How Reliable Are Your Call Reasons?

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Brian Spraetz's picture

According to an Enkata survey, fewer than 10% of call center managers said they were able to answer the question “why do your customers call?” with and certainty. If your organization doesn’t understand why your customers call you can’t do some very important things, such as:

•    Accurately measure FCR (First Contact Resolution)
•    Rank order your call volume drivers
•    Deliver targeted agent training based on call reason

There are many different ways that contact centers can track call reasons, but most of them have inherent flaws that make it difficult for mangers to get the full picture. In fact, over 70% of call centers have a mechanism in place today to capture call reasons at some level, but only 7% of those companies actually trust the reasons enough to use them operationally. Why bother capturing data if you don’t trust it enough to use it?

Here are some of the most common methods to track call reasoning and why they often come up short:

Agent Tagging
Sometimes known as call dispositioning, agent tagging of call reasons relies on agents to pick a reason for each call from a list of pre-set call reasons. This extra step can add from 2 to 8 seconds to call handling time. Since this process is based 100% on agent judgment, accuracy is hard to ensure. To accomplish this, agents must grasp the nuances of every call reason and apply them consistently. Calls often involve multiple reasons, which further complicate the problem. What you usually end up with is a high concentration of generic, “top of the list” call tags that provide little operational value.

Post-Call Surveys
If agents are not a trusted source of call tagging, customers may be even worse. Post call surveys that ask the customer to supply a reason for their call have some major limitations. For instance,

•    Only 5-10% of calls even get a survey response. That’s way too small of a sampling to apply across all calls.
•    Agents may be able to handle a list of 20-30 call reasons, but asking a customer to select from that many is problematic, and subject to a high degree of subjectivity.

Customer surveys are a good way to get voice of the customer information. Asking customers to tell you why they called, just isn’t a good idea though.

Quality Monitoring
Although quality monitoring can be more accurate than agent tagging, a couple of challenges undermine this method’s validity as well:
•    Only small volume of calls are monitored (under 1% typical), so the issues with sample size apply here as well.
•    Quality methods have begun to move away from random monitoring to a more targeted approach based on business issues. This skews the results even further.

If your contact center is still investing time and money into a call reasoning method that isn’t producing accurate results it’s time to consider an analytics derived contact reasoning system that accurately assign call reasons to 100% of calls without any agent intervention.

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