December 7 –

I’ve told this story often this year.  I was commuting from my home in Annapolis to my new job in Indianapolis just before COVID hit, and I was lucky enough to be able to stay with my parents when in Indy.  And during that time, my mom had an issue with her cable password, she was locked out of her account.  She asked me to call the company to change her password.  It me took seven calls and three chat sessions until I found an agent who clarified the process.  I wondered, “does anyone at this cable company know that their agents don’t know how to help someone change their locked password?”

It is common for contact centers to randomly listen to calls from our agents, in order to score for quality and compliance.  That’s good.  But as managers, how often do you focus on listening to calls that you know are bad, because your data tells you so?

Customers that require multiple calls into our centers are obvious problems; they chew up a lot of time and, almost by definition, are likely to be dissatisfied. These are great calls for a management team to try and understand.  What could be the reason for these callbacks?  First, they could just be very complicated transactions. That’s normal.  Second, they could be very needy customers.  Also normal.  But they could also show us a gap in our training or a problem with our business processes.  Are we making something more complicated than it needs to be?  Are we leaving agents without the knowledge of how to handle these specific complicated contacts?

My perusal of contact center data says that this is not an insignificant problem, that transactions like my cable company issue is a significant portion of many company’s customer calls. They are a real big cost.  For those companies with call analytics platforms, these types of transactions are likely don’t sound different than normal calls, it is their frequency that makes them unique.  The good news is that your regular contact center data will make these problem calls easy to find. Look for several callbacks in short timeframes (within a day or week).  You’ll have to listen to these contacts, with the mindset that you will find the problem.  The great news is that this is something easy to find and hopefully easy to fix.

This week’s tip provided by SWPP Charter Member Ric Kosiba of Sharpen.  He may be reached at    Sharpen is the Agent-First contact center platform.