CallTalk Caramels: Understanding E-mail Best Practices

February 13, 2014 – 2:16pm

CallTalk is a monthly internet radio program featuring innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore.  “Caramels” distills “Aha!” moments from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.

In e-mail centers, where voice communications take a back seat to written communications, the soft-skills requirements to “smile as you dial” or “keep a smile in your voice” have little importance. However, in those centers where asynchronous communications such as e-mail are the dominant methods of communication with customers, good writing skills, accompanied by above average keyboarding skills, are a must, and thus extra training and monitoring are important. Also, response time metrics vary widely among industry sectors. Here are some interesting Best Practice discoveries:

  1. Companies that maintain an average response time of under 4 hours achieve an average Top Box customer satisfaction rating of greater than 75%.
  2. Those centers that achieved First Contact Resolution of 80% or greater, received Top Box satisfaction ratings of up to 90%.
  3. The average cost per e-mail is $2.62 per transaction, compared with an average live agent phone call cost of $4.59. Thus, e-mail communications are cost-efficient.
  4. With an ability to deliver First Contact Resolution rates of 80% and higher, high satisfaction ratings, an average agent occupancy of 82%, and lower operating costs than voice, the e-mail channel can be an important part of a multi-channel operation.

Recruit properly, train well and have technologies (e.g. templates and auto-suggest) that allow agents to quickly key in responses or response components as appropriate. Fully automated canned response systems (with no human intervention) have resulted in dissatisfaction, and should be avoided or used cautiously at this point in time.

Keep a balanced scorecard of quality metrics and cost-related metrics – right down to the agent level. This can be used to incentivize agents to be more productive while maintaining quality.

Tip of the Week: Our studies showed that in lodging a complaint, people are three times more apt to call a center than try to communicate displeasure by email.

CallTalk™ Caramels: Sweet Snippets from BenchmarkPortal’s Best CallTalk Episodes
This CallTalk Caramel was compiled and edited by Bruce Belfiore and Kamál Webb.  It was drawn from a CallTalk episode with John Chatterley, entitled “Unlocking The Mysteries of E-mail Metrics: What Are Best Practices Standards? To listen to the archived episode, click play below:

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