Keeping customers happy while managing high call volumes is a huge challenge for contact centres.
Yet, despite its importance, many businesses fall short in this area.
Case in point, a worrying 67% of consumers find it hard to navigate call centre phone systems - and are often unable to reach a live agent.
So, what’s the solution to this problem? How can contact centres cope with extreme call volumes without hiring hundreds of extra agents?
The answer lies in reducing the amount of incoming calls to begin with. In this article, we’ll explore how to do just that - we’ll cover:
- The impact of high call volume on contact centres and customer satisfaction
- How to decrease inbound calls with 5 call reduction strategies
- Key benefits of reducing call volume
Haven’t got time to read the whole article? Here’s the key takeaways...
5 Call Reduction Strategies:
- Revamp Self-Service Offerings: FAQs, chatbots, community forums, and portals allow customers to solve issues independently.
- Implement More Contact Channels: Using other channels in addition to phone lines distributes customer service requests, increases efficiency, and enhances CX.
- Prioritise First Call Resolution: Empower agents to resolve issues in a single interaction, decreasing repeat calls and boosting customer satisfaction.
- Examine Customer Inquiries: Identify the ‘why’ behind customer calls, enabling targeted improvements.
- Proactive Communication: Keep customers informed to avoid unnecessary calls, improving brand image and customer engagement.
Understanding the impact of contact centre call volume
Call volume is a crucial performance metric for any contact centre. It measures the total number of inbound customer calls received during a specific time period.
The benchmark for call volume is high, with the average contact centre receiving 4,400 calls per month - 48 of which are missed.
This is unfortunate because high call volumes often lead to burnt-out agents, frustrated consumers, and a poor experience for both your customers and customer service teams.
And that’s not all - managing call volume also helps businesses and call centres to:
- Understand the demand for customer support and allocate resources accordingly.
- Pinpoint call volume patterns and ensure sufficient staffing for peak periods.
- Analyse contact centre performance and identify areas for improvement.
Ultimately, call reduction is essential if you want to optimise efficiency and performance while maintaining a positive CX.
How to decrease call volume: 5 call reduction strategies
Now that we’ve covered the importance of call center volume, let’s dive into how to manage and reduce customer calls.
Read on for the low down on our top 5 call reduction strategies…
1. Leverage self-service (& the power of AI)
Self-service is a game-changer when it comes to call volume reduction.
This is because it empowers customers to resolve their issues independently - without picking up the phone or engaging with your agents at all.
It’s why 81% of consumers are crying out for businesses to provide more self-service options.
With self-service, customers can take matters into their own hands and avoid the potential inconvenience of reaching out to a contact centre.
And, thanks to innovations in AI technology, the self-service systems businesses can provide are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Take AI-powered chatbots, for example. With Talkative, you can train a bot with your business’ knowledge base, and it’ll use this data combined with generative AI to answer customer queries in a conversational, human-like way.
Plus, unlike with regular chatbots, Talkative’s AI bot can be trained quickly and easily by importing URLs from your company website.
From there, the bot can learn from your website content and answer countless questions about your business, products, and services.
It means you can be safe in the knowledge that your chatbot will provide accurate, on-brand responses straight from your knowledge base.
Advancements like these mean that the scope of issues that chatbots can resolve independently is much greater than it used to be, making them a valuable self-service resource for consumers.
In addition to chatbots, here are some other examples of self-service resources that can reduce the demand on your call centre teams:
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions): Creating an FAQ library for your business’s website or app can help customers find answers to common issues without needing to contact customer support. You should also provide a knowledge base of articles, guides, tutorials, and troubleshooting resources that customers can access to find solutions to their problems.
- Community forums: Establishing a community forum on your website or social media platforms can be a valuable self-service resource. Customers can use forums to ask questions, share experiences, and collaborate with other customers.
- Customer portals: Providing customers access to personalised portals lets them view their account information, manage orders/subscriptions, and update their preferences themselves.
- Self-booking systems: In industries like travel and hospitality, self-booking systems allow customers to make reservations, schedule appointments, or manage their bookings online.
- Status tracking: Implementing tracking systems allows customers to view the status of their orders or support tickets in real time without contacting you to request an update.
When customers can easily find answers or perform tasks themselves through self-service, the likelihood of them contacting you decreases - reducing inbound calls and agent workload.
2. Implement more contact channels
If phone support is the main lifeline between you and your customers, you’re always going to be drowning in customer calls.
The answer? Give your customers more (and better) options when it comes to contacting you.
This will distribute customer service requests across multiple channels, reducing the strain on your phone lines and overall call volume.
It’ll also help your agents manage customer support more efficiently, as real-time digital channels are often faster and more productive than phone calls.
Take live chat software as an example - one agent can handle multiple chat interactions at once, whereas they can only take one phone call at a time.
So, if you’re considering branching out into alternative channels, take a look at the following pointers:
- Select a range of channels: Different consumers have different needs and preferences when it comes to how they contact a business. Consider offering channels like live chat, web callbacks, messaging apps (e.g. SMS, WhatsApp), email, or even video calls in addition to your phone lines. Whichever alternative channels you choose, make sure that they’re accessible and convenient for users.
- Ensure customers know their options: There’s no point implementing a bunch of new channels if your customers don’t know that they exist or how to access them. You need to inform consumers that these channels are available via your website, social media platforms, marketing campaigns, and customer communications.
- Provide channel-specific training: Handling customer interactions on a variety of channels requires a diverse skillset. There might be a learning curve for agents who are used to only working the phone lines. Avoid potential difficulties by providing agents with thorough, specific training for each new channel you implement.
- Go omnichannel: Omnichannel software integrates your channels, allowing you to manage all interactions within one platform. This is important because it maximises efficiency and creates seamless CX. Plus, research indicates that 9 out of 10 consumers want omnichannel service.
- Monitor performance: It’s important to track the performance of each channel to assess its effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. You can measure the success of each channel with metrics like adoption rate, average response time, conversion rates, customer satisfaction (CSAT) score, etc.
By expanding your communication channels beyond phone lines, you’ll not only reduce calls and boost efficiency - you’ll also cater to all the different types of customer and their varying preferences.
3. Prioritise First Call Resolution rate
First Call Resolution Rate (FCR) is a critical metric to track when you’re aiming for call reduction.
This metric measures the number of cases that are fully resolved within the first customer call, without any escalations, follow-ups, or further communication required.
FCR rates can often be improved by:
- Ensuring your agents are well-trained: FCR rate is another area where specific agent training is necessary. Agents with extensive knowledge and skills are better equipped to resolve customer issues in one interaction.
- Letting your agents make decisions: Give your agents the power and authority to fix customer issues independently. This will reduce the need for escalations and prevent cases from being passed around to multiple agents, making FCR more likely.
- Keeping an eye on customer calls: Review and monitor customer calls to discover recurring patterns or problems. This will help you identify where agents might need more training or where processes can be streamlined to fix issues faster.
Prioritising FCR is important because a better FCR rate leads to fewer repeat calls, decreasing the total call volume overall.
What’s more, customers will quickly become dissatisfied if they have to call your business about the same issue repeatedly. A high FCR rate prevents this and creates a better customer service experience.
4. Examine your customer inquiries
If you want to cut down inbound call volumes, a key step is finding the ’why’ behind customer calls.
Achieving this requires a thorough examination of customer inquiries. You need to uncover the main challenges and pain points that are driving customers to pick up the phone.
Once you have this data, you can identify key areas that require customer support the most and make targeted improvements.
Understanding the root causes of customer inquiries will enable you to make informed decisions about process improvements, product enhancements, or proactive communications.
For example, say you discover that a high number of calls are due to difficulties logging into customer accounts.
In this scenario, you might implement an account recovery or password reset process that customers can easily carry out themselves.
By finding and addressing the underlying issues behind customer problems, you can use data-driven insights to steadily diminish contact centre call volume over time.
5. Keep your customers informed
Proactive customer service and effective communication are essential if you want to reduce inbound calls.
This strategy involves reaching out to customers preemptively to inform them about any company changes, product updates, or known issues that may impact them.
You can achieve this through various means and channels, for example:
- Posts on your social media platforms
- Text alerts via mass outbound SMS
- Email notifications
By communicating proactively with your customers, you can avoid a huge amount of unnecessary calls caused by confusion or lack of information.
You’ll also enjoy the benefits of stronger customer relations, improved brand image/credibility, and increased customer satisfaction.
Benefits of reducing call volumes
Call volume reduction can benefit any business or contact centre.
Here, we’ll outline each of the key benefits in turn.
One of the main advantages of cutting down call volume is that it also cuts down costs.
This is because a decrease in incoming calls directly correlates to reduced operational and staffing expenses.
With fewer inbound calls, contact centres can optimise resource allocation and agent scheduling - plus avoid overstaffing in quiet periods.
What’s more, a sustained reduction in call volume means that the need for infrastructure and telecommunications will also decrease - leading to substantial cost savings in the long run.
A reduction in call volume will naturally lead to increased efficiency for your contact centre.
This is especially true when you successfully redirect repetitive queries and FAQs to other channels (e.g. customer service chatbots, self-service options).
With fewer routine queries flooding the phone lines, your agents will have more time for complex cases and the customers who need them most.
This streamlines the resolution process, cutting down on average handling times and increasing the chance of a first-contact resolution.
In turn, your contact centre’s productivity and performance will enjoy a significant boost.
Increased customer satisfaction
As consumers, we’ve all experienced the pain of calling a customer support line and being left on hold for what seems like aeons.
Call reduction rectifies this issue, leading to shorter wait times and faster resolutions - both of which create happier customers and an improved call centre CX.
All consumers appreciate quick and efficient service. When they spend less time waiting in queues and get their problems fixed fast, increased satisfaction levels will follow.
Not only that but with more time and resources available per call, phone agents can provide a higher quality of service - further improving the support experience.
A happier customer service team
Reducing call volumes will not only benefit your customers - it’ll also help your agents.
A lower phone demand helps to reduce agent burnout and stress, leading to higher job satisfaction.
With fewer inbound calls to handle, agents can better manage their workloads and be exposed to a greater variety of customer interactions and contact channels.
In turn, your agents will feel more engaged and motivated in their roles - leading to lower turnover rates and higher employee morale.
More profitable interactions
When call volumes decrease, agents can allocate more time and care to each customer case.
Agents can use these extra resources to handle complex issues or upsell products/services more effectively.
As a result, your agents will be more equipped to drive additional revenue during customer conversations.
These meaningful interactions have the potential to increase sales, build customer loyalty, and boost overall profitability for your business.
Improved brand image
Reducing inbound calls can profoundly impact your business’s reputation and credibility.
If your contact centre can efficiently handle customer queries with short wait times and fast resolutions, it’ll shape how customers perceive your brand.
A positive brand image will attract new customers while improving customer retention and loyalty.
These dedicated customers become natural advocates, spreading positive word-of-mouth, which, in turn, further boosts your reputation in the market.
The takeaway: reducing inbound call volumes with Talkative
Reducing call volume is vital for any contact centre looking to increase profitability, efficiency, and customer delight.
By implementing the strategies in this article, you can start the journey to fewer phone calls and an optimal support experience.
But, if you want to get the best results from these tactics, you also need the right technology to facilitate them.
That’s where Talkative comes in.
You can even pick and choose the channels/features/integrations you need, allowing you to tailor our solution to your specific business needs.
It means you can slash call volume and elevate your digital customer experience - without breaking the bank.
Want to learn more? Book a demo with Talkative today.