Creating contact centre capacity.
Reducing failure demand in banking.
Increasing costs and call volumes
A UK bank needed to create extra capacity in its call centre operations. Over several years, call volumes had outstripped sales growth, and it was important to identify the underlying reasons.
The management team of the telephony operation was under increasing pressure to control costs, having a target of absorbing 20% extra work at no extra cost.
Call avoidance analysis
A small project team was set up to understand the increased call volume, and to determine whether it could be reduced.
Traditionally, many call centres had focused on reducing Average Handling Time rather than employing the more effective Call Avoidance analysis. In this case, call avoidance analysis comprised workshops where front-line agents noted the variety of calls they might receive. This was carried out in different centres and validated by local and senior managers. In this way, four main types of calls were identified:
- ‘Genuine Demand’ (customer-initiated calls)
- ‘Failure Demand’ (unsatisfied customers calling again)
- ‘Not For Here’ (calls in error)
- ‘Bank Policy Generated’ (calls prompted by the bank’s own communications).
The categories behind these main types of calls were logged across a 6-week period to establish the quantities of the different call types. The number of agents, the market segment and the period were all defined to guarantee a high degree of confidence in the sample. The categories on the call logging sheet were carefully chosen so there were not too many categories, and so the results would give a good indication of the needs for each call.
Once sampling was complete and the results compiled, the same members of the original workshops were invited to participate in further sessions to suggest solutions to the ‘failure demand’ and the ‘not for here’ categories, which together accounted for over 40% of all calls. Once these ideas were generated, they were ranked and turned into an action plan that was then pursued by the project team.
Reduction in call volumes
The work was a great success and is continuing to generate additional improvements. By taking a different approach to call centre efficiency improvement, the project team was able to demonstrate that the benefits were much larger than previously thought. At the end of the project, the client articulated the benefits as follows:
- Increased understanding of call types, in particular ‘failure demand’
- a detailed action plan, based on data and designed to reduce overall call volume
- a structured methodology for managing future call volume
- a clear vision of further reductions that could be achieved