“One and Done” is one of many monikers used to identify the importance of meeting and completing the customer’s objective on the first contact. Agents might be resolving a chat, email, or phone inquiry; the channel is irrelevant to the One and Done objective. Consumers appreciate it when issues are resolved the first time they contact a service provider. Sadly, far too often organizations are not structured to support One and Done. This puts the Customer Experience, company brand, margins, and market share at risk.
Repeat calls create additional costs while simultaneously negatively impacting the Customer Experience.
When customers must repeatedly follow up for status on orders, loans, returns, trades, appointments, etc., it represents a “load” that could be avoided if the first contact was One and Done.
The inefficiency and cost of handling contacts repeatedly is often blurred because Contact Center leaders are focused on other metrics. Among the challenges with metric focus is the assumption that all volume is valid, has value, and must be treated in a certain way. The fact is that repeat calls create additional costs while simultaneously negatively impacting the Customer Experience.
I once worked with a client with an organizational framework that demonstrated the company’s commitment to One and Done. This framework created a model that would ultimately impact not only the Contact Center’s One and Done capabilities but also improve cross-functional relationships, processes, procedures, and customer communication. The result was a stronger, more positive culture in the Contact Center and improved morale and team collaboration. Here are a few highlights.
One and Done Organizational Model
At first glance, the organizational model showed a structure that is like other Contact Centers. However, a closer look illuminated some differences. This organizational structure included one very unique team and several significant features.
The model was designed to facilitate a quality experience for both agents and customers. When an acceleration of repeat calls was identified, a speech analytics engine put forward information not specifically asked for. In this case, it identified an increasing number of calls with phrases that began with statements such as, “This is the third time I’ve had to call.”
The Contact Center decided to examine the root cause of any callbacks to the company regarding the same issue that occurred within thirty days. The mission was to examine root cause of repeat calls to positively impact cost, efficiency, the Customer Experience, and agent morale. Like many other Contact Centers, agents had been taking the heat for conditions they could not change or information they could not find.
Formation of the Causal Analysis Team
In collaboration with the Contact Center Vice President (VP), the new Causal Analysis team was created. The team was positioned within the Business Operations Group; the VP designated a Director of Causal Analysis to lead the team.
The Causal Analysis team was charged with collecting root cause data on all callbacks that occurred within 30 days. Every callback recording was linked to all recordings in the chain to identify the sequence of events contributing to the callback. The data was collected and analyzed; reports were prepared to review findings and determine next steps. Prior to this time, no one had been charged with this task and repeat calls were straining the operation.
The percentage of callbacks was significantly reduced. Many discoveries were made, yielding both short- and long-term improvements.
The dedication of resources to understand transaction origins and act on transactions that yielded additional calls shone a light on the “causes” and what it would take to eliminate them. Very few of the findings could hold any agent behavior responsible. Processes, systems, cross-functional partners, performance, and communication to customers were identified as causal. Issues could be eliminated through process improvement, quality programs, technology improvements, and enhanced relationships with other business units.
Needless to say, the percentage of callbacks was significantly reduced. Many discoveries were made, yielding both short- and long-term improvements.
Assist & Escalation Line
Prior to creating the Assist & Escalation line, agent teams relied on their supervisor, team leader, senior agent, or specialist when they needed assistance. Associates queued for help at supervisor extensions or cubicles. They left callers on hold while searching and waiting for assistance. Calls backed up in queue and stress mounted for both agent and caller. An entirely new concept was needed … a team dedicated to supporting agents.
Today, associates dial an extension and go to an Assist queue to have questions answered. Staffing at Assist & Escalation is at the highest possible service level to ensure a speedy response. As well, associates keep a record of each and every call in a call management system. Transactional analysis is done to uncover the root cause of the call for identifying training, process, or technology issues that can be resolved to improve customer contact.
A team was also established to “research” events requiring additional study to satisfy a caller’s request. As an example, the team identified that there would be a 31% reduction in research requests to a particular department if they integrated documents from one system to another. There were significant savings for the Contact Center and the business unit. The Customer Experience was enhanced because now it was One and Done.
Of course, there were skeptics. But the team just pushed forward, confident of the concept. Now no one can recall thinking that the Assist & Escalation line was a bad idea!
Rapid Response Teams
In conjunction with the Assist & Escalation Line, the company established company-wide Rapid Response teams. The purpose was to have a specific “go to” person or team of subject matter experts (SMEs) in each business unit to search for solutions to issues from clients, callers, or staff. This laid the groundwork for previously unheard-of levels of corporate integration and communication.
Resolution of escalated research issues decreased from ten-plus days to no more than 48 hours in most complicated cases. The team continues to work towards a 24 hour goal.
Contact Center quality scores are a key factor and count for 70% of the agent’s overall performance. The company currently uses an advanced automated quality monitoring system that records all calls and screens and employs a speech analytics tool. Agents are reviewed at least four times per month by their supervisor/coach. The electronic embedded assessment form allows trends to be analyzed and identified by the Quality Program analyst, a member of the Business Operations Team, at the individual, team, and center level. This yields maximum benefit from the effort; problems are identified and resolved at many levels and across multiple channels.
The Contact Center does have a unique perspective as to where processes, technology, and silos can be examined and streamlined in a collaborative and supportive way.
Role of the Financial Analyst
The company’s Business Operations team also includes the unique position of Financial Manager of Planning and Analysis. This role acts as “a liaison” with Finance and incorporates the company’s finance methodologies for use in the Contact Center. With such a resource, the Contact Center can report effectively on ongoing activities and recommend organizational changes that return real dollars to the bottom line.
When it comes to One and Done, the Contact Center is not solely responsible. However, it does have a unique perspective as to where processes, technology, and silos can be examined and streamlined in a collaborative and supportive way. Everyone wins!
It has never been more important to create an organizational model that includes resources focused on all aspects of the transaction and interaction. The time has come to bring your organizational model into discussions around ways to create efficiency gains and meet objectives such as One and Done.