call avoidance

Call Avoidance 101

In my experience, I’ve found that an agent is 10 times more likely to avoid calls towards the end of their shift.  If you’re a contact center leader, what measurements do you put in place to control and/or capture such behaviors?  Now don’t get me wrong, I know we have exceptional agents out there that would never avoid calls, regardless of time. I’m also sure that I am not the only one that ever received a conveniently disconnected call at the top of the hour, after waiting in queue for a significant period of time. With that said, let’s make sure you’re abreast of the call avoidance behaviors to look out for in your contact center.

While there are countless other behaviors that are exhibited in call avoidance, these are by far the classic and most prevalent ones. As a contact center enthusiast, I recommend contact center leaders to have measurements in place to identify call avoidance behaviors that could impact consumers. If any of these behaviors are of concern to you, here are some measurements and tips to keep you on top of call avoidance:

Help your agents overcome the desire to avoid calls toward the end of their shift (or even before breaks and lunches) by controlling the types of calls they receive at those times.  For example, integrate your workforce management scheduling tool into your call delivery system so that you can create rules for certain long-duration call types or skills not to be routed to agents within certain thresholds of time before those crucial stopping points. Agents will love you for this. As an agent, there’s nothing worse than getting a 30 minute average trouble-shooting call 5 minutes before the end of your shift.  Implementing workforce optimization efforts into your ACD enhances both customer and agent experiences, and assists in reducing overtime incurred by the routing of untimely long duration call types.

Develop daily productivity scorecards for your agent and their supervisor to monitor. This scorecard should include their internal quality score, their customer satisfaction survey scores from customer interactions, and their productivity measurements, tracking basic call center metrics: handle time, hold time, transfer %, schedule adherence %, escalation call statistics, repeat call statistics, and first contact resolution.  These measurements give a contact center supervisor and manager insight into potential areas of performance concern.

If there are a high number of calls transferred, listening to recorded calls from the period of time with the high occurrence may showcase an area of concern. This same tactic should be applied to monitoring short calls, as well as calls handled before scheduled breaks, lunches and end of shifts. Listen to calls where hold time exceeds more than 10% of the talk time. Calls associated with no customer on line or caller hung up dispositions will also help detect call avoidance behaviors.

Call avoidance in a contact center is a serious concern, as it reduces customer satisfaction, and drives up company costs – which both inflate the bottom line. Contact center leaders should be trusting with their agents, but should always inspect what they don’t expect! What interesting new call avoidance strategies have you uncovered?