Just read a great post over at Customer Experience Crossroads reminding us all that the boon in customer self-serve options means that a greater percentage of the calls which do get through to live agents tend to be those which are more complex.
This is a crucial thing to remember as call center managers, supervisors and QA analysts monitor and set metrics such as Average Call Time (ACT) or Average Handle Time (AHT). If you see your ACT and AHT numbers creepoing up, do a little homework before you bring Thor’s Hammer ringing down on your beleagured Customer Service Representatives (CSRs).
- Check your self-serve channels to monitor useage and, if possible, how customers are using it. We have a client whose self-serve IVR has gone through the roof with customers accessing basic customer account information that used to mean calls of 60-90 seconds in length. Off loading these “short” calls means the average call getting through to the CSR is going to be longer.
- Use your QA to track customer and call type, or do a quick statistical survey of calls to get good data. By tracking the reason customers are calling, you can begin to link it to average call time by call type to find out which calls drive the highest ACT/AHT. Those become the targets for improvement. (Warning: call data driven by CSR self reporting is usually worthless. CSRs are notorious for not coding calls or choosing the wrong codes. Don’t waste their time or yours.)