Best Practices in the Call Center A Customer Touch-Point Methodology

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                                                         Best Practices in the Call Center:
                                                                  A Customer Touch-Point Methodology

   One of the biggest dangers in                 volume for each type; 3) Customer Service
establishing best practices for your contact     Priority for each type, and 4) the relative
center is to do so in isolation from your        complexity of transactions.
self-service stakeholders. Instead, all
customer “touch-points” must be viewed as        ASSESS TASK POPULARITY & COMPLEXITY
part of a continuum. Customer touch-                It is also a best practice to create a
points include Web Self-Service,                 taxonomy of transaction types. This makes it
Interactive Voice Response, Contact              easier to track the trends of task popularity
Center Agents, and Face-to-Face                  across different customer touch-points. If
transactions. By tracking the interplay          paying bills can be done on your web site and
between these, you can more easily identify      your IVR system, and of course by speaking
meaningful key performance indicators.           to an agent, it is valuable to observe the shift   Figure 3. Matrix for Plotting Volume and
                                                 from one customer touch-point to the other         Complexity. This is a Financial Services
SYNCHRONIZE YOUR STAKEHOLDERS                    based on incremental improvements made in          industry example. Here, the triangular part
   Corporate strategic initiatives may           each area. A web site “bill pay” usability         represents what the stakeholders may
seemingly contradict individual contact          improvement may decrease IVR and Agent             choose as an area of concentration for their
                                                                                                    particular needs.
center goals. For example, your VP of            utilization drastically.
Customer Service may want to improve
customer satisfaction scores by 10% this
year – but your CFO may want to decrease                                                            on a small budget and the results can be
headcount through attrition. In this                                                                used to convince management to do more
example, you must contemplate improving                                                             complex projects.
customer satisfaction with fewer people.                                                               Finally, you should define Key
This suggests some amount of automation                                                             Performance Indicators (KPIs) to be
and improved agent efficiency. A                                                                    consistent with your new findings. It is a
combination of the two is suggested                                                                 good idea to link KPIs to the “Volume /
because there are important linkages                                                                Complexity Matrix.” Take, for example,
between these touch-points. For example,                                                            handling a complaint. This type of
web self-service can link a customer to a                                                           transaction usually requires a longer
live agent chat. Or a detailed web                                                                  transaction time. A complaint call is much
transaction may prompt a call to your            Figure 2. Grid for Tracking Task Popularity.       more complex than a simple account balance
                                                 This is a utility industry example.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. It                                                         inquiry. Therefore, a “Transaction Length
is all part of a continuum.                                                                         KPI” for a complaint call would be judged
   It is therefore a best practice to assemble                                                      differently than the length of a transaction
live service and self-service stakeholders to    AUTOMATION CANDIDATES AND KEY                      and resulting KPI for an account balance
discuss the balance between touch-points.        PERFORMANCE INDICATORS                             inquiry. That is to say it is reasonable to be
A good starting point for discussion is to          Once you have data on customer                  on the phone longer to handle a complaint.
jointly characterize your customers. Choose      groupings and transaction types, figuring          Simply put, you should avoid generalizations
characteristics that are meaningful for your     your automation candidates is                      in developing KPIs. Instead, consider the
business. For example: 1) Customer Types         straightforward. You can create a simple           “Volume / Complexity Matrix” when
(e.g. retail customer in good standing, retail   quadrant matrix using Transaction Type             establishing KPIs.
customer in poor standing, wholesale             Volume and Transaction Complexity as X/Y              In summary, you can improve operational
customer, etc.); 2) Monthly transaction          coordinates. For example, in a Financial           efficiencies and also customer satisfaction by
                                                 Services / Credit Card scenario, you may           establishing your own customer touch-point
                                                 plot “Account Balance,” “Make Payment,”            methodology. This requires frequent
                                                 and “Increase Credit Line” as all being high-      synchronization with touch-point
                                                 volume transactions, but in terms of               stakeholders, and an ongoing analysis of
                                                 complexity, they are simple all the way to         customer profiles, transaction taxonomy, and
                                                 complex respectively.                              automation candidates.
                                                    You may wonder which ones should be
                                                 automated first. As a general rule of thumb,       Oracle offers a full spectrum of solutions for
                                                 you should automate the high-transaction           the blended contact center allowing you to
                                                 candidates first, starting with the least          improve customer satisfaction while reducing
                                                 complex ones. The rationale for this is to         costs. For more information visit
Figure 1. Grid for Characterizing Customer       make for quick successes that you can grow         www.oracle.com/crm and visit our blog at:
Groupings. This is a utility industry example    on. “Quick Hit” improvements can be done           http://blogs.oracle.com/crm