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How to reduce costs with FCR (and more cost-cutting tips)

by The Salmat Team
13 October 2016
how-to-reduce-costs-with-fcrEvery department – including contact centres – is under pressure to keep operating costs under control without sacrificing customer satisfaction. Here we bring you five tips to reduce the cost of your call centre.

1. First call resolution

Make first call resolution (FCR) the prime aim of your call centre agents. Why? Quite simply, it reduces the number of contacts. Every time a customer has to contact you, or vice versa, there is a cost – reduce the number of calls and emails, and you reduce your costs and increase productivity.

Give your agents the tools they need to achieve FCR. You can do this with sophisticated workflow software – allowing agents to monitor prior customer engagement, get answers via your company intranet or internal chat, and set authorities in place. This allows agents to write off charges up to a certain amount.

Not only does it improve customer (and agent) satisfaction, but it will save money, improve agent autonomy, free-up senior staff, and increase efficiency.

2. Implement callback from queue

If you don’t already have callback from queue implemented and enabled, do it now. EnergyAustralia, for example, has an online callback request form that allows customers to avoid making a call altogether, saving the customer time, and guaranteeing no time wasted on hold.

People hate being put on hold, and most of us are quite happy to have the company call us back. This solution is a win-win. Customers don’t get annoyed listening to hold music, your abandoned call rate is reduced, and customer satisfaction improves. Not only that but fewer customers on hold reduces telephony costs. 


3. Overflow to remote agents

Every contact centre has its peak times. Traditionally, a call centre will be scoped to have enough seats to meet that peak. The problem is that such a peak may only occur once a day, once a week, or once a month. You can increase efficiency and reduce costs by overflowing to part-time agents working from home. Not only does this reduce real estate costs, but it also offers opportunities to experienced staff who may need to work from home, or have trouble accessing your location. 

4. Nudge customers to lower cost channels

Answering a voice call with a human being is the most expensive way of handling a customer interaction, and a lot of people don’t actually want to speak to an agent – they just want their problem sorted out. By diverting customers to an internet knowledge base, a self-service interactive voice response (IVR), or even providing helpful ‘how to’ blog posts, you can give them the opportunity to get the answers they need themselves.

The telecommunications industry deals with extremely high contact centre traffic, and some providers have developed thorough knowledge bases for customers to resolve as many issues as possible themselves. iiNet is one such provider, with a comprehensive set of self-help articles categorised by product, issue, and popularity to address frequently asked questions.

5. Know why your customers are calling

It’s a bit counterintuitive, but many contact centres don’t have anything more than a general idea of why customers call. Customer service agents may categorise calls as billing, delivery, and user instructions, but such broad classifications seldom provide the insights you need to develop specific action plans. You need enough detail to be able to ascertain what prompted the call. With this information, you can train your staff, develop instructional guides, and use subject matter experts to help your agents achieve better FCR rates.

The people best placed to advise you on your customers' pain points are already in your contact centres: the agents. The team answering customer calls will have powerful insights into the categories that will be most useful to your business.

Ready to start implementing some of these money-saving solutions? Learn more about Salmat's contact centre solutions and call us on 1300 725 628.

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About the author
The Salmat Team

Salmat is a leading Australian marketing services provider. We help clients connect with their customers, week-in, week-out. Salmat's unique combination of targeted letterbox and online marketing channels enables clients to Reach, Convert and Serve their customers. We also provide a wide range of back office solutions, through our Philippines-based Managed Services business.

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