Widely known as the Pareto principle, the 80:20 rule states that, for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes.

While Pareto originally established the principle from observing that 80% of the wealth in Italy belonged to only 20% of the population, today it is more generally used to highlight that most things in life are not distributed evenly. This can be applied to a wide range of circumstances.

In the context of the customer experience, this tells us that 80% of customer service contacts come from 20% of customers. If this is the case, there are lessons to be learned and changes made to remove unnecessary calls, improve efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction.

By focussing attention on those 20% of customers, and understanding why they call, it’s possible to adapt customer service processes to save time, remove waste and, ultimately, reduce costs.

Take an online banking environment, for example.

The company found that, nearly 20% of customers were generating almost 80% of calls. Having analysed the customers’ reasons for calling, they established that they were uncertain about a particular aspect of their banking, such as transactions, transfers, etc, and needed reassurance.

Some, for example, wanted confirmation that a scheduled payment had left their account but didn’t know they could check this themselves through the bank’s app. Others weren’t aware that payments leave their account at a specific time of day, and so were checking at the wrong time.

Now that it was clear just why these customers called, agents could provide different information during the call, helping to better educate the customer on resolving these type of issues for themselves in the context of the question they were asking.

In this instance, it wasn’t about looking at the communication channels being used but focussing on the needs of a specific set of customers. While average handle times increased because agents spent longer educating customers, this approach eventually reduced the number of calls coming from those customers by half, achieving a substantial saving.

Not only did this benefit the business, but it also resulted in happier consumers and a more efficient customer experience.

SYKES has been helping customers for over forty years. If your customer service strategy needs experience and resources for success, please get in touch!

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