Overwhelmed by inbound support calls? You may not be outbound enough

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Put a cap on your inbound support volumes by making smart outbound choices.

Telephony is usually the channel that places the highest load on your agents. Unlike channels such as chat, calls hold a lot of ‘dead air’, demand more attention, and often require throwback etiquette developed in a slower age. Voice calls also take up far more storage space, and are far more time-consuming for QA staff to review.

On top of all this, inbound voice calls still account for the highest volumes in a contact centre. Clearly it’s worth doing something about this.

We’re big fans of using the least effort to effect the biggest changes. (Which is not to say that diminishing returns are worthless – but anyway, we digress.) So let’s talk about perhaps the simplest, most straightforward strategy to reducing inbound call volumes.

 

Open the outbound floodgates

What’s the worst place to be in business? If ‘on the back foot’ is your answer, you can probably stop reading this article right now because you totally get it.

It’s all about reactivity. As in, how much time you spend reacting to things is a direct and proportional measure of how much control you have at any given point.

This may seem obvious – but it’s easy as the blazes to forget it while you’re caught up reacting to things.

The most successful businesses tend to be the most proactive. And to a contact centre, proactive means outbound.

 

Tell-tale signs

It’s worth considering that any time you get a call from a customer for support, you’ve failed in some way. Because especially in this age of instant, people really don’t like having to make any calls, let alone calls to a contact centre.

That means that every support call you receive is probably the last-ditch effort in a frustrating attempt to solve a problem literally any other way. It’s a sobering thought, but it’s heartening, because you can do something about it.

All you have to do is move the solution to their problem further up the pipeline.

To use a somewhat trivial example from our own experience, before our most recent event we received a number of calls and mails asking what the situation was with parking. We could have avoided a bunch of wasted time – for ourselves and our guests – by simply including that information in a confirmation mail following an RSVP.

It’s a no-brainer looking back, but here’s the thing: a lot of the stuff we waste time on are no-brainers when you take a step back and really look.

 

Going with the flow

Think of it like this: your inbound support calls aren’t so much a channel as they are a safety net. Which means you should be paying super-close attention to the things you catch in it. Once you do, you’ve turned your safety net into an important diagnostics tool. SCORE.

Any query you get at this last port of call should be treated as an opportunity to be more proactive. Whether it’s a timely SMS, a set of emails sent at careful intervals, or even tweak to a product design, there is almost always a way to place a solution earlier in your customer journey. And here’s the thing: the earlier you place it, the better the journey.

Pro tip: the above obviously requires knowing what your customer’s journey looks like – so if you haven’t already, you might want to get your mapping tools out.

Ultimately there’s little better as a customer to see the problems they used to have with your brand or product simply disappear.

That’s how you let people know you’re listening, that you care – through your actions.

Are you intending to do this? Already doing this? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. You can get in touch with Rogan Louwrens – the writer of this piece – at rogan@zailab.com.