Proactively and Creatively Control Contact Center Costs


Call center budgets are notoriously tight. You may have already squeezed out all the savings you can from optimized forecasting and staffing, but there's more you can do. Consider these ideas:


Implement a voice bot. Artificial intelligence (AI) combined with interactive voice response (IVR) is a powerful formula for enabling customer self-service. Every successful self-service transaction represents a contact that doesn't have to be handled by an agent. That means you can redeploy agents to handle other interaction channels. Some agents may even be able to work on training your bot – make it smarter and enable it to handle more interactions on its own. If you don't have the right kind of IVR, consider adding an upgrade to your technology plan.

Go after average handle time. Have you worked on reducing average handle time (AHT) lately? It's something that needs regular attention because it tends to creep up. The IVR capabilities we just discussed can also help decrease AHT. For example, the IVR can authenticate callers, saving agent time. Another factor that impacts AHT is your agent UI. Providing agents with one user friendly interface to handle all interactions will help. And giving agents immediate access to all tools and data they need to provide great customer experiences not only makes for a better CX, but also speeds up handling. Aside from technical solutions, better call control techniques and some appropriate scripting can also reduce AHT, which should allow you to do more with less.

Reduce your inbound call volume. This may seem nonsensical on the surface, but there are some things you can do to reduce call volume. For example, if first call resolution (FCR) isn't high enough, your call center is creating more volume by requiring customers to make second or third calls to get their issues resolved. Look for policy, process, training, and technology changes that can improve FCR. Agentless campaigns help reduce inbound volume without requiring agent resources by using your IVR to leave a personalized recorded message for the customer. Also consider outbound approaches that use channels such as SMS (provided you have buy-in from the customer) or email.

Reduce non-agent costs. While agent wages is likely your biggest cost category, facilities and IT costs can also add up. Moving to the cloud not only provides you with flexibility and data security, but it often costs less than on-premises solutions. For example, on-premise software vendors often charge you for the peak number of users, regardless of how many users there are during non-peak times, whereas cloud vendors typically only charge you for what you actually use. And whether you are planning for expansion or have to downsize your current facility, moving part or all of your agents to a remote model can help you avoid or reduce costs.