Answer Why Questions in the Contact Center to Improve Operations

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There is an evolution happening within the contact center. Companies are moving away from simply handling volume efficiently and are beginning to answer the most important question: “Why are people calling?”
By better understanding why customers are calling, firms can identify and fix root causes of issues, thereby reducing the volume of contact center interactions, rather than just trying to incrementally improve how quickly or cheaply they handle current volume.
Firms are already going to great lengths to incorporate social listening, machine learning, and other high-tech approaches to gain real-time feedback and actionable insight. Yet, too often companies overlook the valuable information sitting under their noses in contact centers.
For example, many contact centers have escalation teams or processes designed to manage issues that can’t be resolved through standard practices. Instead of focusing resources on measuring and managing teams to deal with these types of issues, a company could spend time learning why certain calls might escalate in the first place. Then, it could focus attention on how to prevent an issue from ever getting to a point where it needs escalation.
Unfortunately, few contact centers are set up to operate this way. Too many are judged by how efficiently they conduct operations, leaving little time or resources left to consider tackling “why” questions.
Companies that focus on understanding why their customers are calling, versus just handling volume, can gain meaningful insights to improve the customer experience across the enterprise. Why did a call come in? Was it a product or service issue? Is something unclear in marketing communications, billing, or product instructions? If a call was escalated or unresolved, why? Was it something relating to the associate, the knowledge base, products or services, customer expectations, or something else? Answering these questions can streamline operations, ultimately saving costs in the contact center and in the company as a whole.
Where possible, create a real-time feedback loop with the information that’s collected. It’s not enough to find out why people are interacting if the information isn’t shared with decision-makers for days, weeks, or months. Create proactive, upstream activities quickly that act on the insight generated.
And many times, the issue has nothing to do with what’s happening in the contact center. Open the contact center doors to share insights with marketing, finance, IT, product development, and even the c-suite to make necessary changes that improve the customer experience. Change policies, develop different product features, or adjust marketing messages with the confidence that the decisions are being made based on customer insight.
Many readers will agree that gaining a deeper understanding of why people interact with the contact center is a good idea. But how can it be done? We recommend four steps to start on the path to learn “why:”
  • Use operational data to drive insights
  • Automate voice-of-customer (VOC) data gathering
  • Harness social media data
  • Mash up your data 
Learn more about how to answer “why” questions by downloading the TTEC e-book: “Ask Why: The Secret to Turbocharging Contact Center Performance.”

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