Knowing how to reduce the cost per contact is considered one of the most ambitious goals in call centers . Since it shows the direct link between operational changes and the variation in the financial balance of the business.
For this reason, in this article I will first explain what the cost per service contact is, then how to calculate it and what strategies to follow to reduce it. But first, know all the topics that this publication will address.
- 1) What is the cost per contact and how is it calculated?
- 2) 14 strategies to reduce the cost per contact in customer service
- 2.1) 1. Solve the calls in the first communication
- 2.2) 2. Optimize the IVR
- 2.3) 3. Use the callback function
- 2.4) 4. Create a routing strategy according to skills
- 2.5) 5. Use workforce optimization tools
- 2.6) 6. Offer self-service options
- 2.7) 7. Improves hiring and training
- 2.8) 8. Monitor calls
- 2.9) 9. Use integrated software
- 2.10) 10. Lean on the CTI system
- 2.11) 11. Improves scheduling and schedule compliance
- 2.12) 12. Hire agents under remote work
- 2.13) 13. Opt for more profitable channels
- 2.14) 14. Be proactive
What is and how is the cost per contact calculated?
The cost per contact is the sum of all the costs associated with running a customer service call center. These might be:
- Employee salaries.
- Pay for overtime.
- Facility costs.
- Hardware and computers.
- Software licenses.
This amount is divided by the number of cases attended in a period of time; usually it is a month. As a best practice, it’s best to separate interactions into different channels, such as phone, chat, social , email, and more. Thus, you will be able to know which are the most profitable.
For example, assume your total spend for March was $3,600 and your team was able to handle 1,200 calls. So in simple math, each contact will cost 3 dollars per attention.
However, the measurement of the cost per contact is a complex process that encompasses many variables , but it is a necessary exercise due to its enormous utility, since it offers a general and quite precise vision of how goals are being met in a call center or in a customer service area.
14 strategies to reduce the cost per contact in customer service
Reducing the cost per contact is a key strategy to balance the operating costs of your customer service campaigns . Therefore, here I will show you 14 ways to reduce this indicator .
1. Solve calls on the first call
An alternative to reduce the cost per contact is to optimize the first call . Which means empowering customer service agents with the knowledge and skills to resolve most issues they may encounter .
2. Optimize the IVR
The interactive voice response or IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system is an automated telephony technology that directs callers to a customer service center through pre-recorded audio.
These audio prompts users to choose from a menu of preset options, automatically directing or routing calls without the intervention of an operator at the time.
Optimizing your IVR can generate savings for your company , since calls cost less the faster people get to the right agent or place for their request.
Always remember that “unlimited minutes” only apply to a cell phone plan, not to the customer service area bill, as every second is billable. Some of the questions you should ask yourself before optimizing your IVR are :
- How much information does the caller have to provide before being routed to the right agent?
- Is the IVR asking the caller for more information than necessary?
- How should the IVR handle people who do not respond correctly or who do not select the options described?
3. Use the callback function
As we saw in the previous point, you are charged for each second that a person interacts with the IVR , so the callback function is important when it is necessary to disconnect the user until an agent is available for him or her.
Also, the number of seats required is less since the calls will be queued , but not connected to the IVR.
Therefore, it is ideal that you can provide the callback option to your users. This can even go in the same IVR, asking them if they prefer that an agent contact them when they are free and so they do not have to wait .
As an additional feature, you can tell your users where they are in the call queue . This is something they will appreciate because you will be transparent about how long they can wait to be served.
4. Create a routing strategy according to skills
An “effective” way to increase the cost per contact is to take the customer through the tedious process of transferring them from one agent to another, until they find one who can resolve their concerns or problems.
One solution to this situation is to link the client with the agent that best suits their needs . With the help of the right software you can take into account the location of the caller, the contact history with the company, etc.
It then matches the customer to the agent based on their availability, skill, specialized training, language, etc. You will reduce the cost per contact because handling times will decrease , increasing the number of calls that agents will be able to handle.
5. Use workforce optimization tools
Although there are many workforce optimization tools, you can opt for ones that evaluate historical data to make predictions about how many calls you will have in the future and how you can distribute them throughout a day.
In this way, this type of technology will provide the hours in which your agents will have to work and will also provide quality scores, service levels and many other metrics.
Workforce management has customer service agents in the right place at the right time .
6. Offer self-service options
A great way to reduce the cost per contact in customer service is to decrease the volume of incoming calls. So how can I achieve this without compromising quality of service? Allowing customers to resolve their concerns themselves.
This can be achieved by letting users schedule calls through your website or by using call center chatbots . These scheduled calls are the cheapest for a call center , since there is no use of the equipment until the agreed date and time arrives.
This strategy is aimed at customers who do not want to talk on the phone , and even less so by video call, with an agent.
To reduce costs, it is advisable to switch from classic channels such as the telephone to more profitable ones .
7. Improve hiring and training
One of the best ways to lower the cost per contact is to make sure that the workers in this area have the necessary knowledge and training to correctly address any customer need .
This strategy can be achieved by carrying out a good hiring process and providing constant training. This will help to resolve a conflict only on the first call and reduce the attention time, preventing escalation to any management.
8. Monitor calls
Make sure your team provides excellent service to reduce costs per contact. Maintaining a good team of dedicated customer service agents is much more than just giving directions and waiting for goals to be met . Area managers must constantly monitor the work of their collaborators to evaluate performance.
9. Use integrated software
To have a successful strategy to reduce the cost per contact in customer service, it is advisable to have software to channel calls, collect customer information, as well as open, close and edit tickets.
A good alternative is Score , a cloud platform that adapts to your needs, whether you are a customer service, telesales, telemarketing or collections company .
Score combines its process and outcome detection algorithms with machine learning to improve customer contact and efficiently route calls and interactions. Also, with its ability to scale, it does not matter if you operate with 20 or 500 telemarketers , as the cloud platform has the ability to grow with you.
Also, if you have management platforms such as CRM, Score is capable of integrating with them so that you get a 360 view of your customers , eliminating information silos.
Finally, with Score you will have at your disposal all the metrics of work times , management results and all the details you need to boost your operation
10. Lean on the CTI system
The CTI function (Computer Telephony Integration” or in Spanish “Integración de la Telefonía y la Informática”) is widely used by customer service companies, since they must process a large number of calls and are under constant pressure to optimize their services. productivity.
A CTI system has softphone-type software that can be used on both Windows and Mac and makes it no longer necessary to use a physical telephone, since a simple headset or headset is enough, and the most common functions such as answering, transferring and putting a call on hold can be done with just one click.
This solution also contemplates the use of hot-desking , which allows shared spaces from different computers or laptops.
Another benefit of using CTI is that it streamlines the call verification process , so workers spend less time on the phone verifying user identity.
When talking about CTI, it is important to take into account WebRTC, a technology that allows you to have your communications by voice or video call from a web browser , without the need for third-party software. If you want to know a Call Center software that has this type of technology, learn more about Score .
This is how Culqi improved his contactability from 20% to 85% thanks to Score
Paul Vera, Culqi’s Telemarketing Manager, tells us about improving his campaigns thanks to the automatic and predictive dialing of our platform.
11. Improve scheduling and adherence to schedule
Improving scheduling and time adherence can significantly reduce staffing costs and, as a result, the cost per call.
Some basic tips to help optimize scheduling and compliance include purchasing software that helps manage payroll, inform agents about the importance of their commitment to goals , provide ongoing feedback to employees, and reward those who deliver. with the goals.
12. Hire agents under remote work
If you have a large number of calls to make, a good option is to hire personnel who work remotely , reducing costs in the use of a face-to-face infrastructure and, therefore, the cost per contact .
This alternative can also be implemented during periods of high demand. The goal is to reduce operating costs without compromising service quality .
13. Opt for more profitable channels
Today, customers have a plethora of options for contacting a business and receiving assistance. However, to reduce costs, it is advisable to move from classic channels such as the telephone to more profitable ones , such as live chats.
Phone support is great, but here are a few reasons why it shouldn’t be your only channel of communication:
- Only one user can be served at a time. This means that during peak hours, phone lines can reach capacity and leave customers waiting a long time to speak to a worker.
- The initial investment is quite high because you have to have a telephone exchange, headphones and software to record calls .
Alternatively, you can direct your customers to profitable channels like live chat or email where you can handle more than one request at a time and offer quick solutions.
14. Be proactive
The final tip for reducing cost per contact is to move from reactive to productive customer service. By following these options you will be able to solve problems long before customers tell you :
- Use social media for important announcements: Social media is a far-reaching and public platform, so you can use it for updates on business hours or how a service issue is being addressed.
- Send proactive emails: with an email you can address a group or a specific person to notify about any interruption in the service provided by your company, for example.
- Keep your customers informed: a classic question from users is what is the status of my order or problem? To avoid these questions, which can become repetitive, it is best to always inform customers of their current situation through automated text messages or emails.
In conclusion, reducing the cost per contact is generally one of the objectives of any customer service area . However, many executives don’t know how to achieve this without sacrificing quality of service.
With the options provided in this article, you will be able to not only reduce the cost per contact, but also attract more customers and improve the internal functioning of your company.