Deconstructing First Call Resolution – The Keys to Improvement
We’ve put together this Call Center first call resolution guide with the purpose of making CC agents and managers familiar with the elements the impact first call resolution as well as providing the most crucial tips on your continues journey for FCR improvement.
What is First Call Resolution?
There are different ways to measure it, but fundamentally, First Call Resolution (FCR) means that a customer’s support call is handled through resolution to the customer’s satisfaction in their first interaction with the call center. While not all calls can be resolved this way – most should be. To help you achieve that we’ve put together some powerful first call resolution tips for agents and call center leaders.
Why is First Call Resolution Your Most Important KPI?
It’s the only KPI that directly addresses the goal of your support center – problem resolution.
It is the KPI that is most aligned with your customer satisfaction, yet it doesn’t neglect operational efficiency (i.e. cost).
Studies show that up to 12% of your customers will leave if their issues are NOT solved on the first call. If that seems like a harsh stick, here’s a carrot: For every 1% increase in FCR, your customer satisfaction grows by 1%. And every 1% increase in customer satisfaction translates into slightly over 1% increase in shareholder value (Source).
Bottom line: It’s the KPI that most holistically reflects the true shape of your complete business, not just your call center and agents but your product and your customer sentiment – also known simply as your entire brand.
When you have a problem with your first call resolution rate (averaging further below industry standards), that means that there is something flawed somewhere along your customer experience. You should identify the weak link and fix it.
To help you do that, let’s look deeper into what effects your first call resolution rate both inside and outside your contact center.
Inside The Call Center
Generally speaking, If you have QUALITY, KNOWLEDGEABLE, MOTIVATED agents combined with the right technology, you should achieve a good first call resolution.
Quality – hire people who will have the capacity to handle your type of customers and problems. This means both their service and interpersonal skills. No point in staffing your call center with tech wizards who know your product, but have no patience for “clueless” end-users.
Knowledge – On the other hand, the bedside manner of Florence Nightingale isn’t going to help without the actual skills required to solve your customer’s problem. Make sure that your support staff are properly trained and are expert enough to guide your customers to resolution at their tier.
Motivation – Support center is a grinding job. In the long term, wearing your agents to the ground is bad for your business, and if you follow the previous two steps you’ll find it hard to keep replacing them without sacrificing performance.
Keeping your agents motivated is about two things:
- Reward them for success – The common way to measure call center success is Average Handling Time. However, always keep in mind that whatever you set as the metric for success will be what your agents aim for. Therefore you must define success in a way that serves the true purpose of your call center. That is – Solving your customer’s problem and keeping them satisfied with your brand.
- Keep them fresh – This is a true challenge but it’s important. Be attentive to your agents needs. Make sure you create a positive environment for them and allow them proper rest times and mental support when necessary. There are technological platform and systems that help gamify a call center and make it a more fun place to work.
Technology – Technology is becoming a key player in call centers. Gaining visibility into the customer’s environment and applying big data analytics to optimize service are just a couple of the solutions that are changing the way support is delivered in contact centers. To stay at the top of the game, your call center must keep up with technological developments.
The keys to getting the most out of contact center technologies are:
- Identification – make sure someone in your organization is up to date on customer service innovation and can make the right technology choices for your contact center.
- Integration: You must have an implementation method in place to make sure agents are supported in the process of adopting new technology and that you get the best results and benefit from new technology.
- Monitoring and optimizing – You must review how your technology is performing and adjust as needed. Improving your contact center performance is a never ending task.
Outside The Call Center
If everything works perfectly in your customer care and your first call resolution rate is still low, there are two possible causes you should look into:
The customer – How the customer enters the conversation is critical to the success of the interaction. If the beginning of the conversation is confrontational and the agent is unable to gain the customer’s confidence, your chances of a first call resolution drop significantly.
Customers’ frustration and low confidence are due to friction along your complete customer experience.
To minimize customer frustration and get him into the conversation with the right attitude, you have to look at his path up to the call and make sure you eliminate unnecessary friction.
That can include:
- Long hold times
- Difficulty in reaching your support
- Confusing IVR’s
- Bad self service experience
- Bad service reputation
If a customer’s goal is to get a technician sent as fast as they can, your chances of resolution are dramatically diminished. If an agent is under a vicious attack by a raging customer and is under- equipped to handle it, his goal will become to get off the phone as fast as he can.
To achieve resolution you need both the customer and the agent to be motivated and believe that they can do it.
The product – Last but not least: If your product is bad , no service in the world can help.
If your product is good but you have a problem with FCR it may mean you have to look at your UX/UI.
If it’s confusing to the customer and difficult to the agent to explain, that will lower your First Call Resolution.
In this case your agent has to identify what’s confusing report back to your product people so the confusion doesn’t continue into the future hurting your service and lowering your customer satisfaction.
First call resolution is a KPI that boils down all aspects of your organization into one single number. It corresponds directly with your customer satisfaction while keeping your finger on the pulse of your product, brand sentiment and customer support.
Your first priority is to make sure your call center works right.
What do you have to do?
- Hire enough good agents.
- Give them the right training.
- Motivate them through reward for the right kind of success
- Create a good working environment
- Provide them with the right technology.
Make sure that all of your consumer-facing functions are friendly and efficient. From self service to calling in, the experience of connecting with your brand must inspire confidence and express respect for the customer’s time and needs.
If you are able to achieve a good first call resolution rate it means you’re doing something right.