Running a call center can be a financial drain, siphoning precious resources from your business. Imagine slashing your call center costs without sacrificing customer satisfaction.
In this article, we unveil five under-the-radar techniques that have helped companies to reduce 30+ % of their support costs while improving customer experience.
But let’s first begin with often-discussed basic principles that influence customer service efficiency as well:
→ Optimize your tech stack:
- Help desk - reply from one place on all channels
- Calling software - IVR for call routing, callbacks, recording, and queues
- CRM - find customer data faster
→ Set KPI:
- Tasks get points based on complexity
- Live agents collect points
- Restructure team - someone is faster in live chat, and someone prefers calling
→ Collect metrics:
- Cost per customer
- Cost per interaction
- Cost per channel
→ Introduce agent training:
- Shorten onboarding
- Share best practices within the team
→ Cross-team sharing:
- Product team - share major customers’ struggles
→ Workforce scheduling:
- Find patterns in peaks
- Schedule according to peaks
→ Increase employee retention:
- Calculate hiring and onboarding costs
- Know your employees monthly leaving rate
- Find out leaving reasons
Let’s continue with five off-the-radar support optimization tips that further decrease call center spending. 👇
#1 Identify cost-saving opportunities
- Define 20+ support topic areas - what are the most common questions?
- Labels - ask support agents to label each ticket at your help desk. More than 50 % of new tickets should be labeled. Otherwise, increase the support topic areas.
- No. of labeled tickets - collect 100+ labeled tickets.
- Average time spent - get (or estimate) the average time spent with each label
- Go for the root cause - find out why customers have such questions/problems. identify why agents need to spend such an amount of time with the ticket.
- Build solution hypotheses - how to overcome these customers’ issues? How to fasten the resolution by a live agent? Each label can have more solutions.
- Set complexity index - set a number from 1 to 10 for each solution. How hard would it be to put in place the suggested optimization? Does it involve other teams? Does it involve IT?
- Calculate the solution impact score:
Impact score = No. of tickets x Average time spent x (1 / Solution complexity).
9. Work on solutions with the highest impact score.
#2 Allow self-service
By allowing self-service to main customers’ journeys, you will:
- reduce customers’ requests
- improve customer experience
- get more account signups
Consider these items when you start with self-service:
- A platform for self-service - web application, mobile app, chatbot, etc.
- Encourage account creation to get self-service access.
- Consider supporting customers that don’t have an account.
- Discoverability - self-service possibilities have to be communicated to your customers
This e-shop allows you to change or cancel an order from e-mail.
#3 Bots - chat, email, voice
Nowadays, you can automate all your support channels. Consider these pros and cons when setting up your strategy for omnichannel automation.
- Web chat
- Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, etc.
- Mobile app chat
✅ High customer satisfaction
✅ Low price
✅ Easy to maintain
✅ Easy to integrate
✅ Customers are used to chatbots
⚠️ Lower used by customers
→ Email bots
✅ Email is often used by customers
✅ Low price
✅ Easy to maintain
⚠️ Lower automation due to multiple customer’s intents in one email
⚠️ Asynchronous - only one chance to solve the issue by the bot
→ Voice bots
- Mobile voice bots
✅ Phone is often used by customers
✅ High business impact
⚠️ Lower automation due to speech recognition
⚠️ Hard to integrate
⚠️ Hard to maintain
⚠️ Lower customer experience - voice synthesis
⚠️ High price
#4 Deflect to automated channels
A Good strategy for support automation is to start with one channel and continue with another if needed. Then, you should motivate customers to move from non-automated channels to automated ones - deflection.
General deflection techniques:
- Better user experience with automation
- Redesign contact page
- Remove contacts all over your web and direct them to the contact page
- Study all customer support touch points - google search, maps, comparison websites, etc.
- Redesign transactional and marketing emails
Deflection to chatbot:
- Auto-open chat on the contact page
- Chat icon with clear expectation - with the text “Need help?”
- Chat icon with call-to-action color or green to mimic online
- Shake the chat icon on the first load
Including deflection when you calculate the business case. Consider 10 - 25 % depending on the current state of your customer support touchpoints.
This business case calculation shows that automation with deflection has a 4x bigger impact.
#5 Remote work
Remote work brings its benefits and drawback. Drawbacks are often discussed so here is the list of remote call center benefits:
✅ Larger talent pool
✅ Easier to find native speakers
✅ Cheaper contractors - half-time, maternity leave, etc.
✅ Abroad markets - i.e. German diaspora in Romania, excellent English speakers in Serbia, etc.
✅ Lower office costs
The key takeaways
What to keep in mind when you are starting with increasing your call center efficiency?
- First, measure the impact
- Then suggest the optimization
- Find the root cause of a problem
- Consider self-service to reduce friction and thus support requests
- Use deflection to automated channels
We have seen customers reaching 30+ % savings in customer support. Every business needs a different approach to get such results. If you want to help draw the optimal implementation path for your business, book a consultation at amio.io.