One thing that can’t be disputed by call center agents and managers is the detrimental impact that angry clients have on working conditions.
As a result, some agents are looking for strategies to minimize their contact with unhappy clients. We refer to this as the “call avoidance” phenomena.
But it’s also hard to take being harassed by consumers seriously on a daily basis. However, call avoidance hurts call center performance, leads to a staggering number of complaints, reduces customer satisfaction, and brings in more angry consumers than before. How do you deal with call avoidance? How can you ensure a perfect balance between customer satisfaction and agent experience? Discover 7 winning strategies to tack call avoidance!
- Call Avoidance is a deliberate act and not an accident
- Managers need to pinpoint the cause of call avoidance
- Business owners need to build a healthy and motivation environment for your agents
- Progressive dialer is a key technology to this problem
- Using several communication channels will decrease call avoidance
- Call Avoidance can be used by companies to encourage self-service
What is Call Avoidance?
Call Avoidance comprises all strategies employed by contact center supervisors and agents to avoid answering calls. There are several reasons why agents choose not to accept calls, but agent experience is the primary factor. But the most important component of call avoidance is that it must be performed on purpose.
These actions can be considered as Call Avoidance:
- Removing the phone without making a call.
- Taking excessive restroom breaks.
- Staying on the line with a client for a longer period of time than required.
- Transferring a call to other agents while staying online.
- Delaying post-interaction work.
- Logging into voicemail to dodge a call.
Untactful customer interactions can be a deal-breaker for certain individuals, while others are sensitive to exchanges that might offend them. Some contact center agents simply cannot handle the bullying from consumers or the volume of nasty comments made by furious clients.
When agents reach their breaking point, they have two options: quit their jobs or attempt to avoid as many calls as possible.
Numerous tactics are employed by agents to avoid receiving calls. For example: taking excessive breaks, manipulating the status on the system, overusing voicemail, diverting calls to other platforms, and stretching out a discussion with one client to avoid answering another etc.
There are further ways for agents to avoid calls, but they require a clever approach in order not to hurt KPIs. However, the objective of call center management is to do all necessary to prevent call avoidance, which is extremely detrimental to the customer service business.
7 Call Avoidance Tactics for Call Centers
1. Track down the underlying cause
Agents may not be able to perform at their peak efficiency all the time because of how difficult the conditions are. Some employees may opt to ignore calls not out of malice or laziness but rather out of need.
To provide an example, one agent has a high incidence of call avoidance with high level of breaks and when you look into it, you discover that it’s due to a burnout.
If agents are unable to perform due to factors outside of their control, such as physical illness or mental exhaustion it is not his responsibility. Employees will feel more confident in you if you show that you care about them and can address their concerns and meet their demands.
Jim Rembach, host of the Fast Leader Podcast, President of CX Global Media, and a long-time industry veteran, gives us his opinion on why agents in call centers burn out?
2. Automate responses
A phone tree or other form of automated call response system can help you prioritize calls and respond to consumer inquiries. Depending on the nature of your business, the sequence of questions you ask may consist of just your firm’s address, hours of operation, return policy, and upcoming events.
If the automated response does not address a customer’s concerns, they should be given the opportunity to contact a live person. In contrast, the automated voice system can handle all the low-priority calls so that only the most important ones get through to your agents.
3. Progressive Dialer
If you’re having trouble getting people to pick up the phone, a progressive dialer may be the solution. This technology instantly connects you to the next number on your list as soon as the current call ends.
Because your clients or prospects are currently on the line, you can’t just hang up on them and change your mind. A manual dial option is available, of course. If you want to make notes or do any sort of follow-up, that’s a great feature to have.
4. Supervisor Dashboard
While it is true that certain calls need follow-up in order to properly complete the task at hand, this is not necessarily the case for all calls. Some operators do do this, and it’s how they get their mandatory five minutes of downtime after each call.
Agent overuse can be spotted through the use of screen recording to observe post-interactions activities.
For example; NobelBiz has incorporated call center activity tracking technology into its CCaaS solution NobelBiz Omni+. This tool will allow managers and owners to implement a truly equitable and fair performance incentive system, giving agents more incentive to do their best for themselves and for the company.
5. Subvert the call routing protocol
The average waiting time is used by many call center solutions as a factor in the routing system. This ensures that the agent with the longest wait time is connected to the customer before his colleagues.
But, what if he loses his place in line for only a moment? You probably already know that the agents gets moved from first to last in a list. Agents frequently use this tactic to avoid calls.
Thankfully, modern call center softwares has features that monitor agent status at all times, so your supervisors will know immediately if somebody tampers with them.
For example: NobelBiz offers one of the most versatile selections of intelligent tools, specifically designed to increase contact rates, customer satisfaction and productivity.
That’s why we’ve implemented a Smart Routing System (SMRT®) in our Voice Carrier Services. You can route calls to PSTN numbers or SIP destinations based on rationing, schedules, priorities or overflow.
6. Set smaller objectives for agents
While you may have a large objective, such as reaching monthly sales targets or driving a better customer satisfaction for your business. It is important to break it down into more manageable sub-objectives. The importance of completing those massive tasks typically isn’t realized until the last minute.
However, progress toward intermediate targets is more easily sustained. For example, your goal might be to have renewed contract per day, once it’s done, you might go for 2 per day and so on.
The key point here is when you achieve one of these milestones, you pave the way for new opportunities. With consistent effort, you may overcome call avoidance while simultaneously making progress toward your long-term objectives.
7. Use other communication channels
According to a study by customersfirstacademy, 62% of clients prefer to have several digital channels to choose from when interacting with their favorite brand.
Webchat, Messenger, and SMS are all great communication channel alternatives that help in solving queries and reduce the need for phone calls.
As the textual equivalent of Call Center IVR, webchat can direct users through frequently asked questions (FAQs) or forward their inquiries to real agents.
For Example, If a customer is still having trouble after reviewing the information provided by the chatbot, the agent will provide a link to a live chat and the live interaction will begin.
How to Implement a Call Avoidance Strategy
By asking the right questions, you can get a handle on whether you have a call avoidance strategy at all, and whether you’re using it effectively.
To determine whether you have a call avoidance strategy, it’s vital to ask yourself these five questions:
- Does your call avoidance strategy effectively mitigate calls?
- Can you filter or block unwanted calls?
- Are you able to prioritise your calls based on their urgency?
- Can you identify factors that make a call or contact undesirable, such as a bad connection or too much noise?
- Do you delegate calls that people really need to you?
- Do you use tools to make sure that incoming calls don’t get you down?
Keep in mind that you should strive to implement a call avoidance strategy, as long as it serves the purposes it was intended to. But if you have a poor one, you need to start over with a new plan. Otherwise, you may end up with frustrated and unhappy customers, and, ultimately, sub-optimal customer service.
How to Prevent Call Centre Avoidance within your Call Center Agents
Give agents clear guidance on how to avoid call avoidance. This may involve including information about the consequences of their actions, along with a reprimand if necessary.
For instance, you may want to include statements such as “you should never have to repeat yourself”, “your words have meaning”, and “you should never be put in an awkward position”.
Beneath the guidelines, keep in mind that your agents’ call avoidance strategies and attitudes may be subjective. You may want to keep in mind that some agents may be more aware of what to do, while others are not.
Remember that your employees must be ‘passive’ or ‘passive-aggressive’ in their behaviour in order to be effective. When this happens, there is little you can do. As a result, consider integrating behaviour detection, filtering and blocking tools.
In all cases, it is important that the advice you give about your call avoidance strategy is objective, simple, clear and thorough. You don’t want to have to re-engineer your call avoidance strategy every time a new rule or policy is introduced.
How To Establish Call Avoidance Protocols Within Your Team
If you don’t already have a call avoidance policy in place, the process of establishing it is relatively simple. In most cases, it involves a simple process of taking the following steps:
- Gathering information about the context and purpose of the call
- How the call came through (whether it was automatic or your agents picked it up)
- The needs of the customer
- What the agent should have done in response to the situation
This information will help you determine the types of activities you can (and should) expect from your team. It will also help you establish what you should be doing, in particular, when you receive calls.
Call Agents would often purposefully ignore calls in an effort to avoid having to take them. However, call avoidance is used by certain companies as a customer service approach to get consumers to fix their own problems with the use of self-service resources.
As we mentioned, agents can dodge calls in a variety of ways. However, you want to ensure that your customers are satisfied while also providing your employees with a healthy and productive work atmosphere, so you need to the tactics above, as a stepping stone to craft a well-thought-out call avoidance strategy.