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Nerys Corfield, Injection Consulting - Don't Call to Action!

This is a guest blog from Nerys Corfield, Injection Consulting

Back in the days of yore Volkswagen ran a marketing campaign and the Call to Action (CTA) was ‘call for a chat’. Quite confusingly for the team who needed to pay for the contact centre resource, their bill went up as VW fans pushed average handling time (AHT) beyond anything we’d ever seen before waxing lyrical about their camper vans.

Did it make people feel warm and cuddly about the brand? Probably. Did it deliver more sales? I doubt it.

Fast forward 10 years and a big brand client was pushing hard on a ‘call avoidance’ initiative. “We need to cut the number of calls we are receiving by over 20,000 per month”. To help your maths that equates to a reduction in contact centre agents of 3.6, FTE which represents an annual saving of about £133,658.

Call avoidance campaigns are now common place and the initiative is generally badged as ‘delivering an agile customer experience’. Whether the true motivation is around cost savings, channel shift or improving customer experience, having a very clear idea of why people want to TALK to you will support your understanding of customer journeys, help deliver operational efficiencies and maximise the way you do use the voice channel.

And, this is where it generally falls apart……

Call Outcomes / Call Dispositions / Account Codes / Classification Codes - whatever you call them, they can be a real nightmare to get right. Getting outcomes which can be looked at without context and that will act as a representation of customer activity takes time and effort to get right.

Whether you use your CRM to log the call outcome (pain in the bum) or your contact centre application, here are 8 basic tips to help you get a better idea of what people are calling about (it’s amazing how many contact centres get this bit wrong).

1) Don’t make call outcomes too short. ‘Complaint’ won’t give you much insight.

2) Don’t make call outcomes too long. ‘Customer called to change their address but we started chatting and they decided to up-grade their service’

3) Consider two tiers of outcomes, so that both a top line and more granular view can be recorded.

4) Think-about prioritisation. If the caller rings for one reason, but the conclusion includes other important elements, can you use a tool which allows you to select multiple outcomes or do you need to set out a clear prioritisation model?

5) Train the agents THOROUGHLY on the scenarios which will result in different outcomes - ensuring they appreciate the importance of capturing the right outcome.

6) Make sure outcome selection is easy (having to scroll through a long list of different outcome options will waste time and more than likely lead to agents picking any old outcome.

7) Analyse call outcomes against Average Call Handling time and After Call Work by agent and overlay quality scores to give insight into optimum timings for different call scenarios.

8) Review outcomes regularly. There should be a correlation between the call outcome and the IVR selections and if you take a selection of call recordings the outcomes should match what you hear.

However well your call avoidance initiative goes it will also help you identify the calls that should be embraced and never avoided. Heaven forbid that if - 20 years after Volkswagen got their fingers burned by asking customers to ‘call for a chat’ – we go full circle and the innovative service differentiator is that the agents (real life squishy ones, not automated ones) actually TALK to their customers

If you want to discuss this in more detail please give me a shout. I’ve got an outcome table ready and waiting to make sense of your thoughts.

Contact Nerys via e-mail -

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