Voice call charges constitute a significant share of call center expenses. Usually voice call costs are viewed from a service performance perspective—how agents could finish calls earlier, or how they could prevent additional calls—or from a carrier pricing negotiations point of view.
While both are valid approaches for minimizing call center expenses, there are more ways to look for telecom cost reduction. These approaches to reducing cost include analyzing queue time, routing, and IVR; offering callbacks; transferring overflowed calls; using VoIP; and understanding your carrier bills.
Check Your Queue and Routing
Telecom cost reduction starts with analyzing your queue time. Long queue times can eat up carrier minutes, especially on toll-free calls.
Before increasing staffing or ordering overflow destination, check for possible routing black holes. For example, a caller may be waiting in the queue for your Spanish-speaking agent, who could be skilled, instead, to pick up priority calls. One way to look for this is to search for longest calls using a threshold and sort results by duration. Then you can analyze the call scenarios, step by step.
Study IVR Reports
IVR application reports can also help uncover calls with long interactive voice response (IVR) times—these are the calls that go through menus that loop, the IVR-driven calls with ambiguous prompts that keep callers confused, causing them to wait and then redial multiple times.
IVR reports can help uncover these calls with long IVR times by showing exactly how many times scenario blocks are executed, as well as where in a scenario the calls drop.
In a genuine overload situation, it is a good idea to use a virtual queue with callback, which calls a customer back when an agent becomes ready. A virtual queue with callback brings additional savings by making an outbound call instead of continuing toll-free call. In the US, for example, most outbound calls are less expensive than toll-free.
Yet another approach to consider in your telecom cost management is to offer web callbacks on your website. The queue portion costs are avoided and the call is, again, outbound, which is less expensive than toll-free.
For both types of callbacks, you can save agent time if your system can make calls before the agent is ready, using accurately predicted estimated wait times (EWT).
Use Network Transfer for Relayed Calls
When relaying calls as part of overflow, or transferring to partners, it makes sense to use network transfer to pay for only a direct call from customer to partner, and not for two calls (that is, one to you and another from you to the partner). Such transfers also have an additional benefit of reduced latency; however, calls cannot be recorded after transfer.
If a call is initiated from a mobile app or a web page, it makes sense to use a Voice over IP (VoIP) connection to forgo telecom costs altogether.
Bright Pattern offers source code for calls and video functionality that you could add to your mobile app. Voice (and video) calls from a web page are supported for Android devices today and will be supported by mobile Safari in iOS 11.
Study Your Carrier Charges
In addition, part of your telecom cost management should involve noticing that telecom providers round up minutes differently. Twilio, for example, while being an excellent choice for fast deployment for worldwide coverage, is very expensive—it rounds up to the next minute, which means that you pay for 30 extra seconds per phone call, on average.
The providers we use in our carrier mix bill round up in 6-second increments on US domestic calls and 30 seconds initially, with 6 seconds later on international calls.
In addition, we offer a “bring your own carrier” option, which allows you to continue your existing carrier relationship without the need to change carriers when moving to the cloud.
Talk to Us
At Bright Pattern, we offer all of these solutions for telecom expense management and cost reduction. We are happy to discuss your particular case.