3 Call center mistakes that could kill your business

There are actually a lot more than three call center metrics that can kill your business. I often get opportunities to help clients identify problems they were innocently unaware of that lead to solving problems they were aware of. Working with metrics often results in situation like this. It is fun to help clients identify problems they didn’t even know they had. If your organization doesn’t have a data czar, analytic rock-star or business intelligence guru, you need one. What you don’t know may be a ticking time bomb!  Below are three real world examples of how analytics and applied business intelligence stopped the ticking of the time bomb and saved the organizations money and headaches.

1.       When ‘one and done’ is actually a bad deal – Our business partner knew they had a resolution issue at their offshore center.   What they didn’t realize was that the service provided by this center was so sub-par that it caused customers to literally give up and walk away!  Typically, when first call resolution (FCR) rates are low, repeat call “traffic” is high as customers make additional attempts to resolve their issues.  This offshore center had a repeat call rate similar to this business partner’s domestic call center.  That’s good news, right?  No, not good because a majority of the customers who were unable to reach resolution on their first call to this offshore center were so frustrated with their experience that they refused to give the call center a second chance.  Instead, they were simply defecting!

2.       When sales superstars make your customer service center look super bad – It is not unusual for our business partners to measure the customer experience across multiple customer touch-points.  After completing the first few months of measurement, one business partner was alarmed at the large experience gap that existed between the initial sales experience and the service experiences that followed.  We also noted an abnormally high volume of calls from customers inquiring about the status of their order (calls to customer service).  Analysis of unstructured customer comments revealed that the sales team was setting overly-optimistic expectations regarding product delivery time-frames; time-frames that once expired, generated a high volume of calls from displeased customers, not to the sales group but to customer service.

3.       When saving a few dollars costs you big time – According to a study conducted by the NPD group in 2005, 17% of consumers purchase more expensive products, 21% of consumer purchase products sooner than planned and 9% of consumers purchase a different brand than planned, all because of rebates.   According to Michael McAvoy, HP Canada’s director of consumer marketing, “ … a mail-in rebate can increase sales of an item by as much as 20% to 50% depending on the value of the offer and how well it’s circulated and the season it’s offered (Menzies, 2005).   Add to all of this the fact that nearly half of all consumers never attempt to redeem the rebate (according to the same study published by the NPD group in 2005) and we can only conclude that mail-in rebates are wildly profitable for businesses.  That, however, did not stop one business partner from making their rebate process overly cumbersome in an effort to squeeze even more profit out of the process.  With the launch of this modified rebate process, the severity and volume of rebate-related complaints climbed alarmingly.  The negative impact to brand perception was statistically significant and not even closely offset by the additional profits gained through decreased rebate redemption.

About Jim Rembach

Jim Rembach is a panel expert with the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) and an SVP for Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM). Jim spent many years in contact center operations leverages this to help others. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence (EQ) practitioner and frequently quoted industry expert. Call Jim at 336-288-8226 if help customer-centric enhancements.

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3 Responses to 3 Call center mistakes that could kill your business

  • Dear Amanda:
    Good read

    The points you have raised are indeed three of the other points which ruins the credibility of any call center, but when it comes to FCR I think it varies from nature of the call.

    I would like to know you input as how to make sure that atleast the above three mistake are not done in a call center.

    • Hi Saqib,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The key to avoiding mistakes like these is planning and communication. The call center is the “hub” where the consequences of all of an organization’s activities come to bear. Therefore, the call center must be aware of the organizational activities that might impact their work environment and the leaders within the call center need to hypothesize about the impact organizational changes are likely to have on call volume and the customer experience. In the third example described in this blog post (involving rebates), the call center was caught completely off-guard about the new more-cumbersome rebate process. As a result, the management within the call center was unprepared for the increased call volume and the agents were unprepared to assist or even defend the new process.

      I hope this response meets your needs, please let me know if I can provide you further information!

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