What is an Escalation?

In the context of contact centers, an escalation is the process of forwarding a contact, such as a phone call or chat, to a supervisor or more proficient agent. This can happen because the original agent didn't have the knowledge or authorization to assist the customer or because the customer insisted on speaking with a supervisor.

Agents learn the basics during their initial training with a new company and then learn about more uncommon issues as they handle more and more contacts. It's not unusual for a new agent to come across an issue they simply don't know how to solve. Once they have exhausted tools that are available to them, such as a knowledge-base, they might escalate the inquiry. Additionally, sometimes company rules, such as refund policies, require agents to escalate the interaction to a different group of agents for processing.

Whatever the reason, businesses should do their best to minimize escalations due to their negative impact on the customer experience. Being transferred means the customer exerts more effort to get their problem solved, and this negatively impacts how customers perceive businesses. To reduce escalations, contact centers should have a clear and well communicated escalation management process in place. Additionally, they should make sure agents are properly trained and that they have sufficient support on the contact center floor. Businesses should regularly review and challenge any policies that contribute to the volume of escalations.

Escalations may never be completely eliminated, but with the right approach businesses can manage their impact on customers.

How NICE is Redefining Customer Experience

NICE CXone is the industry’s only interaction-centric platform where channels, data, applications, and knowledge converge to improve customer experience at scale.

It is the leading, most complete and unified CX Platform on the market, used by thousands of organizations of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help you holistically run your call (or contact) center operations.

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