Opportunity Assessment

What Does The Opportunity Assessment Procedure Do?

This procedure is used to identify opportunities to minimize expenses in an in-bound call centre.  The procedure focuses on the types and nature of the incoming calls and identifies preventable calls and any processes contributing to those preventable calls.  New opportunities evolve from a focus on minimizing the number of preventable calls – hence operating expenses – while maintaining or improving customer and employee satisfaction.

Pearl Advisory Group (PAG) provides the framework and facilitates the procedure. The client finalizes the opportunities based on the analysis of the data and its conclusion as well PAG’s knowledge of best in class call centres and their best practices.  This type of partnership maintains ownership by the client while benefiting from an outside perspective.

When Is An Opportunity Assessment Appropriate?

An Opportunity Assessment is a powerful tool for any centre struggling with increased expenses, reduced budget and/or increased call volumes.

This procedure is also very appropriate for call centres trying to enhance their customer satisfaction index by emphasizing what is important to their customers.

What Is Unique About An Opportunity Assessment?

Traditionally call centres try to minimize their financial pressures by focusing on the contact handle time (AHT). In most cases these centres achieve a quick turn-around, giving them the illusion that they have beaten those financial pressures.  The results, however, are short-lived.  The diminished quality of contact – caused by focus on contact time – not only reduces the level of customer satisfaction but also causes customers to call more often for any single item hence increasing the number of incoming calls and renewed financial pressure.  In some cases customers simply walk away, reducing the number of calls (and the financial pressure associated with them).  Although this may give the impression of improvement in the call centre, it results in significant loss of revenue for the organization.

An Opportunity Assessment is built around the concept of First Call Resolution (FCR).  By building the internal processes around FCR, one can minimize those preventable calls while providing enhanced customer service and reducing / removing those financial pressures. PAG’s Opportunity Assessment focuses on discovering processes that contribute to lack of FCR and their impact on preventable calls.

It starts with a detailed sampling of incoming calls and categorizing them into appropriate groupings.  Analysis of this sample provides the current level of FCR as well as number of preventable calls.  This becomes basis for determining the potential for reduced cost / increased efficiency.

The Opportunity Assessment procedure then focuses on investigating preventable calls by grouping them into sub-categories and by determining internal processes and procedures that have contributed to them.  Further analysis will reveal the root cause of each grouping of those calls and a comparison to best-in-class call centres will point to best practices and potential solutions for improvement.

The highlight of the procedure is a hands-on session with the client and PAG facilitators to review all findings and design a plan of action.  This session will provide:

  • A description for each category of calls (both desired and preventable), identifying its uniqueness and shortcomings.
  • Root cause analysis for those preventable calls identifying related processes and the gap between those processes and best practices from best-in-class organization.
  • Potential improvement expressed in number of calls, FCR and/or customer satisfaction.
  • Plan of action to close those gaps and achieve potential benefits including specific targets and time frames (actionable items).
  • PAG facilitators evoke thought by bringing an outside perspective, providing a framework for assessment and sharing best practices observed in other organizations.

Why Is That Uniqueness Important?

Unlike many other cost saving initiatives, First Call Resolution benefits both the organization (by increasing the efficiency of the operation of the centre) and its customers (FCR is a major contributor to customer satisfaction). The focus is also on maximizing the role of the call centre in customer retention and hence bringing more investment to the centre.  This is a sustainable approach to eliminating financial pressures and not a knee jerk reaction to the budget limitations.

What Should The Client Be Concerned About?

The client is concerned about how to obtain maximum benefit from this procedure.

  • Provide insights to current internal processes and procedures
  • Provide resources to work with the PAG facilitators (3-6 project team members and access to calls for sampling).
    • Project team is made from both front line employee and management team.  All team members should be knowledgeable about the business, comfortable with change, accountability and ownership.
    • Resources are available for the duration of the project.

Why Do I Need To Use This Procedure Now?

There are very few centres that do not face any financial pressures.  The Opportunity Assessment will give those centres a powerful tool to battle those pressures (not just putting a band-aid on it).  It will give the centre a very strong foundation (FCR) to not only survive but also have an opportunity to grow and prosper.  Even those centres that are not facing immediate pressures will benefit from this procedure by establishing a road map for the future growth that is in line with FCR principles.

An Opportunity Assessment answers the following questions:

  • What is the level of FCR in my centre?
  • What is the percentage and/or what are number of preventable calls in my centre?
  • How would I compare to best-in-class organizations in the area of FCR?
    • What are the gaps?
    • Why those gaps exist?
  • What is the ideal level of FCR for our centre and what are the best practices required for reaching that level?
  • What is the priority of our improvement initiatives?

Why PAG?

Using consultants in this type of project brings an outside perspective. This involves an assessment through a different set of eyes, an unbiased viewpoint that is based on facts and the learning from best practice information observed in other organizations. PAG consultants have operational experience themselves and have successfully developed and facilitated this methodology. The client project teams always comment on the personal development acquired as a result of participating on the project.

How Much Would It Cost?

The length and the cost of an Opportunity Assessment project varies significantly with number of calls per day and types of calls as well as readily available data.  Typically a project would last between 2 to 4 weeks with the total cost of $15K to $30K plus expenses.