (EWT) and offers them the choice to receive a Virtual Hold callback. This option allows callers to hang up, while a virtual placeholder saves their places in queue. As the placeholders approach the front of the queue, Virtual Hold calls the customers back and places them at the front of the queue to be answered by the next available agent. This means the customers only wait on hold for about 15 seconds before being answered.

"This technology has a profound effect in crisis management situations," said Michael Somody, director of Operations & Customer Care for Virtual Hold Technology. "Many of the Public Utilities Commissions (PUCs) have strict regulations on answering customer calls. Virtual Hold allows most contact centers to fulfill their PUC requirements, and it also removes the customer frustration of long wait times."

Add in the fact that it requires no agent training and that it typically pays for itself in sixth months, and it is understandable why utility companies across the seaboard and around the country are implementing this technology; such as TXU Energy, Florida Light & Power, Entergy, Centerpoint Energy, Mobile Gas Service, Pepco, and Texas Gas Service, according to Virtual Hold.

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