How AI can drive call center cost reduction

Carl Schultze

August 22, 2023

Every call center leader knows the particular metrics that translate into higher costs. The more calls you receive, the more agents you need. The longer those conversations typically last, the more it affects your bottom line.

Those basic two metrics–call volumes and average handle time–have been the core metrics contact centers have focused on for decades. When organizations want to reduce call center costs, they look there first.

But we know call center cost reduction can be a little more complicated than that. 

Those basic metrics only consider the labor costs of having people to address customer calls. They don’t reveal the hidden costs that can sometimes be difficult to measure in a contact center. You need to measure the root cause for long calls or high volumes in order to reduce them without worsening the customer experience. 

Focusing on just those two areas can cause you to neglect to monitor the other things can drive costs as well: Compliance problems, fraud, unnecessary business expenses or credits authorized, and inefficient agents who don’t solve problems and result in repeated contacts.

At Tethr, we’re introducing a more intuitive way to identify opportunities for call center cost reduction using the newest developments in artificial intelligence. Our conversation intelligence platform analyzes all of your customer conversations and uncovers factors that are driving up call length, reasons for repeat calls, compliance and fraud issues, and more. And now, we’re making it easier than ever to find and act on cost-saving insights with our set of CostRx dashboards. 

CostRx offers pre-built reports to help you uncover call center cost-reduction opportunities right away, and you can customize the dashboards with additional reports specific to your industry, business model, and needs.

We want our customers to clearly see and capture potential savings. So we’re putting everything related to reducing contact center costs in one set of dashboards, which include specific, detailed analytics. 

Below, we’ll look at five ways CostRx can help you reduce operational costs without compromising the quality of service.

5 ways the new Tethr CostRx dashboards help you reduce costs 

Improve average handle time and first-call resolution

When Tethr analyzes your calls and chats, you’ll see more than just your basic average handling time and first-call resolution rate. We automatically examine your contact center analytics for real cost drivers that you can easily take action to prevent. This shows you the root cause of long calls or repeated contacts, so you know the source of your problems. 

A screenshot of the Tethr platform's new cost dashboard, which shows users the number of unnecessary calls and the cost of unnecessary calls.

When you look on your dashboard, you’ll be able to instantly answer: 

  • What issues drive customers to have to contact us repeatedly? 
  • What reasons do my agents give when they ask customers to call back? 
  • Are there any preventable, negative behaviors that extend my call times?
  • What specific topics are extending call length, and are there things we can do to address these topics more efficiently?

Reduce unnecessary calls

With the average contact center call costing between $2.70 and $5.60, the price of unnecessary calls can quickly add up. Tethr’s CostRx dashboard lets you see the top drivers of unnecessary calls, including misdirected calls and channel switching, so you can uncover process improvements or agent coaching opportunities to reduce your overall call volume.

CostRx lets you answer questions such as: 

  • In what areas do my self-service channels fail?
  • Which agents and issues spur the most transfers and misdirected calls? 
  • Is my automated attendant training/IVR working to prevent misdirected calls?
  • Which causes of unnecessary calls can I prevent through agent education, process improvement, or better expectation setting with the customer?

Automate QA to optimize your labor 

Companies spend millions trying to ensure contact center agents meet QA standards and compliance requirements. But there’s an easier, less expensive way. Our new CostRx dashboard puts that into focus. 

When you use a conversation intelligence platform to monitor your conversations, you can conduct call monitoring for QA automatically, at scale, while increasing your sample size to 100%. This allows you to reduce manual labor time spent auditing calls, giving your QA managers the ability to focus on more valuable analysis. 

This dashboard shows you how you can optimize call center performance by automating QA scores

Proactively address fraud and compliance issues

Compliance issues and fraud are two areas that can drive up contact center costs if not addressed promptly. Compliance issues, such as failing to verify a caller’s identity, can lead to fines and legal action, and fraudulent charges can cost businesses far more than the dollar amount of the charge (approximately $4 per $1 of fraud).

CostRx allows your business to track compliance issues and reports of fraud as they occur. You can also set up automated notifications in Tethr or over email so that the appropriate teams are informed when they need to take action on a fraud report or compliance issue. This can help your business resolve potential issues before they damage your brand reputation or become a legal liability. And by automatically reviewing all customer conversations for fraud reports, you may be able to identify trends that help you prevent bad actors from committing fraud in the future.

Reduce business costs

How often do your contact center agents' behaviors and actions have cost implications? Many times adding a procedural step can improve your financial health.

We can work with your team to teach Tethr to measure some common cost drivers specific to your business. This helps detect what happens in conversations and ensure you’re maximizing business outcomes.

Here are some examples of the questions we help answer, so our customers can drive down costs: 

  • Are agents offering paperless billing as an option? Are some agents doing this more than others?
  • Are agents troubleshooting before they send out a technician? 
  • Are agents giving discounts or account credits? Are some teams or agents doing this more than others? What situations happened that prompted them to make the offer? 

Interested in seeing the new CostRx dashboards? Schedule a call with our team of experts.

This blog post was originally published in March 2023 under the title “How to measure potential cost savings in your contact center using AI.” It was expanded and updated in August 2023.

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