Contact Center

8 Powerful Ways To Reduce Dead Air

Labeeb Ajmal T
December 14, 2023
 mins read

Last modified on

Imagine talking to your best friend after a long time, only to be interrupted by an awkward silence. These silences are called dead air and are a deal-breaker in any agent-customer interaction.

While talking to your best friend, it is usually caused by a network issue. But on the other hand, in customer calls, many other reasons come into play.

Today, let's look at the different reasons that cause dead air and how agents can improve the customer experience by eliminating it.

Learn more about Convin’s agent performance improvement plan.

What is Dead Air?

Dead air is a period of silence that occurs during a customer interaction. It can break the flow of the conversation, and nothing is said during this silence.

There are many reasons for dead air, ranging from technical issues to human error and inadequate preparation. Dead air can be detrimental to the customer experience.

Several known disadvantages of dead air in customer service.
Several known disadvantages of dead air in customer service.

It causes callers to lose interest and can lead to unresolved calls. Agents need to be well-prepared and ensure that dead air only happens occasionally.

What causes dead air?

What are the known Causes of Dead Air?

Dead air can be mainly attributed to a few reasons:

  • Difficult queries or questions from customers
  • Knowledge gaps related to the product or service
  • Agent becoming unresponsive
  • Technical issues, such as a server or internet issues, create a pause in the conversation

Inadequate preparation in presentations is another cause of dead air. Agents who aren't well-versed with the call script can cause dead air to be frequent in most of their interactions with customers.

Apart from these causes, dead air can also occur with mistakes from the side of the agent, such as details being organized inefficiently and informing the customer of being put on hold.

Handle dead air better!

Now that we've understood what dead air is and its causes, let's look at how it impacts customer service. 

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What is the Impact of Dead Air?

Dead air can often be the cause of poor customer experience. It can result in decreased operational efficiency in contact centers, diminished customer satisfaction, and negative sentiment about the brand's image.

When dead air is prolonged, this silence can impair customer relationships and lead to decreased trust in the brand. 

The caller's perception of an agent or customer service team may also be affected, as dead air can evoke a feeling of awkwardness, leading to a loss of interest.

Here are some of the most direct impacts of dead air.

1. Increase in average hold time

Customers’ reaction when dead air increases average handle time
Customers’ reaction when dead air increases average handle time

Irrespective of why it occurs, dead air can disrupt an agent's performance. When dead air happens in any customer interaction, it extends the minutes of the call.

Such extensions in customer conversations result in the average hold time unnecessarily increasing. This is often interpreted as inefficient agent performance.

Once agents are able to understand and tackle the cause of dead air, it becomes easier for them to improve their performance and help customers better.

2. Reduction in first contact resolution

Customers get frustrated when dead air happens and goes unexplained
Customer about to hang up because of dead air.

When the dead air extends for a couple of minutes, customers get frustrated and tend to end the call before a resolution is met. Such conversations lead to a reduction in first call resolution rates.

When customers don't have their queries resolved, it can also affect other parameters related to call center performance. 

3. A visible dip in customer satisfaction

As explained, dead air results in a lot of barriers to providing a satisfactory customer experience. Frequent dead air in calls results in customers being unsatisfied with the support they receive.

Such occurrences don't just affect a single customer but a significant portion of the customer base. The results of this can be noticed in a visible reduction in customer satisfaction scores.

4. Portrays a lack of professionalism

When agents don't acknowledge any instances of dead air during a call, it shows a lack of professionalism from their side. Apart from such silences during a call, customers get frustrated when the agent continues the call as if nothing happened.

5. Impact customer confidence in your brand

When a customer observes dead air whenever they contact the support team, it leads to a lack of confidence. Customers might use this as a reason to move away from a brand.

See How Automated QA Tool Reduces Dead Air

Now that we've seen the impact of these awkward silences let's look at how call centers can reduce dead air.

Top 8 Ways to Reduce Dead Air

Strategies like impactful planning and preparation, effective communication, and using relevant online call center services can reduce dead air. With the help of such a calculated measure, agents can minimize dead-air occurrences and maintain customer engagement.

1. Proper planning and preparation

Agents should set notes based on their script before talking to customers
Agents preparing before calling customers

Every agent should be prepared with certain materials before they interact with customers. Some examples are call scripts and relevant notes based on the script content.

When agents have an organized system, it becomes easier to respond to all customer queries without any hesitation. Preparation with these important materials can help agents improve their responses to customers.

Regularly monitoring and reducing dead air time is essential to maintain customer engagement and operational efficacy. Implementing this measure helps maintain high-quality conversations with customers.

Another aspect of preparation is giving agents information about all updates on products and services. This keeps them prepared for customer queries about all product offerings.

2. Effective communication techniques

Agents should be given ample training on how to communicate with customers, the tone they should use, and other specifics.

For example, the rate of speech can significantly affect engagement, as speaking too quickly or too slowly can hinder comprehension or cause boredom, respectively. Varying the rate throughout a call and using the emphasis on the right words can improve calls.

3. Use a calming tone to pacify customers

When a customer gets aggravated, using a calming and empathetic tone can make them feel pacified. Instead, if the agent doesn't respond, it can lead to dead air.

Being able to stay calm and respond as required is a key skill that agents handling calls should have. Such effective use of patience and quick thinking calms down the customer without leading to dead air.

Download our free empathy statements checklist.

4. Inform the customer before placing them on hold

Agents should only put a customer on hold after informing them. Before being put on hold, agent should inform the customer.

This keeps the customer calm, and they don't get frustrated.

5. Inform your next action when the customer is on hold

Customers prefer knowing why they're being put on hold. Agents should tell them what information is going to be accessed during the hold time.

6. Leave space open for questions before putting them on hold

Before the customer is put on hold, agents should give them a moment. Ensuring that the customer needs any additional information eliminates the need to be put on hold again.

7. Train agents in using the database to search for solutions

Sometimes, customers come with queries related to the latest product offerings. In certain cases, there is a gap between the launch of certain products and agents being informed about them.

To avoid such mishaps, agents should receive training on accessing the database for relevant information. When agents know their way through the database, customers don't need to be put on hold.

8. Use real-time monitoring tools

While all the actions explained above can help reduce dead air, one of the best solutions is to use a real-time monitoring tool. These tools are trained with data pertaining to each organization, such as the call script, relevant documentation, and complex customer queries.

Real-time agent assistance.
Real-time agent assistance

With all this data, agents get a helping hand to breeze through customer conversations. Agents receive help with regard to scripts, live captions, easy access to the database, and pointers for complex customer queries. 

Empowering Agents to Serve Customers Better

When agents are nurtured with the right support, it becomes easier for them to serve customers better. Leaders of customer service teams should use different tactics to reduce dead air.

As mentioned earlier, some of those tactics need not work everytime. The best way to tackle dead air is with call center software that gives agents a helping hand.

Would you like to see how your agents can be helped in real-time?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What causes dead air in call centers?

Dead air is an unplanned period of silence that interrupts a call, creating awkwardness between the agent and the customer.

2. How long is considered dead air?

Any silence for a time more than a few seconds is often considered dead air.

3. How do you reduce dead air while talking to a customer?

Using a professional tone and informing the customer before putting them on hold are simple ways to reduce dead air. 

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