In general, a queue is a line of people or things waiting to be handled, usually in sequential order starting at the beginning or top of the line or sequence. In computer technology, a queue is a sequence of work objects that are waiting to be processed. The possible factors, arrangements, and processes related to queues is known as queueing theory.
With VoIP, virtual queuing is a concept used in inbound call centers. Call centers use an Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) to distribute incoming calls to specific resources or agents within the center. ACDs hold queued calls in 'First In, First Out' order until agents become available. From the caller’s perspective, without virtual queuing they have only two choices: wait for an agent to attend to the call, or abandon the call and try again later. Long queues statistically result in many abandoned calls, repeat attempts, and overall customer dissatisfaction. Call queuing is ideal and necessary for answering calls in a fair and orderly manner, especially for business VoIP.
Call Queues are important for businesses with a large inbound call volume. VoIP makes it possible to manage these calls in an efficient and organized way, without the high cost of a third party system.
VoIP technology has made it possible for small businesses to get the same professional features as much larger companies. Just a decade ago, a call queuing system wouldn't have even been a consideration for small businesses due to high cost. Sadly, businesses that couldn’t implement a call queue would have simply had to turn away potential callers, losing precious business opportunities. Fortunately, VoIP technology has made powerful business features like a Call Queue available to small businesses at an affordable price.
Queues consist of:
- Incoming calls being placed in the queue
- Members that answer the queue (extensions or users that log in as agents)
- A strategy for how to handle the queue, such as dividing the calls between members
- On-Hold Music played while callers wait
- Announcements for members/callers