5 Steps to Reduce Inbound Call Volume

2 min read
Aug 29, 2023 8:45:00 AM

Inbound calls are an important part of the customer experience (CX) but they are also expensive. Tactics to reduce call volume such as hiding the phone number on the website or applying a one-size-fits-all approach to containment tend to backfire and degrade CX over time.

Is it possible to reduce inbound call volume while also improving CX?

The answer is yes, but only with a thoughtful and strategic approach. At J.D. Power, we’ve developed a 5-step approach to reduce inbound call volume that also results in a better customer experience:

  1. Understand why your customers are calling. The first step is to understand the reasons why your customers are calling. Call reasons can be gathered from a variety of sources, such as customer surveys, analysis of call recordings, and CRM data. Once you understand the reasons for the calls, you can start to address the drivers of call volume.

  2. Reduce or eliminate multiple calls. A common driver of call volume is multiple contacts to get a question answered or problem resolved. To reduce multiple calls, focus on improving first contact resolution (FCR). This means resolving the customer's issue on the first call, without the need for a callback.

  3. Conduct root-cause analysis. Once you have addressed the low-hanging fruit of multiple calls, it's time to understand the drivers of the balance of your call volume. To do this, conduct a root-cause analysis to identify the underlying causes of the calls, such as a policy, process, product issue, or confusing communication. Once you understand the root causes, you can take steps to address them.

  4. Align channels with customer intent. Another common driver of calls is forcing customers to use a channel where they have a low likelihood of success. For example, my bank makes customers visit a website to initiate a wire transfer and then made a policy change to prohibit website-initiated transactions. That is a recipe for customer frustration and a support call.

    To achieve alignment, better understand customer intent and improve channel capabilities to support what customers are trying to accomplish.

  5. Make it easy to call. This may seem counterintuitive, but it's important to make it easy for customers to call if they need to. This doesn't mean making it easy for everyone to call for any reason. It does mean making it easy for the segment of customers who are ultimately going to call anyway.

    Combining customer segmentation along with customer intent and channel capabilities will uncover which customers need the easy to call option.

Taking a thoughtful and strategic approach to understanding and addressing why your customers are contacting you will reveal how to reduce call volume and increase customer satisfaction along the way.

About the Author: Michael Vermillion leads CX improvement consulting for J.D. Power and works with CX-focused organizations to develop, align and execute CX strategy.

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CS IconSome additional tips for reducing inbound call volume:

  • Encourage the adoption of self-service channels. Those can include a knowledge base, FAQs, and/or chatbot.

  • Make it easy for customers to find the information they need. Easy means improving your website navigation or creating clear and concise call scripts.

  • Empower customer service agents to resolve issues quickly and efficiently. Provide agents with the right tools and training to achieve resolution on the first call.

  • Monitor call volume and performance metrics on a regular basis. The metrics will help identify areas for improve and highlight areas of emerging need for attention.

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