Increase in Elevations

I read about a company that saw an increase in the number of elevations they were seeing. More and more calls were being elevated from level 1 to level 2. The reason, though, was mysterious to the company. They weren’t sure why the calls were being elevated and why level 1 technicians were unable to resolve the issues. Their question and concern was how to find this out and what is truly the cause versus what seems to be the cause. Of course, there are a lot of potential causes and potential solutions:

Have you asked the representatives?
A great place to start is by asking the representatives why they are elevating calls. A lot of them will be quite honest about why they’re elevating calls, especially if you make it clear what they say won’t harm them in anyway. If necessary, do an anonymous survey about why calls are being elevated. More often than not, representatives want to provide their feedback and because of the nature of their job, they know (and are) the frontlines.

Any trends?
Are there trends in the types of issues that are elevated? If you can identify clear trends (i. e. there are 50% more elevations between midnight and 8 AM), you can more accurately judge what is causing the elevations (the night shift is not as good as the day shift).
Product problem.
Never dismiss the potential of an actual problem or defect with the product or service. If a lot of customers are calling up about the same issue consistently, it is probably something wrong with the product.

Consider the talent pool.
Was the standard lowered on the type of level 1 representatives that were hired? Are new level 1 agents being paid less than they were 6 months ago? Did company Y (a competitor of company X) open up a call center 10 minutes away (and they could pay more)? The talent pool and any significant changes in it will more than likely change the number of elevations that occur.

Procedures in place?
Are call times limited? Are elevations factored into the customer service representative ratings? If representatives are elevating calls to get customers off the phone, there is obviously a flaw in the system. Make sure there are no policies or procedures in place that would actually encourage unnecessary elevations. You never want to put a policy or procedure in place that discourages elevations that are actually called for, but elevations should not be done frivolously.

These are probably some great ways to start. It never hurts to ask (customers or employees) and it never hurts to ask yourself the tough questions, either. See what you’re doing versus what you should be doing and hopefully, what needs to be done will be clear.

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