Once again, the football transfer window was a busy one, a frenzy of activity to ensure that your squad is in the best possible shape for the season ahead.. However, in contact centres we are dealing with transfers all year round and worryingly if they are inappropriate then the costs can be just as eye watering!
Neville Doughty, Partnership Director
I’ve spent the last 25 years working in contact centres and in a conversation earlier this week with another long standing, highly experienced person we agreed that many of the issues that we were dealing with 15 or 20 years ago are still challenges that face our industry today. When I was on the phones supporting a mobile phone network, I can remember receiving transferred calls that just weren’t for me to deal with.
For instance, the Sales team pushing something through to Service when the issue was that a handset order hadn’t gone through correctly. Knowing that they weren’t going to make a sale to someone who had already purchased, Sales decided that it was now a service call. I’m sure we can come up with a hundred examples if we wanted to.
However, we can’t change what happened in the first half, we can only change the result through playing smarter in the second.
If the process was broken can automation help fix it?
There is a potential for a law of unintended consequences; you may not get what you initially signed up for (ask Harry)…. If the process is broken and you automate it then you could just generate more improper transfers at greater speed, as the bot just powers through. Not the fault of the bot, it was just doing as it was told.
If someone is getting questions that sit outside of their skills then they could be spending time searching for an answer or be passing the call on unnecessarily, as a result CX suffers. But how to catch such issues before they are the talk of Feefo and Trustpilot?
Increasing QA sample size and use of auto QA tools has to be an opportunity to identify issues quickly and make critical adjustments to the process, training of the agent and or the bot.
What are the root causes of poor CX?
Automation of QA and enabling first level managers to identify and address coaching opportunities more quickly is only half of the story.
Access to more data and insights allows businesses to better understand customer effort and the issues creating friction in customer journeys, issues which could be driving churn, creating grumpy customers and maybe unhappy agents who are then more likely to attrite.
Whilst we in the industry don’t like talking about AHT anymore, customers do talk about how long it took for their issues to be dealt with. The age old Wait Time, and Hold Time are still important to customers (they are important to the person paying for the contact centre too). Root cause analysis remains a key opportunity to identify where AHT can be reduced and agent workflows can be optimised.
Customer surveys are great, but really they are much better when the meta data from the call, the quality score and the survey feedback are all joined together. Customer dissatisfaction data should be an opportunity to identify training needs and make changes, it helps when you have the full context of the interaction in one place.
If the customer had to contact more than once then it becomes even more critical to link all that data together, identify the processes that are most likely to generate multiple contacts and consider how you can remove those additional contacts driving customer and employee experience.
“Take action to reduce the number of improper transfers”
There are typically 3 key drivers of improper transfers, the key is to take action to reduce them. I’m sure we’ve either all caused issues through the following or have dealt with the consequences of them during our careers.
- Workflows not being properly configured: Often, Contact Centres have to work with legacy systems that make changes hard. And unfortunately, customers have a habit of not following the flows that were created when the business was established, or a new product or service has impacted the model.
- Agents not being properly trained: Sometimes you’ll be short on time, it happens – maybe there was an issue with recruitment and the service launch date couldn’t be moved, so what happens? Someone takes a decision to reduce an element of training perhaps, or the brief wasn’t properly understood.
- Inefficiencies in the Tech stack: When systems have been pieced together there can be gaps, something doesn’t quite work as planned, that new tariff hasn’t been loaded correctly, the link to the courier page isn’t working.
What can you do about it?
AI powered insights enable faster understanding of issues, patterns can be seen more quickly, improvement areas can be identified and actioned before the end of the shift, not the end of the month.
- Identifying coaching opportunities and actioning them quickly can make a material difference. Issues with processes not being completed right now may lay dormant for months, years even? Consider change of tenancy processes, the details of the tenant or a meter read may be entered incorrectly now which doesn’t present as an issue until the customer receives their first bill (smart metering should prevent this, but what if the start date was captured incorrectly?).
- Use of screen capture to see what actually happened, what the agent saw and therefore advised the customer can be critical to identifying system issues, or issues with accuracy of information in the knowledge base. These are key considerations and opportunities for organisations to be more informed in their decision making.
“If things are going well now, that is a reflection of the work that went in 6 months ago”
The performance being delivered by your contact centre team is going to reflect the work you have done previously to ensure that you have the right people, processes, and technology.
Sometimes you may make the wrong choices, the best you can do is play what is in front of you, keeping an eye on the horizon so that things are less likely to come as a surprise. The thing is that through using technology and AI our ability to see what is on the horizon is much improved versus what it was 20 years ago.
I was speaking with a partner who has seen a 48% increase in QA audit deliver a 30% reduction in AHT. They’ve used the insights from the QA to reduce improper transfers, improve processes, provide better training for agents and ensure the tech stack is aligned.
Now I know people don’t like talking about AHT but I’m guessing we’d all be happy to talk about the benefits that could be delivered in improved employee and customer experiences, reduced wait times, more investment time, lower agent attrition, reduced recruitment and training costs, increased customer retention and of course, that all means reduced costs to serve and improved profit margins.
Need help finding a new star player?
Harry Kane may be gone, but it already looks like Tottenham are marching on under Ange Postecoglou – where will they finish this season I wonder?
We’d love to chat with you about how you are planning on getting the most out of your team this year and delivering a winning performance.