Project Title: Recovery of Mislabeled One-Time Support Calls


Project sponsor: Bruce

Project Green Belt: TC

A group of Service Employees who were hired during the high volume early [software product] season to handle simple refund issues and other simple service questions were getting misrouted customer calls. The Integrated Voice Response (IVR) was supposed to use the customers phone number to do a data dip into the Call Routing Information System (CRIS) to determine if the customer had purchased a tech support plan … if no tech support plan then the call routed to a Service Employee (SE). Thereafter, when the SE got these calls and determined the customer had a tech support request they were supposed to label the call as a One Time Support (OTS) call type prior to transferring the call to a Customer Service Associate (CSA.)

Two defects: 1) calls were not appropriately using the CRIS data dip to determine if the customer had a paid tech support plan (waste) and 2) SEs who got these calls by mistake we’re not labeling the call as a one-time support (OTS) call prior to transfer to a CSA (the CSAs were trained to handle more technical questions about [software product].)

TC discovered two problems when researching why support calls were incorrectly classified by customer service agents (CSAs.) One problem was that some billable calls were completed by SEs without a OTS order attached. Another problem was that CSAs would transfer calls to SEs as OTS calls, but SEs would then reclassify them as non-billable calls.

Measure and Analysis

Incorrect CSA transfers accounted for 63% of all the mislabeled OTS calls, with 79% of those supported by Indian SEs, and 21% supported by Tucson SEs. Why was this happening? After ruling out different hypotheses, TC discovered that CSAs were not being held accountable for their incorrectly transferred calls.

Improve and Control

Two steps were taken toward resolution.

First, the phone system was changed so that customers could not get directly to SEs in India.
Second, a process was created to measure and report incorrect transfers, and increase awareness of behavior. The team also kept tabs on the number of calls received outside normal CSA hours, and an improvement in Call Routing Information System allowed the integrated voice response (IVR) to look at multiple records when those customers entered their registration number or their business phone number.

Volume increased by 1200 calls, with a $157,000 increase in revenue. Defects fell to 6% from 15.5%.


A Six Sigma Green Belt worked with the call center manager and his sponsor to drill down to root causes of a problem that was causing significant employee dissatisfaction and costing the company wasted money. By developing a change plan that addressed the causes he was able to quickly reduce the magnitude of the problem and improve scheduling efficiency. The result was a “double whammy” of greatly improved productivity and lower costs. The control system he put in place with the process owner assured that the results would be maintained long-term.

One response to “Case Study – Recovery of Mislabeled One-Time Support Calls”

  1. Stephen Czupryna Avatar
    Stephen Czupryna

    As part of the Control step, I’d consider using a control chart to understand the distribution of incorrect transfers by shift, day, week or other meaningful interval. Doing so would provide an alert if the underlying system changed in terms of process center or spread.

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