Providing a great customer experience while reducing call volume and costs is the ultimate goal of any contact center. Over the years, contact centers have invested in various types of customer-facing technologies – right from IVR, CTI, CRM, ACD to AI. But in spite of deploying these technologies, most organizations are not able to improve operational efficiencies, enhance CX or maximize their ROI.
Most organizations today believe that technology alone is the solution to reduce costs and by focusing solely on implementing the technology they allow CX and their core operations to take a hit.
But there are ways in which the number of calls that a contact center receives can be reduced while ensuring good customer experience and better business growth. In the following section, we discuss the top 5 tips to reduce call volumes in your contact center.
The first step in cutting down inbound call volume is to determine why customers are calling the contact center in the first place. This includes recognizing the most common issues that customers are facing with respect to a product, process or service. Often, it is a bunch of similar reasons that tend to lead to the majority of inbound calls.
Once the most common reasons behind inbound calls are established, we can use customer journey analytics to map the customer service journey. Analytical data gives us an insight into the effectiveness of the service provided by the agents in the contact center as well as recognize the pain points faced by the customer.
Using customer journey analytics helps assess the information that is readily available to customers, determine the ease with which customers can reach out to the contact center when required and establish the top reasons why customers call-in. Armed with this information, companies can take the primary steps required to reduce inbound call volume.
Customer Effort Score refers to the ease of customer interaction and getting a resolution for a request. High-effort experiences include switching between channels, repeat interaction, transfers, etc. Tracking CES helps you reduce call volume and costs whilst improving customer experience. According to Gartner, low-effort experiences reduce costs by decreasing up to 40% of repeat calls. Gartner also recommends asking this single question to measure CES.
Use different channels for communication and promote these channels evenly. Assign KPIs for each channel. Allow customers to choose their options. Enable smart self-service options across web, mobile, and telephone. Some self-service best practices include:
Highly visible and updated FAQs
Customized CRM portals
Strong and NLP enabled knowledge base solution
Self-help links integrated into web pages that lead to the respective help document(s).
Online community discussion portals
A more modern and efficient self-service option through which customers can look for answers is via Chatbots and conversational IVR systems. Chatbots today can be deployed from handheld devices such as mobile phones and tablets as well as from the desktop. They are increasingly being integrated in social media applications such as Facebook, as well. We will learn about chatbots in detail in the next section.
Chatbot adoption in contact centers has grown exponentially in the past couple of years, across industries. According to Gartner, 25 percent of customer service and support operations will integrate bot technology across their engagement channels by 2020; this statistic used to be less than two percent in 2017.
Chatbots today are powered by conversational AI, NLP, and machine learning, and offer the same conversational experience as communicating with a human agent. In contact centers, they are deployed as the first line of support in order to handle tier-1 interactions. The 24/7 availability and an easy-to-use conversational interface of chatbots make them an efficient self-service option for customers. Chatbots reduce the number of calls that human executives have to handle, without compromising on the customer experience.
Although chatbots are great at handling customer interactions by simulating human-like conversations, a common misconception that customer service leaders may have is that a chatbot alone is sufficient to handle customer service. But the truth is that there may be scenarios where the customer interaction needs to be handed off to a human agent.
In such a scenario, the chatbot must be able to identify the need for human intervention and seamlessly transition the interaction to the appropriate agent. In this way, the inbound call volume can be cut down by fulfilling basic, preliminary tasks such as aggregating user information, and recording customer concerns with the help of a chatbot. Only those tasks that absolutely need human intervention can be routed to the human agents.
Learn more: Human Hand-off in Service Desk Bots
Chatbot technology in call centers is also intended to replace traditional IVR systems that tend to be a major pain point for customers looking for quick and effective issue resolution. Unlike traditional IVR systems, conversational IVR uses NLP and Machine Learning to understand the content of customers’ speech and enables dynamic and hassle-free experiences. Customers no longer have to navigate through the complex navigation menu of a traditional IVR.
A major factor that contributes to increased inbound call volume in contact centers is that most issues are not resolved in the first call, requiring multiple calls to ensure resolution. This leads to calls adding-up while also being detrimental to customer satisfaction.
Essentially, customer satisfaction is directly related to the First Call Resolution (FCR) rate of the contact center. One of the ways to ensure FCR is to frequently measure CSAT with the aim to improve it.
When contact centers receive calls regarding issues with certain ineffective customer-oriented processes, they must have a resource in the backend team to modify or improve these processes and related self-help pages accordingly. By improving pages and processes based on support calls, contact centers can reduce the occurrence of repeat calls for the same issues in the future.
Reducing call volume is key to reduce business costs in any contact center. And this involves streamlining and automation of processes and intelligent orchestration of work.
If you want to learn more about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with one of our customer experience and AI experts for a personalized consultation.