Reducing the cost-per-call without affecting the customer service quality can be a real challenge, but it can be done with careful planning and effective implementation. This will help to reduce your call center operational cost to a great extent. Cost-per-call is calculated by taking the total cost associated with handling all calls during a set time frame. It is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that can be used to analyze your call center efficiency.
Following are some tips to reduce the cost-per-call in your call center without affecting the customer service quality.1. Refine the process of hiring, training and coaching of agents
Hire agents who are best suited for the position. A lot of people think that customer service is an easy job, but it is not. Dealing with irate customers can really try your patience. A night shift is not suitable for everybody. If an agent is not able to handle the stress that comes with the customer service job, he / she will not be able to perform well on the call. This will eventually lead to unnecessary escalations, decreased customer satisfaction level, unresolved issues, increased call duration, and so on, resulting in increased cost-per-call.
Providing adequate training is imperative for an agent to perform well on a call. In order to provide an excellent customer service, and resolve the customer’s service issue in a timely manner, an agent has to know the ins and outs of their respective process. It is also important to keep them updated with any process change as and when it happens. Providing feedback to the agents consistently will help them to improve their performance on the call. It is a chance for them to identify their mistakes, and take the necessary steps to avoid it from happening again.
2. Implement a business tool integrated call center software
You have to equip your team of high-performing agents with the necessary tools for them to do their job efficiently. A business tool integrated call center software will help your team to perform optimally. The information collected by the software about the customers will help the agents to better meet the customer needs and resolve their issues quickly. With all the information (like call logs, chat transcripts, trouble ticket information, and so on) available at the same place (interface), agents will not have to go searching for information. With the software giving them the ability to open, close and edit tickets, agents will have to spend only less time on the phone updating systems with relevant information. This will enable them to handle the customer issue in an efficient and effective way.
3. Implement Skill-based Routing
Skill-based routing will help to reduce the number of unnecessary call transfers considerably. This minimizes the cost of operation and handling time, and improves customer satisfaction. Transferring callers from agent to agent until they come across one that can adequately meet their needs will only result in increased cost-per-call, and decreased customer satisfaction level. Skill-based routing is based on the following factors.
- Customer’s contact history with the company
- Customer’s / caller’s location
- Dialed phone number
- Demographic information
This is then matched with an agent’s availability, skill, department, spoken language, and specialized training. The process helps to route the customers to the agents with the right skill sets.
4. Optimize first-contact resolution
First-contact resolution is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that is directly connected to customer satisfaction and loyalty. There can be a considerable cost accumulated for customers who call back about the same issue. Optimizing first-call resolution will greatly reduce the cost-per-call in your call center. A first-call resolution can be attained by equipping your agents with the right tools (like a business tool integrated call center software), and providing them with necessary process training. One of the main advantages of fist-call resolution is that it will help to reduce call volume. In effect, optimizing first-contact resolution will help to reduce the operational cost of your call center.
5. Refine self-service options
One of the best ways to reduce cost-per-call is by reducing the number of inbound calls. Reduced calls mean reduced use of your call center resources. You can achieve this by providing the customers with a number of self-service options. Following are some of the self-service options.
- Informative hold messages – This includes providing information about any service outages, basic troubleshooting steps, product related information, and so on.
- Self-service IVR – This includes logging in a complaint, providing information about the customer’s product / service, and so on.
- Knowledge base – Providing information about your products and service in your website.
There are many customers who do not like to call a call center. They will happily embrace these self-service options.
A big advantage of reducing cost-per-call is that you can invest the money saved in other areas that can help to improve your call center performance.