When a customer contacts your call center, they are typically upset and looking for a solution to their problem. They want you to immediately fix whatever issue they’re facing, and they DO NOT want to have to call you back again…and again.
One of the worst results of a customer interaction is a repeat call. Unfortunately, about 15–35% of calls to your contact center are repeats, which is why First Call Resolution is one of the most important metrics in the call center. It tells you how effective your call center agents are at fixing problems the first time around.
The better your agents are at fixing problems immediately, the fewer unhappy repeat callers you have. And this translates not only into increased customer satisfaction and better customer experiences, but thousands in potential savings. After all, happy customers are more likely to be loyal customers who are willing to spend more on your products and services.
And that’s where repeat call analysis and root cause analysis come into play. These analyses help you figure out how many repeat calls your call center receives, and what went wrong each time—helping you identify trends and make improvements.
Let’s delve into what this looks like.
What is Repeat Call Analysis?
Repeat call analysis in the call center means focusing on where you’re going wrong when it comes to customer satisfaction. It’s about figuring out why your customers are calling again and again.
- Is it because they have multiple issues that need to be resolved?
- Is it because they are checking in on the status of a problem/order over and over again?
- Is it because their problem required more than just one call to be resolved?
- Is it because whatever was fixed broke again?
- Is it because something (their bill, software, service, etc.) is too hard to understand?
Answering why someone is a repeat caller is when repeat call analysis transforms into root cause analysis. Most negative behaviors have deeper issues at their core—whether they’re human, organizational, or physical—and that’s what root cause analysis is about. You look beyond the superficial to identify the problem’s core.
And since customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal of every call center, it’s critical to understand root problems so they can be positively altered through appropriate agent training.
How to Do Repeat Call Analysis?
Completing repeat call analysis can be relatively easy to do. Customer satisfaction surveys are a simple and yet effective way to figure out if a customer was satisfied with their agent interaction and if their problem was solved the first time around.
However, while surveys can be very helpful, they can lack the detail needed for effective root cause analysis. You need insight into what happened on the calls that resulted in repeats in order to identify and change behavior.
For this level of call analysis, you need to gather and analyze structured and unstructured data. This high-quality data must comprehensively cover a range of metrics and key performance indicators, including:
- Average Time in Queue
- Average Abandonment Rate
- Average Handle Time
- First Contact Resolution
- Contact Quality Management Score
A good way to capture this relevant call center data is through call center agent scorecards. These self-evaluations outline the importance of agent behavior when it comes to repeat call analysis, and can point to specific agent performance metrics that track to the root cause for an unhappy customer. We’ll talk about this more at the end of the article.
For now, let’s dig down deeper into how to identify repeat callers, how to do repeat call analysis, how to find the deeper issue, and how to solve the problem of first call resolution.
Tips for Identifying and Solving for Repeat Callers
Many times, the symptoms of a problem are identified, but the root cause remains. This leads to repeat problematic behavior. There are, however, some steps to take to facilitate root cause analysis so that gaps can be bridged and agents can successfully work within quality assurance parameters to achieve first call resolution.
To accomplish repeat call analysis and uncover root causes, there are a few things you should do.
1. Identify Repeat Callers
First and foremost, you need to identify those callers who call again and again. Oftentimes, call center software can be used to automatically identify the top five to ten percent of your company’s callers. These are your most prolific callers and thus the ones who cost your call center the most time and energy.
Once you identify these callers, you’ll know which calls to use to conduct a repeat call analysis and see what’s causing the problem. Take the time to listen to every call from these callers to:
- see what their concerns are;
- determine if they are legitimate;
- see how they are addressed;
- and identify underlying issues that lead to a repeat call.
It’s also essential to identify any trends between these repeat callers. Typically, there are overarching issues that result in a repeat call—lack of information, broken processes, technology difficulties, etc. If you can spot a trend, you can better prioritize the training or technology needed to fix it.
2. Identify Conversations that Seem Abnormally Long
Abnormally long calls can indicate a big problem. If a customer’s concern or complaint cannot be fixed in a short amount of time, it either indicates a larger issue at play within your products/services or poorly trained agents. Thus, long calls should be checked into and taken care of immediately in order to give your customers the kind of service they want and deserve.
The good news is that your call center can use speech or text analytics software to identify parameters such as call duration or to identify specific keywords used during the conversation that indicate problems or customer dissatisfaction. This can then alert your team to important issues and training needs.
3. Conduct Real-Time Monitoring
Repeat calls will not only occur in the most obvious situations. In fact, many repeat calls might have seemingly no reason without deeper analysis. That’s why it’s essential to regularly conduct real-time call monitoring and listen to live calls.
By listening to live calls, you’ll be able to pinpoint problem areas quickly. This works for both agent behavior as well as outside elements such as new marketing campaigns and sales activity. Calls coming in from customers who are confused about the details indicate the need for some course correction and agent updating.
In any case, real-time monitoring lets you stop problems before they become rooted into your call center and have to be dug out.
4. Review KPIs Critical to First Call Resolution
There are many different scenarios that can cause repeat callers. The good news is that your KPIs can help you identify situations that are likely to cause a customer to call you a second and third time. If you pay attention to these KPIs, you can quickly identify areas for improvement and implement solutions.
For example, hold times can have a significant impact on repeat calls. If a customer feels frustrated because they had to wait for a long time, it might cause them to drop off the call before ever reaching your agent or before their solution is achieved. After all, if the customer is already in a bad mood, they are less likely to take the time and energy to solve their problem the first time around.
Call transfers is another KPI that can affect repeat calls. A customer that is continually routed and rerouted to a new agent to get their complaint or concern addressed is likely to hang up out of frustration and call back another time or give up before their solution is reached.
5. Consider Physical Elements
As mentioned earlier, root causes can be based upon ergonomics with equipment or physical surroundings.. Technology can be your call center’s greatest friend but it depends on how it’s used and how effective it is at doing the job that it is intended to do.
Acoustics and equipment problems can quickly deflate a call with a customer, leading to dissatisfaction. Agents need to be trained to understand that reporting any difficulties with their surroundings or equipment should be done as soon as they’re noticed.
6. Understand Situation Context
Hard data is absolutely critical in gap analysis and in determining further training initiatives. However, data must be considered in the context of calls with customers. Phrases and terms may sometimes be considered appropriate when they’re not at other times. Timing is everything. And understanding context will help drive training.
Situational context is also important when it comes to understanding what the customer needs. Agents should have access to a CRM platform with all pertinent customer information. In this way they can see if and when the customer last called, the product or service they have, lingering issues, and all customer notes. The greater context your agents have, the more they can be proactive about identifying the caller’s needs before diving in.
7. Review Customer Routing
Appropriate call routing is critical to customer satisfaction. From the moment someone calls and explains their problem, they should be immediately routed to the right agents with the skills needed to solve their problem. This is essential for reducing repeat calls. After all, if the agent can’t address a customer’s concerns, they’ll likely become frustrated and try calling back again to get a better agent for their issue.
It’s extremely important that you review how you route customers to the right agents and ensure that it is skills-based. If customers are automatically given to the next available agent, you risk situations where customers will call back because they don’t get the answer they want or need. Set up a system where customers are transferred to agents based on their knowledge and skills.
8. Categorize Customer Problems
As we’ve explained above, there can be many reasons for a repeat call. Lumping all those reasons into a single basket means that you’ll never be able to dig down into the root cause and fix it. Instead, you should identify problems that customers have due to agent interactions as opposed to those that stem from marketing, product, or other issues.
By categorizing your customer problems into groups, you can figure out what type of changes are needed throughout your organization. For example, regular repeat calls about billing don’t require better agent training, but instead an update to the online portal where billing can be viewed. And repeat calls about the software breaking should be routed to the IT department.
On the other hand, a customer calling twice because an agent didn’t answer all questions or meet all concerns is a training issue. It’s also a training issue for call center agents if the caller calls again because they gave up during the first call due to long hold times or excessive transferring.
Managing a First Call Resolution and Gap Analysis in the Call Center
So, once you’ve completed your repeat call analysis and identified the reasons behind your poor First Call Resolution, how do you fix it? Root cause analysis and resulting training should be viewed from a strategic vantage point with certain guidelines to direct the process.
1. Create an Online Knowledge Database for Customers
The first step to reducing repeat calls is to remove the need for customers to call you at all. That’s where an online knowledge database is key. It should be set up to answer your most frequently asked questions (FAQs) and provide basic information that could benefit every customer. This knowledge database can empower your customers to take charge of their own problems.
Best yet, this knowledge database can also be invaluable for your agents. They can use it as a resource during calls, directing customers where to go for a step-by-step guide to solving their problem and finding further information.
2. Carefully Assess Agents to Identify Skill Gaps
Unfortunately, a knowledge database won’t solve all of your problems. 70 percent of employees report that they don’t have mastery of the skills they need to do their jobs. Digging to get to the heart of a skill gap can take time, so be prepared to devote attention to creating a call center training program that actually fits your agents’ needs.
Using quality monitoring tools and performance reviewing, you should be able to identify knowledge gaps for more tailor-made training. The key is to not make assumptions about what you need. Instead, find the root cause of each problem using call center data and analytics.
It may take a little time, but the lift in customer satisfaction will be worth any time dedicated to it.
3. Create a Gap Training Plan
Once skill gaps have been identified using scorecard data analysis, a comprehensive training plan should be developed. The plan should include both group and individual agent training plans based on the relevant assessments.
An LMS can help you deliver targeted call center training that is directly related to your organization’s goals, resources, and the individual’s needs. It’s an ever-evolving process that requires routine performance reviews of product and service knowledge, communication training, soft skills training, etc. From there, you can continually develop fresh material for a well-rounded training program.
4. Establish Necessary Agent Skills
Hard and soft skills are essential to your agents’ success and quality customer experience. Training will improve skill levels and proficiency. The key is to train your agents in necessary skills, which unfortunately only 38% of managers believe is done well.
First, identify the customer service soft skills (communication, adaptability, initiative, teamwork, emotional intelligence, integrity, problem-solving, etc.) that are most critical to success. Then, develop a soft skills training program that gives your agents regular opportunities to practice their skills and improve.
Through relevant, ongoing training, your agents should have no trouble advancing to more proficient skill levels. Random testing and call monitoring will give you an idea of how comfortable agents are in their roles.
5. Reassure Agents About Training
Agents shouldn’t be made to feel that they’re being tested or further trained because they are inadequate. Let them know that everyone needs training to advance their performance and for the benefit of the business. You can do this through positive reinforcement.
Comment on, congratulate, and recognize agents when they perform well, and encourage them even when they struggle. The key is to provide balanced feedback that’s specific, prompt, and authentic. In this way, your agents feel incentivized to improve when training opportunities are presented.
6. Promote the Benefits of Ongoing Training
Because the call center is a pivotal point of contact for customers, it will always have a high priority in a business. Agents should be proud of their frontline interactions with customers and the trust that the brand places in them. Further training should support this and engender confidence in agents at every step of their progress.
Just make sure that you set aside time for your agents to train regularly. According to a 2020 LinkedIn report, 49% of learners feel that they don’t have enough time to learn at work. Identify time that can be devoted to training, coaching, and mentorship opportunities and then prioritize it for your agents.
Your agents want to train and improve; they just need the time to do so. Link training and performance metrics to promotions, increased salary, and work opportunities for even greater incentive.
7. Communicate the Necessity of Training
While agents should feel good about ongoing training, they should also realize that it’s not optional. If training is recommended for individual agents or the entire team, it needs to be presented as mandatory on the path to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.
If you need help making training engaging, add gamification. While games might seem trivial, they are a great way to increase engagement and encourage agents to reach certain levels of success through training badges, points, performance bonuses, and other benefits. The more you can inspire your call center agents to train, the better.
8. Empower Your Agents to Take Charge of Their Own Training
Your call center agents are smart. They know what they need to succeed. If you give them control of their own training, their performance will improve drastically. This means empowering your agents to take charge of their training through performance reviews, agenda setting, goal setting, and a learning management system.
You can also empower your agents with Scorebuddy self-scorecards. Your agents can use these cards to give themselves precise feedback on their customer interactions. They can identify their own strengths and weaknesses and then go into your LMS to find the correct courses and training plans to fill in the gaps they recognize in themselves.
Then, from there, your management team can work alongside your call center agents to reward them as they reach milestones. It’s a win-win for everyone.
9. Use a Learning Management System (LMS) to Improve Call Center Training
A learning management system (LMS) is an all-in-one training solution that makes it easier for your call center to manage, track, and achieve your learning goals. It offers training anywhere and at any time through course management, user management, and a blended learning experience.
And when it comes to repeat call analysis and root cause analysis, an LMS is the perfect way to provide dynamic and on-demand education that fills in those gaps. You can create training programs specifically devoted to the root causes you identify and then deliver courses that walk your agents through overcoming the problem.
Best yet, an LMS helps you facilitate multiple training sessions at once across a wide range of uses. This way, your agents can take the courses and choose the course types and styles best suited to them (document, presentation, video, audio, webinar, live training, etc.). It’s a single platform designed to educate and certify your call center teams—even if they are remote.
How to Use Scorecards for Repeat Call Analysis
Scorebuddy’s self-scorecards are an effective way to review every call center interaction. They help you provide immediate feedback on agent performance to identify problems, monitor call quality, and to provide regular coaching. The key is to build actionable scorecards that are objective, relevant, and fact-focused.
To create scorecards for repeat call analysis, there are a few things you need to do.
- Decide what your scorecard will measure from the very beginning. What are the behaviors of a successful interaction? Are there specific weaknesses to highlight? What gaps in agent performance are already an issue?
- Ask for agent input when setting scorecard criteria. Give your call center agents an opportunity to provide their input about what questions should be included on your scorecard.
- Monitor and adjust scorecard parameters as needed. The call center is dynamic, and repeat call analysis is always changing. Look for agent behavior modifications from training and then implement updates to your scorecards to reflect the new root causes.
- Collect scorecard data for analysis. Your scorecards should provide actionable data to help you identify agent strengths and weaknesses, call center trends, and customer satisfaction. Use this information to facilitate training and improvements.
Repeat call analysis and root cause analysis are proactive initiatives designed to improve agent performance and call center effectiveness. But, further, they will dramatically improve customer satisfaction and should be on the dashboard of any call center manager interested in the ultimate quality assurance initiatives.