Skip Stringham - Dr Contact Center

More than 30 years consulting in contact centers. Currently working with B2B and B2C clients all over the world. Multi language, multi location center operations all trying to reduce costs while boosting sales, CSAT, etc

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Friday, December 6, 2013

FCR

It continues to amaze me when I visit a call center which does not track, measure or manage FCR (First Call Resolution). Think about this for a moment.....are you one of these? Not managing to FCR, will - guaranteed - cost you repeat calls. So, what that means is, after some diligence you discover that you are operating at an FCR rate of 60%, then probably a high percentage of up to 40% of your calls could be repeat calls. What is your cost per call? How many calls does your call center receive in a year? If you receive 5,000,000 calls per year, then 40% or 2,000,000 calls per year are repeat calls. If your cost per call is $3.50 then the impact of operating at a FCR rate of 60% is somewhere in the neighborhood of  $7,000,000. Even if its half that, you are spending wayyyy more money than you should to service your customers; not to mention the poor CSAT rate. But we'll save that for another blog entry.

So, now what are you going to do about it? Would you agree that you could easily justify a minimal expense to figure out what your real exposure is and how to improve your current FCR rate? FCR by the way has been shown by the SQM Group that when increased by 1 percentage point will not only reduce your overall costs by an average of $276,000 annual call costs but additional impact will be 5 - 10 times that in savings by reducing the number of customers you currently have at risk. Risk of defecting as your customer, risk of going to the competition, risk of losing valuable and hard earned revenue. These customers are definitely not happy customers so improving FCR will definitely improve your CSAT rate or NPS Score or Revenue Retention rate.

This FCR thing keeps getting bigger and bigger doesn't it. So what are you waiting for? Don't wait too long, your competition may be managing to a pretty high FCR.

skip.stringham.cx@gmail.com
630-743-1486

NPS Value and Improvement

I find that many of my executive  clients have improving  Net Promoter Score as an objective.  But in no way do they understand how to go about doing that.

They  do understand that improving NPS will accomplish a few very amazing things.

1.       Decrease revenue churn. Remember the old adage, "its cheaper to keep an old customer than to make a new one" ? Well, all the whitepapers, surveys, benchmarkers out there have shown improving NPS is directly tied to hanging on to revenue. In fact, many businesses are churning revenue to the tune of 20% (and more). Yes, that is a lot of money.  So NPS is important to improving revenue churn and adding low cost revenue to the bottom  line.
2.       Increase Loyalty. Loyal customers buy again and again and they buy more. In fact AOV (Average Order Value) can increase as much as 32% if Loyalty/NPS  is maintained at high enough levels.
3.       Tolerance of Operational Errors. Lets face it, everyone makes mistakes. If your NPS is up and your customers are happy and loyal, they will tolerate a error now and then, and hang in with you while you fix it quickly.

You get the idea, right? Improve NPS and you will reap all sorts of benefits to your business.  Many of my clients have told me at the beginning of our relationship that they put out a survey for a NPS and hope for the best. They don’t know what to expect.  Its too complex a number they tell me. How do I fix something I can't measure or manage?

NPS is a scientific number explained by many experts in the industry as being based on a direct question: How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to your friends and colleagues? The scoring for this answer is most often based on a 0 to 10 scale. Companies are encouraged to follow this question with an open-ended request for elaboration, soliciting the reasons for a customer's rating of that company or product. These reasons can then be provided to front-line employees and management teams for follow-up action. Local  managers should at this point call back customers to engage them in a discussion about the feedback they provided through the NPS survey process, solve problems, and learn more so they can coach account representatives. This is a fairly downstream way of looking for info that will enable you to improve service, loyalty, revenue.  In reality how to influence the surveys and the feelings of your customers in order to drive up the NPS, is accomplished way upstream from any survey.

NPS is a result of improving the customer experience (CX) across the board.  Improving these  KPIs plays a large role in boosting NPS.

·       Customer effort spent in securing service or getting a problem solved is a primary component of building NPS among a customer base.

·         FCR - First Contact Resolution is one of the ways to lower and improve customer effort. Nothing makes a customer feel better than having their problem resolved first time -  every time.

·         Consistent experience across all channels is another proven way to boost NPS. The engagement of your company with your customers needs to be consistent and personalized regardless of how your customer engages you.

Get proper measures in place, and track measure and manage all the varying components of those factors instrumental in boosting NPS and you will not only be able to improve and predict your NPS but you will see it rise steadily ...  reap the benefits of increased revenue ... lower your costs and enjoy many more loyal, happy customers.

skip.stringham.cx@gmail.com
630-743-1486

Thursday, August 4, 2011

21st Century Contact Centers

I spent time with a client who has a contact center which takes no calls. Rather it receives and handles emails. So as I was doing my diligence inside their center I was looking at their wallboard and saw that they had multiple queues, set up in skill sets (so as to be able to handle only certain types of emails). Well, you know what I always say "...the more queues you have to handle a universe of (in this case) emails, the more agents you will need to service those emails...". In fact this center operation was operating with this very problem. I did some digging and found that there were agent queues that were idle while other queues had emails stacked up waiting. Sounds familiar, huh? They wanted to cut costs and boost service they provide to their customers, they also had a problem in that they were staffing using spreadsheets and they just had a feeling that they could do a better job.

I recommended they look into a new fangled switch that enables them to do "universal queuing". That is it will route emails, calls, chats, any manner of contact in the same way. So you can set up primary, secondary, tertiary agent skills and as long as you can ID and segment these contacts you can route them to the proper agent. This enables you to eliminate all your hard queues an improve service to your customers. Not to mention the fact that the agent population required would probably shrink by an estimated 20%, plus you now get real switch data that can be fed into a workforce management/scheduling tool, further tightening your need for agents and further improving your ability to manage to adherence and forecast needs more in line with reality.The good news is many of the name brand contact center switch vendors do sell cloud based switches that you can get implemented easily.

Reduce costs? Improve service? Better data for management and staffing forecasting? Is this heaven? No its your contact center in the 21st century. You can do it!!

Skip Stringham

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It continues to amaze me...

It continues to amaze me when I visit a call center which does not track, measure or manage FCR (First Call Resolution). Think about this for a moment.....are you one of these? Not managing to FCR, will - guaranteed - cost you repeat calls. So, that means if after some diligence you discover that you are operating at an FCR rate of 60%, then probably a high percentage of 40% of your calls are repeat calls. What is your cost per call? How many calls does your call center receive in a year? If you receive 5,000,000 calls per year, then 40% or 2,000,000 calls per year could be repeat calls. If your cost per call is $3.50 then the impact of operating at a FCR rate of 60% is somewhere in the neighborhood of  $7,000,000. Even if its half that, you are spending wayyyy more money than you should to service your customers; not to mention the poor CSAT rate. But we'll save that for another blog entry.

So, now, what are you going to do about it? Would you agree that you could easily justify a minimal expense to figure out what your real exposure is and how to improve your current FCR rate? FCR by the way has been shown by the SQM Group that when increased by 1 percentage point will not only reduce your overall annual costs by an average of $276,000 the but additional impact will be 5 - 10 times that in savings by reducing the number of customers you currently have at risk. Risk of defecting as your customer, risk of going to the competition, risk of your company losing valuable and hard earned revenue. These customers are definitely not happy customers, so improving FCR will definitely improve your CSAT rate.

This FCR thing keeps getting bigger and bigger doesn't it. So what are you waiting for? Don't wait too long, your competition may be managing to a pretty high FCR.

Skip Stringham

Monday, May 23, 2011

Just wrapped up client we traveled over half the world for.

We found multiple locations each with differing goals, performance KPIs and very individualistic ways for reporting these numbers. In fact it was one of our findings that is sure to be impacted when our recommendations are implemented. We focused on improving efficiency and effectiveness of a global service organization that has been cobbled together over the years through acquisition and expansion. Needless to say they were multiple locations operating individually rather than as a global unit. Costs, handle time, systems used were all over the board. In fact each agent had at minimum 5 systems open and minimized at all times. Handle times varied by location and ranged from 3 minutes to 45 minutes - all dependent upon which systems they had to use for which call. We did our analysis, and made some specific recommendations to integrate as much of the databases and systems as possible into a value added "presentation layer" (really a poor description). This would serve to consolidate all data into virtually the same place and ease the searching and copying and pasting time each agent spent on each and every call. The entire savings from the global aht reduction is to be used to pay for the upgrade to a global network provided by AVAYA which will allow the client to route all channel types contacts to universal agents segmented by skill set. Cool solution, reducing costs and driving up customer experience scores.....we go from client to client the next one is a contact center that takes no calls, stay tuned..

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Back in town...

Just back from visits with client contact centers in Amsterdam, England, and Ireland. Delivered our recommendations in Amsterdam and began our assessment for the new client in their centers in England and Ireland. We will still need to visit more locations but it is sure to be interesting.

Blending in the contact center

I have a client who has a golden opportunity to reduce costs and improves service. They are very global, multi  channeled and most of their contacts take place via the phone and email channels. These two channels are staffed separately. One group handles emails, the other handles phone calls. As I sat alongside agents in each group I noticed the pace of the incoming transactions - it was not demanding. Upon further investigation I discovered that these two groups already lend agents between the two channels and I was told the transition in this move between groups is relatively easy. In keeping with my favorite contact center maxim - the more queues you have in place the more agents you will need to staff those queues - I quickly decided that if the technology can handle it, and merger of channel support groups was in the offing. I was glad to discover that their in place technology can handle a Universal Queue of emails and phone calls, as well as other channel contacts, and the agent desktop can be easily modified/updated to further support the agent in their control of their place in that queue. The result, sure to be as we suspected...few agents required after a very non complicated merger of functional agent groups.

The desktop and the ACD integrate by way of a Media Bar (new term for a combined piece of middleware and a softphone). Stay tuned as this project progresses.