Call Escalation- Types and Ways to Reduce It
In today’s fast-paced business environment, customer service is essential to any successful enterprise. However, even with the most efficient customer service team in place, there will be times when customers’ queries or complaints can only be resolved after some time. This is where call escalation comes into play. Call escalation is an essential process in customer service used when a customer’s problem is complex or when the initial support agent does not have the necessary skills or authority to resolve the issue.
This blog post will discuss call escalation, its types, and ways to reduce it.
What is “Call Escalation”?
Call escalation refers to transferring a customer’s call to a higher-level agent or supervisor with more expertise or authority to handle the issue. Escalation can happen for several reasons, i.e., when the customer’s problem is too complicated, the agent doesn’t have the authority to make decisions, or the customer’s frustration level is high.
Call escalation aims to ensure that the customer’s issue is resolved promptly. When a customer’s problem is escalated, the escalated support agent may also have access to additional resources or tools that the initial support agent did not have.
Call escalation can also transfer the customer’s call to another department or team better equipped to handle the issue. This may include transferring the call to a specialized team dealing with specific problems, such as technical support or billing.
The call escalation process should be clearly defined and communicated to all support agents to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently. Proper training and communication can minimize the need for call escalation and improve the overall customer support experience.
Types of Call Escalation
Functional Escalation: Functional escalation is when a customer’s call is transferred to a higher authority within the same department. For example, a customer service representative might escalate a call to their supervisor if they cannot satisfactorily resolve the customer’s issue. This type of escalation ensures that someone with more experience or authority handles the customer’s problem.
Hierarchical Escalation: Hierarchical escalation is when a customer’s call is transferred to a higher authority in a different department. For example, a customer service representative might escalate a call to the sales department if the customer’s issue is related to sales. This type of escalation ensures that someone with the right expertise handles the customer’s problem.
Systematic Escalation: Systematic escalation is when a customer’s call is automatically escalated to a higher authority after a certain amount of time or if a certain threshold is reached. For example, if a customer’s issue has not been resolved within a specific time, the call might be automatically escalated to a higher authority. This type of escalation ensures that the customer’s issue is handled promptly.
Customer-initiated Escalation: Customer-initiated escalation is when a customer requests that their call be escalated to a higher authority. For example, if a customer is dissatisfied with the service they are receiving from a representative, they might request to speak to a supervisor. This type of escalation ensures that the customer’s issue is taken seriously.
Priority Escalation: As the name suggests, in this escalation, the issues or queries are escalated based on the priority of the problems. If the issue resolution is urgent, then the call will be escalated to a higher level quickly. For example, calls involving issues related to late delivery, IT, health emergencies, etc., are high-level priority calls that must be transferred promptly.
Ways to Reduce Call Escalation
Provide Adequate Training: One of the main reasons for call escalation is a lack of training. Customer service agents should be provided adequate training to handle different customer issues. The training should include product knowledge, customer service skills, and technical expertise. Organizations can also offer specialized training to the agents based on their areas of improvement. Even after delivering such training, organizations must ensure that continuous training programs are developed for the skill development of the agents.
Empower Customer Service Agents: Customer service agents should be empowered to make decisions and provide customer solutions. This will reduce the need for managerial escalation and improve customer satisfaction. This can be done by providing them with the required authority, keeping them motivated, offering rewards for good performance, etc.
Implement a Knowledge Management System: A knowledge management system can help a customer service agent access information quickly and easily. This will reduce the need for technical escalation and improve the speed of issue resolution. Organizations can use digital tools or software with the information the agents require.
Implement a Tiered Support System: A tiered support system involves dividing support agents into different levels based on their experience and skills. More experienced and skilled agents handle more complex issues, while less experienced agents handle more straightforward cases. This system can help reduce call escalation by ensuring the right agent is assigned to the right problem, improving first-call resolution rates.
Implement Self-service Options: Self-service options such as FAQs, interactive voice responses (IVR), and chatbots can help customers find solutions to common issues without needing a customer service representative. This will reduce the need for managerial escalation and improve the speed of issue resolution, resulting in a positive customer experience.
Providing customers with self-service options, such as a knowledge base, FAQs, and video tutorials, can help them resolve issues without contacting support.
Proactively Address Common Issues: Proactively addressing common issues can help prevent customers from encountering problems in the first place, reducing the need for call escalation. This can be achieved by providing customers with tips, best practices, and product updates. Organizations can identify common issues by monitoring the interactions between customers and agents.
Provide Agents with Better Tools and Resources: Providing support agents with access to better tools and resources, such as a knowledge base, scripts, and FAQs, can help them resolve issues more efficiently. This will reduce the need for call escalation and improve the overall customer experience. This also includes providing them with new tools and technologies occasionally.
Improve Communication Channels: Companies should provide multiple communication channels for customers to contact them. This can include phone, email, chat, and social media. Providing various channels will reduce the need for call escalation and improve customer satisfaction.
Analyze Call Data: Analyzing call data can help companies identify patterns and trends in customer issues. Digital tools can be used for recording and analyzing data to identify the most common or unexpected customer problems. This will allow them to proactively address these concerns and reduce the need for call escalation.
Implement a Call Escalation Policy: Companies should have a call escalation policy outlining the process for handling customer issues. This will ensure that all customer service agents are on the same page and reduce confusion and the need for call escalation.
Monitor Customer Feedback: Monitoring customer feedback can help companies identify and address common issues before they become more significant problems. This will reduce the need for call escalation and enhance customer satisfaction.
Continuously Improve the support process: Organizations should constantly evaluate and improve the support process to reduce call escalation. This can involve collecting customer feedback, reviewing call data, and implementing necessary changes.
Provide Excellent Customer Service: Excellent customer service can help reduce call escalation by resolving issues quickly and efficiently. By going above and beyond to meet customer needs, organizations can build trust and loyalty, reducing the likelihood of customers needing to escalate calls.
Call escalation is a common practice in customer service and support. It is done to ensure that the customer receives the best possible service and support. However, it can be frustrating for the customer and costly and time-consuming for the company. Implementing the strategies outlined in this blog post can help companies reduce call escalation and improve customer satisfaction.