Article : Call Centre Staff Increases May Not Be An Indicator of Success
Everyone loves a good news story, and tales of expanding call centres taking on lots more staff to deal with ‘increased demand’ seem to have been sprouting up everywhere lately to warm the cockles of the unemployment statisticians.Let me make it clear from the outset. I am very happy for those who have found work, I really wish them well. But I worry.
Let me put on the Darth Vader ™ helmet for a minute and be the bad guy, because as a management consultant I have often seen call centre demand increase and new staff be hired not because they were so successful, but because their service was poor.
Imagine this: A customer calls a centre, gets their call dealt with efficiently and effectively by one agent and leaves happy. That’s one phone call. A customer calls another call centre, their call isn’t satisfactory and they call back. That call doesn’t resolve things and they call back later to complain, at which point their call is resolved.That’s three phone calls.
Simply put, bad service generates more calls. More calls need more agents to deal with them.
Of course this may not be the case for the recent good news stories, but it’s something for all managers to consider.
So how do you check?
Sit down with the call operators, listen in on the calls, and start recording why the customer called and what result they got. Bear in mind this isn’t about the performance of the individual operators; it’s about the performance of your customer service systems. Take a look at the real life customer example below to see what I mean.
Client X is a professional body providing industry certification and accredited membership. They took a look at the customer demand in their call centre as suggested and found that only 32% of the calls they were receiving were the type they wanted/expected.
Approximately 68% of the calls to their call centre were effectively self-generated by failures in their system. And they were paying for it. If you were to imagine a similar figure in your own centre you can do the maths yourself. You can also imagine what their customers think of this service and by extension of the entire organisation.
Below is the breakdown of that 68% demand they were getting from the failures of their customer service systems. Just looking at this you can clearly see where you could start to make improvements which would reduce the volume of these unwanted calls, reducing costs, and improving the service for the customer.
Companies doing this internal research for themselves may decide they don’t actually need to hire more staff. Bad news for local job creation but good news for the job security of those currently working for the company as it will be stronger and more profitable and therefore less likely to go under.
Stuart Corrigan is the author of ‘Secrets of High Performing Call Centres’.
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About Stuart Corrigan:
A Consultant for service companies across the globe.
About Vanguard Scotland Ltd:
Vanguard Scotland are management consultants who specialise in service organisations. Using Systems Thinking management methods they have been the secret weapon behind the successful transformation of service delivery and cost reduction in government bodies and international corporations for over a decade.
Published: Thursday, August 4, 2011