Three Ways to Reduce Customer Effort in the Contact Center

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Brian Spraetz's picture

Customer effort reduction programs can have a dramatic impact on the customer experience your contact center delivers as well as on your company’s bottom line. 3-5% of your center’s call volume can be avoided with the help of a customer effort initiative, while handling time can be cut down by 4-6%. And in the contact center every second saved means a better customer experience, lower overhead costs and better ROI for your customer effort reduction program.
Here are three ways contact centers can work to reduce customer effort:

1. Eliminate Self-Service Failures
Enkata has found that roughly 10-25% of call volume is the result of failure in self-service channels. Besides the obvious benefits of reducing this volume by improving self-service performance, these customers actually have a preference to use self-service and will get frustrated when it fails. In order to eliminate self-service failures you need to systematically identify where they occur and what your customers were trying to do. This lets you identify the major issues and create a cost/benefit matrix to determine where improvement efforts resources should be directed first. Sometimes the highest volume failure points may cost more to fix than what the additional calls cost. These areas can be looked at later when the low hanging fruit is gone.

2. Eliminate Process Bottlenecks
Policies and processes in the call center exist for good reason. They help ensure consistent handling of customer interactions and they protect the company from risk through non-compliance or other exposure. Unfortunately good intentions do not always produce the intended outcomes. Often agents are forced to behave in ways they know will not help the customer they have on the phone to get their need resolved. Poorly designed processes can be a major source of customer effort in the contact center. Operations analytics pinpoints both people and process issues impacting customer service performance. That’s important because their resolution methods are very different. Re-engineering processes that create bottlenecks for your customers, and add to their effort, drives significant improvements in the customer experience.

3. Eliminate Customer Callbacks
Once a customer decides to call your contact center make sure it’s the one and only time they have to call. Nothing ruins the customer experience quite like unnecessary callbacks, especially when they have to start their story over each time. Most customer callbacks, believe it or not, are usually caused by agent errors. Better desktop analytics and guided agent coaching can help pinpoint these errors on an agent by agent basis and address the behaviors as needed. Once the percentage of customer callbacks driven by agent errors is minimized contact centers can focus on internal process and applications that might also be hampering the customer experience and necessitating a callback.

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