Monday, 3 August 2015

The real costs of handling your calls

A recent blog in UK newsletter Call Centre Helper by Carolyn Blunt, Director of Real Results Training, highlights some real choices for businesses - This blog is written for companies managing their own customer care teams, but when you consider the role of an outsourced contact centre partner like Well Done, it becomes more complex.

Businesses usually hope to reduce the Average Call Handling Time (AHT) of their calls to reduce their costs, but this can be counterproductive if you…

(a) Lose the customer or prospect or

(b) Fail to address the problem and force the customer to call back.

Outsourced call centre providers come under this pressure from clients to reduce handling times and costs all the time, so productivity is a key focus across services.However, industry best practice now suggests that the better approach is to consider the Customer’s Experience. Many corporations are taking the opposite tack to bringing down AHTs. Instead they are providing online tools so that customers mostly don’t have to call and, for those who do call, forgetting about reducing the AHT and focusing on resolving the customer problem so that they will be happy with the service and not have to call back.

Refreshingly, Blunt suggests that in some cases, however, we can address BOTH costs and the customer experience. Simply, she suggests that we think about the impacts of reducing AHT or redesigning the process journey from the customer’s point of view.

For example, reducing AHT is great for customers if this reduces their wait time, so the question we need to ask ourselves instead is ‘what can we do to help with this from the customer’s point of view?’

You may come up with your own answers, but how about:...

  • IVR routing to help you push calls to different answer points so that simple calls can be handled quickly (this could even be an answering service role) and perhaps customers may be prepared to wait a little longer for complex support?
  • Considering what can you do to improve the process for customers? Streamlined processes help reduce AHT, too.
  • What about your systems? Is there an easy link on your system to pull up the customer’s details so that less needs to be checked during the call? Web based systems are best - Virtual Private Network (VPN) and remote log in systems slow handling times dramatically in an outsourced contact centre environment.

Your outsourced call centre provider often isn’t party to this discussion and ends up handling the brief given to them, which isn’t ideal. At Well Done we prefer to see us both working as a team, so don’t be wary of asking us for an opinion!

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