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The Value of Irritation Calls

Customer interactions with contact centers can be divided into two broad categories: service calls and irritation calls. Service calls, or contacts through other media channels, occur to purchase a product or service, obtain additional information or assist with implementation and use.

Irritation calls, on the other hand, are placed when something goes wrong: the impetus may concern something as simple as delayed shipping; it may involve a knowledge gap in deploying a solution; or it may result from a design flaw in the product itself. Sometimes, irritation calls can also result from poor service by the contact center agent, misinformation or just the inability to achieve first-call resolution (FCR).

All these categories represent a different type of failure, and they should each be handled in a different manner.

Finding Irritation Calls

Before irritation calls can receive the recognition they deserve, they must first be compiled and organized into types. This process can become a complex matter, especially for organizations with a large volume of customer interactions. Workforce optimization (WFO) represents a broad category of solutions designed to find and categorize these contacts.

WFO systems generally encompass communications recording, quality management, speech analytics, eLearning and workforce management. Speech analytics provides the most sophisticated system to search and retrieve recorded calls by searching for a keyword or even using emotion detection capabilities. After culling through many interactions marked as potential problems, management or supervisors can get a good sense of operational changes the contact center may require.

Irritation with Service

Through evaluation with quality management, gaps in agent knowledge can be identified. eLearning helps to qualify agents and improve their skills through the delivery of customized instruction to the desktop.The lack of adequate training can cascade into many other problem areas and result in more complaints. For example, misinformation and an inability to achieve first-call resolution for basic requests can also generate irritation calls you should be able to easily fix.

Calls from unhappy customers must be identified to understand their dissatisfaction. Only with this understanding can you improve processes to ensure long-term satisfaction and avoid customer migration.

Emotion detection helps to identify irritation calls from angry customers. After selecting all calls with flashes of anger, the supervisor can evaluate them to determine the cause. Then, measures to eliminate the cause of anger can be introduced for the future, and the angry customers can be contacted to prevent their migration to a competitor.

Reasons for Irritation Beyond the Contact Center

Workforce optimization solutions help to spot irritation calls based on other areas of the enterprise beyond the contact center. Shipping delays, for example, can be spotted through unique keywords in your speech analytics system. The failure to properly assign your staff can be ameliorated through workforce management to ensure the right person is used for the right job at the right time. Common complaints about the implementation of your product or service may suggest the need for more effective technical support, or simply clearer instructions at the purchase point.

More serious irritation calls may result from a design flaw in the product itself. These irritation calls should generate immediate proactive steps. Customers must be informed, offered a fix and receive some kind of reassurance about your willingness to solve the matter with a minimum of inconvenience and added cost on their behalf.

Workforce optimization solutions can help you to quickly find and act upon irritation calls based on their type and frequency. As such, these calls represent a valuable resource to improve your operations, staff and product, and they should be considered as anything but an irritation.

Katrin Henkel is Communications Director, ASC telecom AG.