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How More Effective Language Can Reduce Call Center Costs

Strategic use of words and language can reduce call center costs while driving more digital self-service. A leading insurance company changed the words they use in emails designed to encourage digital self service and drove nearly $600,000 in call center savings from a single email campaign.

The challenge

One insurance company recently launched a new online portal but struggled to drive awareness of the program as an effective self-service option across key segments. Customers continued to use the call center to request policy renewals which drove up costs and increased the average cost per customer. Service leaders sought to lower costs by increasing awareness and encouraging usage among policy holders. 

What they did

The company ran language experiments to pinpoint which emotions, words, phrases, and language components engaged their customers. They ran a single email campaign with the optimized words, phrases and emotions which increased digital ID card downloads 52%, reduced log-ins by customer service reps by 16% and ultimately saved $595,922 in call center costs from one single email campaign.

Language insights drive engagement and reduce call center costs

We know from extensive experimentation that some of the best performing language in the CTA portion of a multi-step online process can be words that better align to the customer journey and user experience. So phrases such as “Continue” and “Begin here” have tended to drive higher performance in CTAs in these applications for financial services firms. In the case of this insurer it was one of many language insights that drove cost savings.

Higher performing language drove ~$600,000 in call center savings

Directional language is important to improve call center performance 

Directional language is consistently driving engagement across the board in service emails, banners, and announcements. This means your teams need to be very explicit and instructive in the language used across channels. This impacts performance of a message more than any other component of the message. 

Directional language is consistently driving engagement across the board in service emails, banners, and announcements.

In the example from the insurance company, this manifests as “click ‘print (…)’ below.” In the context of customer support and directing people to the right resources, “less is more” does not apply. People respond very well to very explicit instructions that at first glance may look obvious or unnecessary. 

Looking ahead

As call center volume, complexity and costs increase over the coming days, weeks and months, adjusting and optimizing for the right words can be an effective and quick way to control call center costs while improving the customer experience.

Please note: Specific language elements used in previous experiments may not reflect current best practices given the new operating environment brought on by COVID-19. Please visit the Language and Communication Resource Center for the latest guidance on communicating effectively during this time.