How Plain Language Reduces Call Centre Volume By 19%

Customer Service Assistant

What’s driving your call centre demand? Most callers look to clarify something.

Maybe they just received a notice around revised terms for an insurance policy. Questions typically relate to these three things: payments, charges or queries around a specific product or service. For all these categories, clarity of communications is key. And conversely, complex communications drive increased calls, and increased costs.

Here are some levers you can use to tackle contact centre demand:

  • reduce talk time
  • implement live chat to spread demand
  • hire more staff
  • invest in training
  • shave off inefficiencies

While these are effective tactics, most represent additional spending. And many ignore the root problem, why did the person have to call in the first place?

There is another way

Communicating in plain language results in less customer confusion. This leads to fewer questions, and a reduced workload for your call centre. As a bonus, your customer experience (CX) becomes stronger.

Let’s take a banking example. A bank sends out information on loan restructuring.

The customer is busy with deadlines, school drop-offs, meetings and more. She doesn’t have time to learn banking jargon. The letter references lots of jargon (APR, APY) and seems legalistic. She picks up the phone to your support term to clarify the offer.

And, she’s also not the only one. The same letter went to thousands of customers. Many looking for similar clarifications.

Imagine now that the bank had sent the same letter in plain English with no banking jargon.

A clear case for plain language

This isn’t just theory; we’ve seen this happen time and time again in the companies we work with.

Insurance provider Sun Life used VisibleThread technology to improve the clarity of 11 of their membership letters. The result was a 19% drop in call centre volume. And this equated to an annual saving of $325k. Technology played a part by supporting non-writers from operations, support and product teams. While dashboards showed clarity across all teams and channels.

Jack Nelson, former Executive Vice President of Operations for CVS Caremark says fixing upstream issues results in a  10-30%  drop in call centre demand. One of these is clear customer communication (more on this here).

It’s time to discover the savings you could be making.

The hidden benefits of plain language

If you create clear communications with your customer in mind, they won’t need to contact you as much. This has a positive impact on your call traffic, CX, and your bottom line.

But let’s not forget our secret weapon. Our people. In a tight labour market, it’s never been more important to hold on to your talented employees. And plain language can help there, too. A lower volume of calls means more time for your employees to focus on delivering exceptional service.

There’s a huge opportunity for call centres to focus on the most important calls, from customers with complex issues. The result is more satisfied staff, as well as delighted customers. The CX holy grail.

About the Author:

Fergal McGovernFergal McGovern is CEO of  VisibleThread. He  and  the  VisibleThread team are  on a mission to get the world communicating clearly. Global organisations like  Sun Life, Boeing, and the Australian Government use VisibleThread to score written content for complexity and consistency.

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