5 ways to save $276,000 in Call Center Costs

47897027 - money bag.

47897027 – money bag.

In golf, the slightest degree of change can mean huge differences between the outcomes. Professionals make painstaking efforts to consider the slightest changes when it comes to fine tuning their game. For the rest of us casual players, we hit a general acceptable level of play and don’t progress much beyond that, we just don’t have the time or knowledge to do it.

The same is true for your customer service. SQM Group recently released a study that showed a mere 1% improvement in first call response would equal a $276,000 savings in annual operational costs for the average call center. This sounds great, but how many of you know beyond a guess what is needed to increase the first call response? It has been our experience that most in-house call centers are like the casual golfer. They have gotten to a degree of success, but don’t have the resources or knowledge to take it the professional level.

This is where outsourcing to a professional third party customer support makes good business sense. The cost alone is quickly absorbed into their ability to improve your first call response. This goes on top their ability to reduce attrition, training and recruiting costs as well as reduce hardware and software costs. For those of you who haven’t made this leap yet, here are 5 ways you can increase first call response today.

1. Ask the right questions about your process.

  • Why was the call transferred?
  • Was it transferred to the right person?
  • How many different touch points were used to solve the problem?
  • Why was the caller not satisfied the first time?

2. Anticipate your customer behavior

  • Create customer profiles by type. An example might be by product or service purchased.
  • Create customer profiles by general areas of concern.
  • Know your customer demographic. Start with age, gender and location. Use this to your advantage.

3. Get the right software
Your agent and process can only be as effective at the tools at their disposal.
Find workforce management software that:

  • Aggregates main points
  • Creates actionable analytics
  • Allows enterprise wide visibility

4. Engage in total contact ownership

Total Contact Ownership is a process that dramatically increases FCR. It is when the agent who took the initial call follows the call from start to finish. When you implement this policy, agents will be less likely to transfer calls just to “pass the problem” to another agent, as they will still be required to follow the issue until it is closed.

5. Improve agent performance

Your agents must be given the p[roper training to handle the various needs of the caller. This means they should be capable of using your software, procedures, communicating with clients, be well informed of policies, etc. To accomplish this you should:

  • Provide adequate software training, ensure they have the technical skills to operate all the ins and outs of your products
  • Create a way to efficiently inform your agents about up-to-date on product recalls, promotions, sales, technical support issues, bugs, etc.
  • Get ahead of new product launches with extensive training.
  • Emphasize the importance of FCR, train them on improving FCR. Make you agents aware of the current FCR rates and create goals and awards around hitting and surpassing goals.
  • Train agents on call control techniques and etiquette
  • Train agents how to engage the customer, establish rapport, engage in effective communication, build a relationship with the caller, identify the true need of the caller and successfully meet their needs