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improving answer rate without increasing FTE

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General improving answer rate without increasing FTE

This topic contains 15 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Adam L Bowden 10 years, 8 months ago.

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)
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  • #47481

    Rolando
    Member

    How do we improve answer call rate without increasing FTE?

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    #158302

    Answer rate
    Participant

    Are you referring to abandon rate? If so, what is your current abandon rate and what industry are you in?

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    #158303

    Rolando
    Member

    Call Center Industry
    Current FTE’s are answering 150 calls per day but volume is so large that CSRs are doing OTs.  Abandoned close to 50%.
     

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    #158304

    qualitycolorado
    Participant

    Rolando, Good evening!As you may have already surmised, there is no simple answer and no quick, easy solutions to your situation. It probably took your Call Center a while to get into a situation as bad as this, and it is going to take quite a bit of concentrated, intelligent effort over a period of time to get it out of this situation. It sounds like your effort to increase the answer rate (decrease the abandon rate) without increasing FTE will require a classic, full-blown improvement project, including a Project Team, good data collection, thorough root cause analysis, creativity to develop innovative solutions, and implementation of these solutions to those root causes.Do you have the backing of a Project Sponsor / Champion who is willing to initiate and fully support a classic, full-blown improvement project?And, do you have a Black Belt (yourself, perhaps?) to lead an effort like this?Best regards,
    QualityColorado

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    #158305

    Rolando
    Member

    Thanks Quality Colorado
    I’d be the champion and I’m glad I’m on the same page as you.  If you have one day (24 hours) to change things abruptly, what would you do?
     

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    #158306

    qualitycolorado
    Participant

    Rolando, Hello, again!My original reply to your requests seems to have disappeared from the Discussion Board.No matter (except that I need to get the Board Moderator to track down root cause on this!!).If you have just 24 hours, then it limits your options quite bit regarding your approach to the Improvement Project. The only thing that I have seen work this quickly is a full-out Kaizen event (also called “Workout” in some quartes). Typically, a Kaizen event takes place over the course of a few days or as much as a week — however, it could take place this quickly, with some VERY good pre-event preparation and some VERY good facilitation. Do you have a Black Belt (Project Manager) who has experience with facilitating Kaizen events? If not, do you have budget to procure a good, experienced one?In addition to an experienced Kaizen event facilitator, this would require quite a bit of your time (the facilitator will insist on this) and the time of other key Managers in your Call Center. Also, these events typically take some prep work (especially for gathering needed data)…. your thoughts ???Best regards,
    QualityColorado

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    #158307

    Answer rate
    Participant

    Assuming 150 calls per FTE and 7.5 working hours, the average handle time should be close to 3 minutes if the FTE does nothing but answer the phone. Here are some reality checks: What is their idle time as a percentage of total hours worked? What is their aux time (other than breaks)? What is their after call work? If idle time, aux time and or after call times are low, you know they’re in full production mode. If idle time is high, then you should be looking at your staffing model because it doesn’t predict incoming call volume very well (what are you staffing towards: ASA?). If aux time is high, then you have to look at other work that they perform? Why and what? If after call work is high, you’ll need to take a look at what they are documenting and why they spend much time there. The kaizen is definitely a good idea, but the diagnostics could give an immediate diagnostics of the situation.

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    #158308

    Rolando
    Member

    Could you give me a five step (or whatever) things to do immediately at my end?

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    #158309

    Answer rate
    Participant

    Step 1: Create histograms of time to call abandons vs. pick up of call to see if there is a threhold at which clients start to hang up.
    Step 2: Compare total time availalbe (for FTEs) and break it out into “on call time” (i.e. handle time), “aux time’, “idle time”, “after call work” and create percentage of each of the times relative to “time available to make call”, or “handle time”
    Step 3: Review pattern of incoming call volume and compare with # of FTEs available: Example 8 – 9 AM 400 calls recied 30 calls abandoned 150 FTES. Do this for a 24 hour time period and five days and create a p-chart 30/400 = 0.075 abandonded (This can be done in a simple excel spreadsheet or using Minitab.
    Other questions to ask: What is your attrition rate of employees? How many systems do they need to toggle to help the customers? Are there scripts or is there a call process flow that the reps can follow? Do you have excessive downtimes? How long does it take your reps to bring up a field? What is the complexitiy of the questions? Do they make both outbound and inbound calls? Do you have an opportunity to create a two-layered experience system with one internal transfer and reorganization of inbound verus outbound calls … I don’t know your call center. But in the past this type of analyis yielded quite some interesting results. Also, sit with a few reps and double-jack to see for yourself, what they are dealing with. This in itself can be an eyeopening exercise. Overall, this needs to result in a project. But I doubt that you have identified the problem and are rather scratching the surface of the sysmptons. It would be good to do this high level analysis to guide in a problem direction. Others will say go to the shop floor and look for yourself, that’s an alternative too. Good luck!

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    #158310

    Rolando
    Member

    Thanks to all who replied

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    #158311

    indresh
    Participant

    Great detailing from Answer rate
    Parallely figure out these quick ones
    – most of the calls belong to which category – query, complaint or requests – this shall be industry specific, am sure such categorization is available for your industry as well. Can few of them be routed to self care options, which can be IVR, SMS based, Web Based solutions to cut down the calls. At the end of it pareto principle holds valid, pick the top ones and see any one can be routed giving ease, faster resolution to customer
    – convergence as highighted by answer rate is critical to look into. How many screens an agent refers too, which one most often, in case multiple can we converge them into one.
    – drilled down agent analysis as well comes handy. Higher tenure agents take less time to resolve (hypothesis), rostering plans etc can accordingly be changed for high volume hours.
    – BASIC data should be right, the volume that you are currently seeing , is it actual, or it includes repeat attempts by customer as well. MSA is very critical, if possible get data of calls at each point before it reached the agent. Answer rate very rightly pointed to systems, hardware, software, medium, etc which effects call transfer etc.
    Hope this helps!
     

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    #158314

    Answer rate
    Participant

    Ingresh’ response brought up one more thought: What percent of the time do your agents deal with clients directly, and how much of their time is spent on establishing third party connections. I have seen very long handle times in situations where the agent is a sort of facilitator between the client and another agent (bank referrals calls, government agencies etc.). You may want to look at the type of call, and what calls require time spent with third parties that are outside of the control of your agents. If this is the case, you could break out this type of call and route it to specialized agents, i.e. identify the types of calls, their complexity and average length and develop a multi-tiered answering system. Good luck!

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    #158334

    MM
    Participant

    Well all the things have been answered by ppl more experience than me. But O), here is my two bit from my recent experience at my new job at a call center:
    1. Agents have to discuss about a policy with customers in their overall call if the customer is out of warranty period: each of them is doing this in his/her own manner – leading to inconsistency in delivery, all information not provided correctly etc…you can guess the rest.
    2. If the customer is out of warranty and accepts the charge for the out of warranty service then he/she has to provide debit/credit call details before we can proceed.
    Solution that I have:
    1. Automate the script for the out of warranty policy and let customer know that he/she is going auto for 2 mins
    2. Automate the acceptance of debit/credit call details in IVR if the cust. accepts the pt 1.
    Gain: Standard script, defined time, debit/credit card details security
    Suggestion for you: Listen to the calls, identify what you can automate – implement ASAP

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    #173698

    Sunitha Chetty
    Member

    Hi
    Please send me the formular or Calculation for answer rate.

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    #180917

    Ross T
    Member

    Hi all,
    I would also suggest you review the pooling theory. The more agents are in a pool to answer a large number of calls the better the answer rate will be. This comes with an assumption that agents are cross-skilled or can be cross-skilled quickly.
    The alternative option is understanding the peak call times and using agents which dont necessarily have the call knowledge to take messages. This means that the client will have their call answered (thus lower abandons) and they can be called back when the peak period is over.
    Regards,
    Ross.

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    #180927

    Adam L Bowden
    Participant

    Identify and cut out all Non Value Added calls.
    Adam

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