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switching volume from one channel to another in call centers

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Operations Call Centers switching volume from one channel to another in call centers

  • This topic has 10 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 8 years ago by Sheldon.
Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #53770

    d
    Participant

    Hi All,

    I am wondering if we want to move volume from one channel (chat) to another (phone) in a call center and we are comparing metrics in both channels to make a decision and saying that we are moving volume because phone metrics are better than chat, should we consider volume? phone metrics are better but the volume is 100k compared to chat where metrics are almost the same but volume is 500k. Is this comparison logical considering the fact that the volumes are so different? Is it a fair comparison?

    Thanks,
    Pam

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    #191387

    Nick
    Participant

    Pam,
    Can you clarify what you mean by moving? Are you talking about starting on chat and converting to phone call or simply having someone call instead of chat?

    I’m not sure if the volume difference is the big factor in determining if the comparison is logical. Using the appropriate statistical test should account for the differing sample size. I would be more concerned with the stability of the volumes in recent history (i.e.has one or both been increasing/decreasing recently). If both populations were stable and met the other assumptions of the statistical test then I would think you could test volume before vs. after for a statistically significant difference which would indicate the effectiveness of your solution.

    I’m have no experience with call centers so I hope that the more experienced people out there will keep me honest and let me know if I am steering you wrong. On a side note, I am curious why you would want to shift volume from chat to phone call as it seems live chat might be a more efficient, though sometimes more impersonal, way to handle support requests.

    Nick

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    #191388

    d
    Participant

    Thanks Nick, I meant getting rid of chat completely and having people call instead of chat.

    I did a 2 t-test and it came out insignificant. The volumes have not been stable because slowly we are decreasing chat volume and increasing phone volume on purpose.

    So, I am not sure if its right to compare 20% of phones to 100% of chat and say that 20% phone performs better in terms of metrics, and therefore we should move all 100% of chat to phones.

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    #191393

    Nick
    Participant

    I see. I think it might be difficult, but not impossible, to compare the metrics one for one between the two. You would have to take a careful look at each metric before making the statement that one performs better than the other. If you are comparing a metric such as the number of issues resolved then you must normalize according to volume so it is a fair comparison due to the drastically different volumes.

    There may be other reasons other than volume why a direct apple to apple comparison doesn’t work. For example, it might take two minutes to resolve a certain type of issue on the phone but to resolve that same thing via chat it might take four minutes. No difference in the level of service (or satisifaction) but it just takes longer to type instructions than it does to speak them…

    Another thing to consider might be the cost per incident.

    I would also take a hard look at the metrics and make sure that they are customer focused. I am making no judgements about the relevancy of the metrics you are using but many times organizations get caught up in meeting/exceeding metrics that mean very little to their customers.

    Good luck!

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    #191394

    d
    Participant

    Thanks! This helps a lot.

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    #191397

    Andrew Banks
    Participant

    Pam:

    I’m a tad confused. You declare that you are making the switch based on “better phone metrics”, but then say that statistical tests on the metrics considered relevant are inconclusive. What then does “better” mean? What evidence is there and how is it evaluated?

    I do believe it is valuable to consider volume (amongst satisfaction, TAT, accuracy, close rate, and any other relevant variables). It is hard to say without data how valuable it is in making this decision, but I fear ignoring it would be an error.

    You state that there exists a vast discrepancy between the chat volume and phone volume, but have you investigated WHY the phone volume is 100k and the chat volume is 500k? For example, does the discrepancy exist because chat is actually preferred by those using it (good) or because you were unable to handle the call volume and customers received faster service using chat (bad)?

    Are there other metrics that, upon analysis, indicate that moving all volume to voice lines is a “good decision”?

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    #191398

    d
    Participant

    Thanks. There is discrepancy between chat and phone volumes because its intentional. Chat had a higher handle time. So, cost was 1 factor. There are other customer metrics that we looked at and thought that it was a good decision since the customer metrics were a little higher. But I don’t think that we have looked at anything else other than cost and customer metrics.

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    #191399

    Jeff Marth
    Participant

    BBinNC raises a valid point. You may want to dig deeper into the “why” to determine the root cause for the numbers between call and chat.

    Our company has several call centers, all handling calls from the same 800 number. We added a chat feature on our website, but found that customers prefer the call option as the subject matter requires an extensive dialog that can take longer through chat. We now know that in order to decrease calls (costly) and increase chat (cheaper) we need to adjust our business model of how we deliver information to the customer in order to make it possible for chat to be simple.

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    #191400

    MBBinWI
    Participant

    Pam: You also need to take into account the prefered communication method for different people is going to be different. Thus, you may be eliminating a prefered method, and thus eliminating a customer, by removing a channel. I think you would be better off looking at how to make all methods more effective and lower cost. Just my humble opinion.

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    #191403

    d
    Participant

    Thanks for your input.

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    #195859

    Sheldon
    Guest

    You may want to look deeper into the metrics that drive each channel. Typically in a chat environment you can handle concurrent chats, meaning one chat agent can handle two or more chats at one time. Depending on how much higher your chat AHT (Average Handle Time)is over the phone AHT, you should gain efficiencies using the chat channel.

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