Can good customer service reduce operating expenses?

Posted on: October 15th, 2015 by Art Barger

Every call center manager appreciates efficiency. After all, less time on the phone means lower operating costs. It’s a simple equation, right? Maybe not.

With that said, there’s a common misconception that call center efficiency and cost-savings come at a price to your level of customer service. But a recent Gallup study found that good customers service doesn’t necessarily drive up costs.

In the article, “Banking Analysis: Better Service Doesn’t Increase Costs,” the global performance-management group spent two years working with a major bank in Mexico. What it found is it’s possible to improve customer service without driving up operating costs. The workgroups with the highest customer service scores had a lower average call handle time and higher first-call resolution rate than other groups.

Additionally, within the top performing groups, the length of the average call dropped 6.1 percent and first-call resolution rates increased by nearly 13 percent compared to other lower performing workgroups.

From an operational standpoint, focusing on bottom line results may suggest contact center managers have their telephone agents focus exclusively on lowering call handling times at whatever costs. This study suggests that you don’t have to sacrifice good customer service to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

“Asking call center employees to focus on increasing customer satisfaction may not only encourage them to provide exceptional customer service but also motivate them to solve customers’ problems during the first call, thus reducing the overall number of calls.”

A quality call center experience consists of various components, of which — time — is a prime factor. While shorter calls save on labor costs, taking more time with callers to ensure first-call resolutions can reduce the number of calls to your contact center, again, saving on overall operating costs.

In the end, it’s all about keeping your customers happy. Having your contact center agents focus on anything else to shave short-term costs may actually cost you in the long run. While implementing technologies to help with things like caller authentication can also improve the security of your telephone channel and save time on each inbound call, it’s important to remember that customer service is all about customer relations. And when your customers call in to resolve problems, you need to be there to help and support them.

So, why not focus on the one thing that matters most — providing excellent customer service? As studies like these show, not only will you be improving customer satisfaction, but you could save long-term significant costs in other ways, too.