Thursday, September 16, 2010

Customers have to call back

What is the biggest cause of customer effort? Customers who have to call back. Customers find it annoying, it takes time and it can be avoided. Though companies believe they perform well on this subject, because of strong first-contact-resolution scores (FCR). However 22% of the repeat calls involve downstream issues that relate to the problem that caused the original call. There is a message here: Do not only resolve the current issue, be ahead of the next one.

When analyzing customer interaction data, organizations can get a grip between the relationship among various customer issues. Using that insight, you can train your service reps on not only to resolve the primary issue a customer is calling for, but also to anticipate and address downstream issues. For example, when a service rep explains a new customer the first billing statement, over the phone and sends an email about it, after the call, there is a reduced possibility the customer will contact again about this subject, after receiving the first bill.

Maybe you've had some experience in this yourself, calling your insurance company, travel agency or energy supplier to solve an issue, and a few days later you faced another issue, correlated to the original service event. Would it not have been great if the service rep would have anticipated on this? Would it not have saved you some time? Figure out how much it will save a company where these kinds of service events occur 100.000 or more times per year.

Not only will it save a lot of money form an operational and organizational point of view. Reducing customer effort will lead to an increased number of satisfied and loyal customers. Which can lead to increased sales volumes. So, to use a Dutch manner of speaking, the knife cuts on two sides. On the one side, capacity can be reduced, because you will receive less calls. On the other side, sales will rise because customers have no reason to shop elswhere.

This post is part of a series of blogs about the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty. Which is a research project form the Customer Contact Council and has been published in the Harvard Business Review, edition july/august 2010.

Previous post: Customer effort Score

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