A Richmond, Va.-based call center software company claims its product is unique — and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) agrees.

USPTO today issued CallPromise a patent for its virtual queuing technology, which gives customers the option to receive a return call rather than wait on hold.

CallPromise, an enterprise Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company dedicated to multi-channel, cloud-based callback, was founded in 2010 under the LucyPhone brand.

Co-founder Mike Oristian said the patent “validates the company’s innovative methodology, which promotes call center management efficiencies and significantly improves the customer service experience.” He added that the callback space has “plenty of headroom to grow.”

“Callers love it, but it’s offered sparsely,” he told CMSWire. “The major vendors — Avaya and Cisco — treat callback as an afterthought. We see it as more than a feature. We deliver an end-to-end strategy. The other startups in the space have done less with more capital, and may not survive until the virtual queueing industry reaches critical momentum,” he said.

Avaya and Cisco have not replied to requests for comment.

Please Hold

CallPromise charges about 40 cents to 80 cents per callback. Called Callback Cloud for Business, the technology was derived from the original LucyPhone platform and repurposed for enterprises in 2011. Oristian and his co-founders, his brother Tom Oristian, created LucyPhone, an app designed to eliminate the wait when calling a customer service line.

The patent, which was awarded for claims filed two years ago, has already been benefiting customers for a while now, according Mike Oristian.

“One of the beautiful things about a completely decoupled solution is that it plays nicely with any and all call center platforms,” he added. “Any call center can forward CallPromise a caller who’s elected for a callback. And any can receive that call later on a priority queue.”

Oristian said the company sought a patent as protection against duplication of its methodology without compensation.

Learning Opportunities

mike oristian

“Other callback methodologies assuage customer frustration,” he said. “Ours takes it a step further and actually helps the call center save money as well. This is because we’re the only callback strategy that allows for a service-level relaxation for callbacks. Customers who wait on hold for 10 minutes are irate. Customers who receive a callback in 25 minutes are delighted.”

Oristian said his company’s technology helps employ a “patience factor” to demonstrate “huge workforce savings.”

“Not to mention,” he added, “the sincere satisfaction a customer describes when we take away the initial still-all-too-common No. 1 frustration of waiting on hold.”

Humans Still Rock

But wouldn’t robots work better at solutions for calling customers rather than wait for a callback? Oristian called the notion that robots will handle all call volume for organizations “nonsense.”

“Customers use the available online tools to handle what they can through self-service,” he said. “When they get stuck, they call. When they get offered a robot in the phone channel, they get angry. Still 40 billion-plus toll-free calls/year and growing. Call centers aren’t going away.”

A 2014 study by CX Act, a customer experience improvement firm, showed the most frequently used and most effective customer touch point is personal contact by phone