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It’s every Contact Center manager’s worst nightmare, the customer who repeatedly calls back because their issue has not been resolved to their satisfaction. When this problematic scenario begins playing out with an increasing number of customers, quick action is needed to prevent a crisis. Repeat calls drive up operational costs, create a negative customer experience, and can lead to increased customer churn. Focusing on First Contact Resolution (FCR) is critical for Contact Center success. However, to reduce repeat calls, it is essential to figure out what is driving them in the first place. Often the root causes of such problems are extremely ambiguous and difficult to decipher.

According to a recent study, 52% of U. S. consumers reported they had changed telecom providers (for phone, internet, TV, or cable services) in the most recent 24 months. The study found that churn in the telecom industry is most often due to high customer effort and revealed that, of those who canceled contracts with their providers, 51% cited having to call more than once about the same issue as a reason.

Why is it that customers’ issues aren’t being handled to their satisfaction during their first call? The reasons are often difficult to pinpoint yet it is essential for Contact Center management to identify the drivers of the repeat calls as a first step toward reducing them.

The value of reducing repeat calls

The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) reports that, in 2019, America’s wireless industry contributed $690.5 billion to U.S. GDP, which would make it the world’s 21st largest economy. Given the enormity of the industry, the similarity of competitive offerings, and the notably low tolerance among consumers for poor service on their devices, the stakes are high for telecoms. They must make it a priority to improve customer experience and reduce customer churn. Leveraging data analytics to improve FCR rates is critical for achieving this objective. However, businesses often find it challenging to pinpoint the specific insights from their data that have the power to drive operationally effective changes.

Northridge’s experience in telecom, healthcare, and other digitally-challenged and high-touch industries has confirmed that repeat calls are a sign that a contact center has deficiencies that can stem from inadequate training, poor associate behaviors, inefficient business processes, or unaddressed feature or function issues with the underlying products or services. Identifying the exact causes of the repeat calls and determining solutions for those drivers is key to improving the process within the Contact Center.

Northridge’s data-driven Root Cause Analysis process

The best way to identify the exact drivers contributing to repeat calls is to conduct a root cause analysis, leveraging data to identify the process, systems, and/or behaviors that are failing. Uncovering the root cause issues driving repeat calls makes it possible to resolve the problems, improve the customer experience, reduce costs and increase customer retention.

Achieving an acceptable FCR level as well as tolerable average handle times (AHT) is always a balancing act for Contact Center managers. Often resolving an issue during the first call necessitates a longer than acceptable handle time. To optimize operational efficiency, cost reduction, and Customer Experience, Contact Centers must determine the optimal balance between FCR and AHT for their organization and set realistic goals. Some businesses can tolerate an AHT of 6 minutes to achieve 95% FCR while others can only accept an AHT of 3 minutes and must settle for 50% FCR. Fortunately, with the right processes in place, Contact Centers can often leverage their data to achieve this delicate balance.

The Northridge Group uses advanced data analytics to identify the drivers of increasing call volumes, helping clients overcome FCR issues in their Contact Centers. Our data-driven process has proven successful in helping clients resolve their FCR challenges:

  • We start with a thorough assessment of the current state to identify the problem(s).
  • We evaluate a variety of data sources, including calls, call transcriptions, associated system data, customer sentiment scores to identify the true scope of the resolution. (Has the customer called in the past from a different phone number?
  • Our subject matter experts listen to sample calls to identify causal factors
  • Using these factors, we drill down in the data to the root causes driving the repeat calls
  • After we isolate the drivers of the repeat calls, we identify potential opportunities to resolve the root causes and provide the client with an implementation roadmap to act on those opportunities, reducing the need for repeat calls and improving FCR.

In most cases, high call volumes, are the result of an increasing number of repeat calls from the same customers. This significantly increases costs and leads to increased staffing shortages. More importantly, customer dissatisfaction leads to customer churn. The root causes of FCR problems can be difficult to pinpoint, but it is worth the effort to identify and resolve them. According to a recent study, 79% of customers admitted sharing their disappointment about their telco’s level of service with others. Disappointing customer experiences with phones, internet, TV, or cable services spread quickly and disappointed customers can cause the churn of others. The perception among customers that competitive telecom services are interchangeable only intensifies the need for telecom providers to do everything in their power to reduce customer churn.

The Northridge Group can show your organization how to harness the power of advanced data analytics to drive operational efficiencies, a more effortless customer experience, and an improved FCR. To learn more, contact us.

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