Reducing Call Center Volumes through Customer Education

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Call centers are essential tools in today’s business world – but they should be used for essential services, and not to resolve issues – sometimes two or three times – which could be tackled in other more efficient and less costly ways.

There are essential calls and there are avoidable calls. And it’s the avoidable calls which rack up costs, and raise a red flag about decreasing customer satisfaction with the service.
Customers don’t call because they like talking on the phone. They call because they have a problem which needs solving – NOW!

Let’s have a look at the avoidable calls. There are three categories: repeat calls, calls that could have been predicted and addressed upfront, and calls that originated in self-service.

To reduce volumes, all of these reasons must be removed. If agents are not resolving issues in the first call, the result is less satisfaction and increased costs for the company.

There are a number of management solutions which can be employed to address the problem.

Repeat Calls: Agents must have a deep understanding of the root cause of repeat calls. Either the issue was not fully understood by the agent or customer and resolved first time around, or there is something fundamentally wrong with the product, service or application. If the former, then more education is required on both sides; if the latter, that is a matter for technical support.

Predictable Calls: We need to plan how to prevent the predictable next call. For example your stats may show that a high percentage of customers purchasing your product consistently call the center within a few hours of purchase with a basic technical question or request. These calls can be successfully eliminated with a program for proactively guiding customers while they are still at the POS or on the web site. This improves the customer experience and increases customer satisfaction while achieving the goal of reducing avoidable calls.

Self Service Channels: The third category, self-service channels not working as they should, needs some deep analysis into these channels: the company website, IVR and mobile apps. The website may not be user-friendly enough; the content may be too complicated or just too long and involved for a customer to follow easily; mobile apps may not be intuitive enough and the IVR may be incomprehensible.

The right calls can be moved to self-service. Do your customers know about these channels and are truly meeting customer needs? By answering these questions, and guiding your agents to educate customers and address the gaps in your self-service options, you can reduce unnecessary incoming calls.

WalkMe can be an effective tool in helping reduce inbound calls. It can help “self-served” users understand issues, so they don’t contact the call center asking basic questions that can be addressed with an intuitive Walk-Thru as provided by WalkMe.

Educating your customers: Giving your customers more tools to use before they get near the phone can help reduce the need to contact the call center. Understanding of the website and its content and being able to navigate it easily all play a part in call center volume reduction.

The end result will be a reduction in call volume, increased customer satisfaction, a better customer experience and all round improvement in service and ultimately profitability.

Stefanie Amini
Stefanie Amini is the Marketing Director and Specialist in Customer Success at WalkMe, the world's first interactive online guidance system. She is chief writer and editor of I Want It Now (http://ow.ly/gOU3a), a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe.

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