I’ve Invested Heavily in Non-Voice Channels, Yet My Transaction Costs Are Not Falling?

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It is interesting that 40% of customers using self-service also contact the call centre (Orange), while 82% of store visitors make a follow-up phone call (Orange).
Customers evidently need to follow up when they feel that they have not had a suitable resolution.

As a contact centre manager you have matched the transactions to the channels (see previous blog) and now you need to understand the true cost-to-serve by transaction.

Some analysis of costs is simplistic in that it only accounts for single contact transactions and not the impact of repeat contacts for the same query. In this illustrated example we show how repeated contact increases costs – times to contact x cost of channel. This, however, does not even include the escalated cost when 42% of the complaining customers call and ask to speak to a supervisor.

We have compiled a check list of items to consider as you calculate total interaction costs. Making marginal gains, tweaking processes one step at a time, will lead to reduction in the cost per interaction.

  • Service levels. What is it costing you to meet your targets? For example, have you ever needed to ‘switch off’ webchat to handle voice? What is the biggest cause of this target failure, and could you automate or deflect this contact volume?
  • Handling time. Are you able to calculate the total handling time per interaction across channels?
  • First contact resolution. Are you able to track when customers return for the same query as they feel it was unanswered? What is the most common reason for the initial contact failure, and what would it require to resolve this ‘one’ process issue?
  • Customer effort. Consider how you could match the interaction channel to a specific demographic to ensure the biggest chance of acceptance and success. Using alternate strategies for the same transaction by age segment may deliver a solid business case.
  • Urgency and the emotional impact of the transaction can cause customers to demand real-time communication. How could you provide proactive communication or adjust the channel for urgent/bad news delivery to more closely match your capacity and reduce peak demand?
  • Harness channel slide. Do you use a mixture of channels in an orchestrated way for each interaction? Maintain the majority of contact on a lower-cost channel but have an agreed approved route for agents to use to provide personalised support. For example, use voice or webchat when specific data-sensitive help is needed.
  • Avoid inbound contact with proactive outbound messages. Reduce costly inbound contact by providing tailored, channel-specific messaging to reassure customers or send them a reminder, e.g. “missed payments” or “delivery status update”.

The journey to finding the most appropriate route or sweet spot for each transaction and demographic is demanding and requires focus and ongoing improvement. You will gain improved customer loyalty together with increased productivity and boosted staff morale.

Published On: 20th Jul 2016 - Last modified: 6th Feb 2019
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