What is an escalation in a contact centre?
A contact centre escalation refers to the process of transferring a customer contact, such as a phone call or chat, to a supervisor or a more experienced agent. This typically occurs when the original agent is unable to address the customer’s issue due to a lack of knowledge or authorisation, or when the customer insists on speaking with a higher-level representative.
During their initial training, agents receive foundational knowledge, but as they gain experience, they encounter more complex or unusual issues. It’s common for a new agent to encounter a problem they cannot resolve on their own.
When they have exhausted available resources, such as a knowledge base, they may choose to escalate the enquiry. Additionally, certain company policies, such as refund procedures, may require agents to escalate the interaction to another team of agents for further processing.
To provide a positive customer experience, businesses aim to minimise escalations, as transfers can be frustrating for customers and increase their effort to resolve an issue. This can lead to a negative perception of the business. To reduce escalations, contact centres should establish a clear and well-communicated escalation management process. Adequate agent training and on-floor support are also essential. Businesses should periodically review and reassess policies that contribute to the frequency of escalations.
While it may not be possible to entirely eliminate escalations, businesses can effectively manage their impact on customers with the right strategies in place.
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