First call resolution (FCR) is one of the most critical metrics call center managers should monitor. Getting a customer’s issue resolved during the first contact is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to improve the customer experience.
So, we know the importance of the metric, but what can we do to improve it? Well, we’ve spoken to the experts and here’s what they’ve found most effective at improving first call resolution rates:
1. Choose the Right Call Center Software
Both the training of call center agents and the selection of the right technology play a role in improving FCR rate.
The right software collects information, delivers reports and makes such data available to agents to enhance the quality of service. Even the best of agents will fail in the absence of reliable tools.
Call center software should at least provide information about the caller’s phone number, name, and previous contact logs. When such information is available, an agent will know whether the person is contacting the company for the first time or if an unresolved issue will have to be addressed.
Task automation via software selection is also a great option. Automatic call log creation, new ticket creation and the addition of new information can all occur without agent involvement. The information is going to be 100 percent accurate, eliminating redundancies and reliance on old facts.
Finally, good call center software should provide a detailed dashboard with relevant metrics that agents can access immediately. Based on such information and their training, agents can make good decisions when it comes to assisting clients.
2. Enhance Agent Training
A good software solution can be a huge factor, but only if the agents are well trained and are able to utilize all of the available capabilities. This is one of the reasons why companies need to invest in proper agent training and additional qualification. Something as simple as improving the soft skills of agents could enhance caller problem resolution.
Proper training should focus on making the most of the available call center software, acquainting agents with the company’s core values and competencies, providing detailed examples of issues that can be resolved within the first contact and issues that will have to be escalated, instructing agents how to build relationships with calling customers and providing timely information about changes in corporate policies.
Effective communication is the heart of doing a good job, regardless of the department. Even if the company relies on external call center agents, the right training will still be imperative to enable optimal problem resolution within a single call.
3. Leverage Skill-based Routing:
Skill-based routing ensures that your caller is directly routed to your most qualified or trained agent. This feature allows you to save time and improve customer satisfaction. With skill-based routing, you can prevent your customer’s calls from being transferred to multiple agents and avoid keeping your customer on hold while your agent is trying to find a way to resolve their issue. With this feature in place, you can be assured that your caller’s problem is being addressed by your best-skilled agent thus leading to first call resolution.
4. Review Repeat Contacts
Enhancing first call resolution is all about determining issues that prevented resolution during the first call.
Analyzing repeat calls is one of the biggest essentials when it comes to building a strategy to improve FCR.
What do records have to say about the people who have contacted the company the most over a specified period of time? How did agents deal with such challenges? As patterns emerge, a solution to address them should be considered.
A lot of useful information can be gathered when agents are trained to ask whether the issue has been resolved at the end of the call. If the answer is negative, agents could ask for some additional information. The absence of data will make it virtually impossible to opt for the tactics that will deliver a significant FCR improvement.
5. Train Call Center Employees about Customer Demographics
When agents have a good idea about who’s calling and what the needs may be, the chances are that customer service will improve and the issue will be resolved within a single call.
Demographic information about the customer base is going to be of paramount importance. It can be utilized to divide callers into groups and assign specific characteristics to each one. Splitting customers into two groups – those whose issue was resolved during the first call and those whose issue wasn’t – can also be very beneficial to improve the quality of service in the future.
The age, the location and the gender of customers could help you come up with a strategy that will yield better call service results. Grouping people on the basis of one of these characteristics will lead to much more effective communication based on a consistent approach.
6. Leverage Advanced Contact Center Features such as Call Recordings, Coaching & Quality Monitoring:
You can record all or some of your agent’s calls and screen interactions to evaluate their customer service. Once you’ve heard all recordings and identified the agents that need additional training, you can listen-into your agent’s calls (without customer’s knowledge) and coach them on the type of answer to provide to the customer. This feature of ‘Coaching & Quality Monitoring’ allows you to identify your agent’s areas of improvement and gives you the opportunity to provide on-the-job training.
7. Have Well-Established Internal Processes
Clear, concise and unambiguous corporate policies about specific situations will create protocols that agents will find easy to follow.
Policies should be created to empower agents and give them a degree of autonomy when it comes to handling complex calls. Eliminating unnecessary steps, redundant procedures and red tape will usually lead to improved customer service experience.
Some of the things that call center agents should be allowed to handle without having to escalate include issuing refunds to dissatisfied customers, adjusting billing cycles, applying a promotion or a discount, addressing warranty issues and providing free of charge shipping/return rates.
8. Utilize Omnichannel Capabilities:
In today’s day and age, customers leverage several channels (email, chat, call, text/SMS, web callback, social etc.) to communicate with organizations. It is critical to ensure that your agents are equipped with tools that allow them to view the customer’s complete contact history when they receive a call, email, chat etc. from a customer. Knowing your customer’s title, last interaction type, last issue and other information allows agents to personalize their interaction, enhance customer satisfaction and increase first call resolution.
With an omnichannel contact center software, your agents will have access to customer’s contact information, complete history, and access to all interaction channels in one agent client, thereby increasing the chances of first call resolution.
The ability to interact over multiple channels seamlessly offers improved experience through single routing logic, personalized interactions, integrated contact history, and consolidated reporting. Learn more about the empowerment of omnichannel.
9. Talk to Customers More Often!
Customer surveys are an incredibly beneficial source of information. If you provide the right incentives, you will gain a lot of insight into the issues that clients face during a service call.
A client is the only one that can let you know whether an issue has been successfully resolved. If you get follow-up information from your customers, you may even be capable of identifying some discrepancies in the work of the call center agents.
Statistics suggest that the vast majority of unhappy customers will not complain. They will not ask to speak to a manager, and they will not tell the call center agent that an issue hasn’t been resolved. Working with clients can be incredibly problematic because an issue could remain hidden for an extended period of time.
Surveys will not only identify the percentage of dissatisfied clients, but they can be used to find what the most common causes of repeat calls are. When a set of common problems is identified, call center agents could be trained to employ a specific protocol for future callers that have a similar issue.
Once again, the right resources and access to relevant information can empower agents. The only way to get such information is to invest in customer data analysis, as well as follow-ups.
Everyone in the company is responsible for improving the quality of customer service. Managers need to be in regular contact with call center agents to identify issues and plan better strategies for the future. Open communication within the organization is one of the keys to improving first call response. Flexibility and quick adjustments on the go will also help for the prompt resolution of problems. When the right software is used, and internal communication becomes enhanced, the company will get to benefit from a higher percentage of satisfied clients and increased brand loyalty.Categories: Call Center