Is Confusion Driving Up Your Call Center Costs?

stackofmail3True story: I bought a new home in March. When I received my first natural gas bill in the mail, the bill summary on the front page of the printed statement showed an amount due of $160. That seemed pretty high but I assumed it must have included a connection charge or something. However, when I looked at the charges summarized in the bill summary block on that first page, they clearly didn’t add up to the $160.00 shown in the “Total Due” line item. In fact, I added them and they totaled $100.00. That was confusing. I turned the bill over and there was the $60.00 service charge under “Additional Charges” on the second page.

So, being the Product Manager that I am, I decided to “know my market” and call their call center to ask for clarification. The Customer Service Rep (CSR) patiently explained that these services charges are never included in the line items in the page one Bill Summary, even though they are included in the total due.

I said “Wow, that’s confusing, isn’t it?

He agreed.

I continued, “I bet that drives a lot of calls into your call center.

He responded “You don’t even know….

If that confusing bill summary is driving up call volumes every month, why doesn’t the company make their statements more intuitive?

Research shows that every time a call center receives a call, it costs their company on average between $12 to $25. If you have 20 customers over the course of the day that have the same confusion as I did, that's $500 in just one day! I have to wonder just how much money my natural gas company is wasting on call center support simply because their statements are confusing. And of course I also know that the rates I'm paying for my gas are higher than they could be because of those unnecessary costs.

Is your company trying to figure out what's driving up call center costs? Could confusing customer communications be a contributing factor? It might be something worth investigating - to improve both your costs and customer satisfaction.

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