Escalation is an action or process where a customer wants someone at a higher level usually a manager or supervisor to share his issue or complain. This happens mainly when a customer is not pleased with the interaction of the agent who initially answers the call.

An escalation should be handled delicately as the customer already is dissatisfied with the service provided, with the chance of losing a customer permanently.

Some of the major reasons for customer escalations are the lack of knowledge and confidence from the agent’s side. And showing less empathy and a disagreeable attitude, communication gap or the agent is unable to ascent with the pace of the customer can cause the situation worse.

 

The best course of action to reduce customer escalation volumes

 

Showing empathy with active listening

The very first strategy to handle an irate customer is to listen to him actively with expressing empathy through the entire conversation. An idle advisor should jot down the main points of the problem of the issue while paraphrasing it with the customer in a calm voice. Such soft-skills will definitely calm the customer and the concern can be easily handled by the very first person. Hence this will render the customer to escalate his concern to the next level.

Adequate Training

Agents should possess an ample amount of training in policies, products, and services. The training and quality team should take dedicated sessions even with senior tenures, over both products and “soft-skills”. Deep product knowledge coupled with engaging communication skill will definitely reduce the number of escalations daily.

Use of knowledge base to increase FCR

Organizations can develop an easily accessible knowledge base for their customer support agents in order to minimize AHT. This will make the agents find out the accurate results quickly and accurately. By using such a knowledge base platform, advisors will able to solve customer’s queries beforehand. With improved Fast Call Resolution (FCR), customers no need to follow-up with the support team or escalate the concern.

Identifying the root causes of escalation in order to prevent future problems

In order to prevent more escalations, the management team of a contact center should track the gaps between customers and advisors in real-time. As a result, it will help to identify the agents who required more training in order to deliver a more consistent level of customer service. Also, it will point out the parameters where agents can be empowered to make independent decisions subject to customer’s statutory rights and the company’s policy while handling critical customer issues. This escalation management technique will also be helpful to identify major product-service gaps that are driving customers to lodge a complaint.

 

Reducing customer escalation volume drastically overnight is not possible. However, if the entire team stating from highest management to agents works as a whole unit, keeping escalation at its minimal level is possible. For this besides agents, supervisors should have a deeper knowledge of products as well as on the company’s policies while everyone must be on the same page.

As an unsatisfied customer can become detractor for a brand, contact centers should really work into it. Last but not the least, handling irate customers is not an easy task. But finding a solution while addressing valid concerns of the customer will definitely work as a de-escalating factor. Also, such steps will widen the path of the brand-customer relationship.

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