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Many customers who are dissatisfied with the level of service ask call center agents, "May I talk to your supervisor?" Given the nature of customer service, escalation calls are unavoidable. It is, however, critical to ensure that it does not spiral out of control. They also should be handled immediately. Finally, this guide provides you with the most practical information and tools for call escalation and how to handle it in call centers.

What does Call Escalation Mean?

Suppose a junior agent transfers a call to a senior one at the customer's request; this is called escalated call.

When customers are unsatisfied with the service in a contact center, they request to escalate the call to someone at a higher level to resolve their issue.

A call center agent may not have the necessary knowledge to address all of the customer's concerns. So they escalate the call to higher management for customer service resolution.

During escalation calls, all call center service providers have senior specialist resources to handle calls and resolve issues.

Escalations must be treated seriously, and call center managers must treat customers' calls and problems respectfully, or they risk losing a potential buyer.

Companies that provide help desks constantly develop practical strategies to reduce escalated calls successfully.

These are many reasons why a customer requests escalation or transfer of calls to a company's senior-level officials.

According to the studies, many customers escalate calls due to an agent's lack of understanding and confidence.

However, before answering and delivering a resolution, service providers must urge agents to listen to the consumer's questions carefully.

If agents are unsure about the solution, they should seek assistance from their superiors rather than offering incorrect responses.

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What are the Different Types of Escalation?

Predictive behavioral routing is a call center tool that links customers with the agent who is most likely to solve their problem.

There are four primary escalation techniques if the remote agents fail to give the required support.

Let us get to them:

Hierarchical Call Escalation

It is the most common type of call escalation, and it is structured hierarchically. It goes from lower-level to higher-level agents.

The support ticket is forwarded to the appropriate agent based on their seniority and experience with similar issues.

A supervisor could escalate the problem to an account manager, who would then escalate the matter to the head of sales.

Functional Escalation

Even if they are not hierarchically next in line, a ticket will be sent to a person or team with a similar skill set needed to resolve the essential concerns.

For instance, the accounts and billing department would be the best unit to deal with issues and questions about an upcoming payment.

Priority Call Escalation

In this type of escalation, the issue is escalated according to its priority and delivered to team leaders and higher levels sooner.

An Information Technology issue that causes frequent phone echoing, for example, will be given higher importance than investigating a supply delivery that is a day late.

Automatic Escalation

Companies use call center software to move project problems to the next level when a specific time passes without a resolution.

Why Reduce Escalation in Call Centers?

The call center agents may prevent over 80 percent of call escalations on the first call. So the ideal circumstance is no supervisor escalation calls or fewer of them.

Managers and supervisors of contact centers must focus on high-level duties like coaching, training, and performance analysis when they usually spend time chatting with a customer about an issue that might have been fixed on the first call.

Supervisor escalations have an impact on the First Contact Resolution (FCR) rate as well as other necessary customer service measures like the Average Handle Time (AVT) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).

A disappointed customer is more inclined than a happy customer to submit a negative review about the organization. For example, a company may lose business if it is identified with poor customer service.

According to studies, almost 90 percent of customers are more likely to make a second purchase after a good customer service experience.

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How to Manage Call Escalation in Call Center?

Call escalation cases are usually urgent, so call centers should have robust procedures, systems, and protocols to assure a positive conclusion.

The nine practical procedures for handling escalated call-in contact centers are outlined below.

1. Do Not Make Assumptions

Call center managers are sometimes prone to forming opinions based on what their agent says about a customer issue.

Managers subconsciously categorize the customer as "one of those difficult types" if the agent thinks the consumer is not ready to listen or is challenging to deal with.

Making these kinds of assumptions is one of the fatal blunders to avoid when dealing with an escalated call.

Consider the client to be someone who has a problem and is misbehaving since your initial customer service work has not been able to solve it.

It makes you more likely to solve the problem. Frequently, escalated calls occur due to the first customer service representative's lack of knowledge or experience in dealing with the problem.

Handle the call with a good attitude and be prepared to soothe the upset customer before dealing with the problem.

2. Recognize the Problem

Managers should encourage employees to convey the facts about the problem straightforwardly and objectively because it is critical to have all the information when dealing with call escalation.

Try to recognize the customer's issue or problem, the impact of the problem on them, and the existing solution.

This information helps you determine why the call was escalated to a higher level and what to do in future cases.

3. Have Clear Objectives

While on an escalated call, you must be clear about objectives. Most managers usually have two primary objectives: resolving the problem and handling the customer effectively.

When you have finished the call, jot down exactly what needs to be done to resolve the problem.

Next, describe how you want the consumer to feel about the brand and the company, the solution you have supplied, and how you have resolved the problem.

4. Demonstrate Sympathy for the Customer

Mentally prepare yourself to take the call. Introduce yourself appropriately at the beginning of the call.

Send a good message to the customer expressing that your goal is to resolve their problem.

Tell the customer that you have been briefed on the problem, but do not go into specifics. Instead, allow the customer to fill you in on the information.

5. Allow the Customer to Talk

Take the call with an open mind, and do not assume the customer is in the same irritating mood as before.

By the time you picked up the phone, they may have cooled down, allowing them to describe the problem in-depth.

After listening to the entire problem, write a summary of your take on the topic. It reassures the customer that you understand their problem and desire to help them.

6. Present the Solution

Make your move to provide the proper answer to the problem once you have completed all the above procedures.

By this point, the consumer is willing to listen to you, and there will be a better possibility for both sides to reach an agreement.

Confirm the customer's agreement with the solution before closing the case.

7. Use AI-assisted Solutions

Artificial intelligence technologies can help you to manage escalated calls. For example, you can handle routine calls with conversational AI apps or virtual assistants.

Call analysis using AI call center systems can assist detect inefficiencies or blockages that lead to supervisor escalations.

The AI solutions may perform better regarding balance inquiries, transfers, and other recurring Tier 0 and Tier 1 requests that may discourage agents.

To provide a seamless support experience and eliminate caller frustrations, the AI can reduce wait times and work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Furthermore, by handling routine and primary contacts, the call center can handle call escalations with sufficient human resources.

Human agents can better handle complex calls by combining their creativity and knowledge.

Through automated questions, intelligent virtual agents may be able to help reduce escalations. For example, they can ask some questions to determine the scope of the investigation.

They may even deduce the caller's intention based on their tone of voice or the phrases they use in their talking.

They can also detect when a customer is becoming frustrated during a call and transfer the call to a human representative.

8. Improve Efficiencies in Call Centers

Managers and supervisors at call centers should be on the lookout for inefficiencies that lead to escalated calls.

Customers may be disappointed and impatient when connecting with a live agent if they wait a long time.

Customer support agents usually complain about the slow systems. Investing in automated call center management software may be a good solution for this problem/

To prevent unwanted functional escalated calls, it may be required to assign greater authority or permissions to agents.

Call protocols and an inability to comprehend customers' requirements can cause operational inefficiencies.

It is also a good idea to build up a call escalation or backup team specifically trained to deal with escalation.

Call centers may require call center escalation protocols or an escalation matrix that instructs agents on who to contact or which departments to contact with specific escalated calls.

9. Use Dynamic Internal Knowledge

The internal knowledge base (IKB) is one of the most valuable resources available to call center personnel.

While a company may have an internal knowledge base, you may find that agents continue to escalate calls to supervisors rather than using them to solve issues and problems.

Probably because it takes too long to find the answer or because it previously failed them by including obsolete information.

AI dynamic IKBs could be more beneficial than traditional KBs. For example, if the system supports BNLP, it can listen in on client calls and dynamically deliver valuable materials from the IKB to the agent for quick reference.

Final Thoughts

Implementing new training for call center agents and building a straightforward remote worker escalation process improves customer service. Investing in the proper project management and call center software can also help avoid call escalation and misunderstanding regarding the project goals. What about you? How do you manage call escalations in your customer service?

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