When is a business delivering the best customer service possible?
It’s when zero customers interact with customer service.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s true.
Do you call your credit card company every time your bill comes out right at the end of the month?
Do you call the pizza shop when the delivery takes place on time?
In a majority of cases, customers contact companies when they don’t get what they’ve been promised.
But, we live in an imperfect world. So, mistakes happen. It’s a fact of life.
Sometimes customers will have to call you to complain. In such cases, the key is to ensure that customers spend the minimum amount of time on the phone or exchanging emails.
One of the metrics that attempts to measure resolution time is the FCR, or First Contact Resolution.
As the name indicates, FCR measures the rate at which customer calls get resolved during first contact with a call center agent.
High FCR rates mean both the customer and the call center are saving time and money.
No two companies’ FCR goals will be the same.
For example, two call centers serving different industries will have different ideal FCR rates.
Luckily, the tactics to improve FCR do not differ and can be deployed in any call center.
Below are a few ways you can raise your call center’s FCR rates.
1. Train Your Agents Well
It is essential to thoroughly train your front line agents.
This may mean expanding your training budget. Yes, the overall cost of operations will rise temporarily, but it will be the best investment you’ve ever made.
According to Salesforce, 88% of high-performing service decision makers are making significant investments in agent training compared to only 57% of underperformers.
Most importantly, knowledgeable front line agents are your best guarantee for high FCR rates.
Here’s a great guide from Lessonly that will help you build your training program.
— Neal Topf (@NealTopf) May 23, 2019
2. Provide Your Staff With Cutting Edge Tools
Even well-trained agents can do little if they don’t have good customer service tools and resources at their disposal.
A 2016 Salesforce study found that service agents’ top frustration with their current tools is that the tools are not fast enough (45%) and that they are unable to access all of the information they need (38%).
For higher FCR rates:
- Invest in an efficient live chat software that has intelligent features like real-time visitor monitoring and pre-chat surveys.
- Implement CRM software which will allow your staff to better organize, track and access customer data.
- Ensure that your FAQs and knowledge base are regularly updated.
3. Make Customer-Oriented Metrics A Priority
Call centers use a number of metrics to determine quality and profitability.
However, metrics like “sales per agent” and “cost per call” are not customer-oriented.
Hence, many companies are failing to fully harness the power of the data they collect. According to online marketing magazine, CMO.com:
“Using data to inform decisions is at the center of customer centricity. However, executives view the flood of incoming data as part obstacle and part opportunity, with 61% of CMOs admitting they have a long way to go still in using big data properly.”
Business-focused metrics should be secondary.
4. Focus On Frequently Escalated Call Types
Analyze your call center communications. Then, determine the types of calls that are frequently escalated to the next level.
Out of all the unhappy customers, only about 4% actually voice their concerns and issues with a company – 96% don’t say anything, and 91% just bring their business elsewhere.
So, pay special attention to the most common complaints. These customers are giving you a gift.
They’re telling you exactly what you need to change.
Devote time to gaining a better understanding of their issues.
Finally, develop a gameplan to minimize escalations.
You may find that the answer is anything from more training to adding more self-service options on the website.
Do whatever needs to be done to eliminate catalysts for frequent calls.
Related Post: 5 Tools for Motivating Your Help Desk Employees
5. Be Clear In Your Communications With Customers
Customers will call again when the information they have received is incorrect or incomplete.
Statistics show that the most successful businesses deliver clear communication.
Econsultancy’s 2018 Digital Intelligence Briefing found that top-performing companies are 50% more likely than their peers to have well-designed user journeys that facilitate clear communication and a seamless transaction.
Thus, agents have to be very careful to provide accurate, thorough resolutions.
6. Incentivize FCR Superstars
If managers want to improve their FCR rate, they need to institute incentive programs among their top producing employees
In fact, companies that use incentive programs report a 79% success rate in achieving their established goals when the correct reward is offered.
As far as incentive options, the sky is the limit. Use your creativity.
Incentives can be anything your employees will value (i.e. bonuses, promotions, recognition, free lunch, a VIP parking spot, etc).
7. Get Valuable Agent Feedback
Your agents spend the most time with your customers.
That makes them the best resource to provide insights on what changes can be made to improve your FCR rate.
So, institute a system for soliciting feedback from your agents.
Don’t know where to start? Ask them about workflow, systems, and processes that may need to be tweaked.
Here’s a great article from management experts at Podium that will show you how to boost employee engagement with internal communication.
— Jodoc Professional Associates (@jodoc_ng) May 28, 2019
Are you focusing on improving FCR in your customer service department? What steps have led to an increase in the rate?
Originally published Jan 20, 2012