Answer that phone and do it quick!
When the success of your business depends on your customer’s experience with your contact center, this should be your number one mantra.
We have all been on the other side of that phone line, waiting for the IVR to stop repeating itself and for a human being to ask, “Hello, how may I help you?” And we know there is nothing more frustrating than waiting endlessly for this to happen.
Little wonder then that the Average Speed of Answer which, simply put, is how soon an agent answers a customer’s call, is probably the most important contact center metric.
What is Average Speed of Answer or ASA?
ASA or Average Speed of Answer is the average time an agent takes to answer an incoming call. How do you calculate it? You divide the total wait time for all calls by the total number of calls in a day.
ASA (in seconds) = Total call wait time for calls answered daily
Total number of calls answered in a day
So if the total time callers have waited for in a day is two hours or 120 minutes or 7,200 seconds, and the total number of calls answered in the day is 200 then the ASA would be:
ASA = 7,200/200 = 36 seconds
Which means each customer calling your contact center has to wait for at least 36 seconds before he or she can speak to a customer service agent. That can be a long time for a customer in a hurry or an irate customer with a complaint.
This means the aim of a contact center should be to keep the ASA to a minimum. The faster your contact agent answers a call from a customer, the better it is for your business in many ways.
How can a low ASA help your business?
Higher customer satisfaction – It gives a customer immense relief to hear a human voice at the other end because they feel they are a step closer to a solution to their problem. And the faster they hear that voice, the better they appreciate your service.
Better agent productivity: If an agent answers a call quickly, the call queue moves that much faster, and agents are able to handle a higher number of calls. Also, the chances of resolving the issues that the customer has called with are better with a low ASA. This improves agent productivity and keeps the contact center’s operating costs low.
Higher customer loyalty: Often, customers hang up because the waiting time is too long. They not only abandon the call but, in the long term, may end up abandoning your product or service. A low ASA is a good way to hold on to customers.
Better brand image: When you answer calls quickly, it shows customers that their time is important to you. This helps build your brand image as a business that puts its customers above all else.
How can you reduce your ASA?
Shorten the queue
Cloud telephony tools can help you prioritize your calls. You can bump calls from VIP customers and aggrieved customers up the call queue so that they do not have to wait. This also frees up space for other calls in line to be answered quickly. Learn how Big Basket, used Dynamic Call Queue Re-Prioritisation and other techniques to consistently ensure that 95 percent of their calls are answered within 10 seconds.
Customize your IVR to be more relevant
A lengthier, complicated IVR means it takes the customer that much longer to reach the right agent. You could shorten your IVR so the call reaches an agent faster. Or make it more responsive so that half the customer’s queries or doubts are answered right there. Ensure your IVR has a cleverly designed menu that is easy for the customer to follow. Our client, Treebo hotels, uses the self-service IVR Ozonetel designed for them. The IVR identifies callers with prior bookings directly to agents. Other callers are directed to a self-service menu that allows them to ask for hotels and locations. The self-service IVR now handles 13-14 percent of the calls. Their agents are free to handle the rest.
To know how Treebo used the service IVR to reduce ASA and improve customer experience, read this case study https://ozonetel.com/casestudies/TreeboHotels.html
To know how to get your IVR to do more for you, click here https://ozonetel.com/ivr.html
Use Skill hunting
Skill hunting involves dividing your workforce into a number of skills or departments. What’s the use of this? You can create a better match between your agents and a caller. For example, if a caller wants to know about a specific product, they can connect to experts on that product. Or the older customer can be connected to the more experienced agents. Better matching of caller needs and agents skills can lead to faster resolutions, clearing up your queues.
Cut the slacking
KOOKOO has agent optimisation tools that can divide call equally and fairly, monitor agents continuously and alert managers when anything goes wrong. For example, it shows which agent has been idle for more than a predefined time, so your floor managers can immediately go and checkout the issue. These self-diagnostic tools have been able to move the needle on agent utilization from 40% to 69-70% for some of our clients.
Cloud telephony has made it much easier for you to improve your ASA and your customer service standards. Make use of it to keep this metric at an optimum and watch your customer ratings shoot.