For call center agents, there is a reason why they are provided with the best call center software for small business and extensive training on how to best use it to optimum effect. Their aim is to provide a solution to the customers as quickly as possible.
For them, efficiency is a must. The best scenario would be one in which the agent provides the resolution right on the first time that the customer contacts the call center.
Of course, this is easier said than done. After all, there are various factors which can affect the speed with a resolution is provided to the customer.
In many cases, the customer ends up contacting the call center at least twice before the issue is resolved. In some cases, multiple calls might be necessary before the best solution is arrived at.
Now, multiple calls are not only bad for the customer experience but at the same time, it does not speak highly of the services being provided by the call center. As such, call centers should try and achieve that best scenario of first call resolution.
In fact, first call resolution (FCR) is more than just a scenario. It is an invaluable metric for your operations. It is a measure for the effectiveness and efficiency of your efforts in providing customer support.
In fact, it is considered to be one of the most important key performance indicators.
First call resolution can give you an overall picture of the performance level of your agents and customer service processes. You should seriously be considering focusing your efforts into improving this particular metric.
By focusing your efforts here, you can derive quite a few benefits.
One of the main benefits is that you can bring about a significant reduction in your operational costs. After all, it directly impacts the number of repeat calls that you have to entertain. Of course, the customer satisfaction will be increased as well.
After all, your customers get the resolution on their first call.
The higher customer satisfaction can lead to a gain in customer loyalty. Moreover, it can also make the customer more open to cross sell and upsell initiatives.
This will bode well for the success of your organization. Additionally, you can even improve agent satisfaction this way especially if call duration is a factor in the evaluation of their performance.
As such, focusing on the improvement of first call resolution can be highly beneficial for your business. On the other hand, you need to know how in order to get the best results.
We have made it easier for you by undertaking the research on your behalf. We have found that the following tips can be rather beneficial in boosting first call resolution rates.
1. One of the easiest methods for the improvement of FCR rates is also the most direct. You should ask the customer directly if the issue they were having has been resolved.
Find out if they have accepted the resolution that you have provided them and whether it has been a satisfactory experience.
You can also ask them if they were happy with the service provided by the agent at the same time. If they are unhappy, you have the opportunity to continue the conversation further and work with the customer to find the resolution required.
2. You can take the above step further and create a post call survey to find out the customer satisfaction. Have a short and simple questionnaire ready to ask the customer once the call is nearing its end.
Many customers will only be too willing to give their feedback on the experience they had. This will help you get invaluable information as to what changes you need to make.
3. You will certainly require the best call center software in order to improve FCR. One of the features that you must ensure is present in the solution is a comprehensive caller history.
The history should be provided in a single interface. Your agents should get the history even before they have answered the call.
As a result of the details available in this caller history, you agents can start meeting the needs of the customer more skillfully. It is a good idea to conduct a call center solutions comparison between all the available options to ensure that you have all the features required.
4. There is another feature which can prove to be rather useful to the agents during the call and that is automated tasks. It is quite possible for agents to make the necessary updates after each call such as CRMs.
The lack of updated information is actually one of the major causes of reduced first call resolution. As such, invest in call center management software which can update all the necessary systems and databases automatically.
It should also take care of all relevant tasks without automatically. This can be rather helpful in the improvement of the FCR as well as the capabilities of the agents.
5. You should also ensure that your agents have the authority they require to handle all kinds of issues. In many cases, the agents have no choice but to transfer the call to a senior because they lack the authority to provide the necessary resolution on their own.
By preventing the need for passing on these tasks, your agents become empowered to continue the call till the issue has been resolved satisfactorily.
6. You can take this one step further by implementing total contact ownership. Doing so can bring about a dramatic increase in first call resolution. In this process, the agent who received the initial call will keep following the call till the very end.
By implementing it, you can prevent your agents from transferring the calls to other agents or seniors. After all, they have to still remain on the call. As such, it becomes their responsibility to bring together the agents and other employees required to solve the issue presented by the caller.
In fact, they will need to do what is necessary to get the issue resolved satisfactorily and thereby improving the first call resolution.
7. Your agents should be capable of dealing with a range of issues. In order to do so, they need to be cross trained effectively. Training will ensure that they have the knowledge and the skills necessary to handle any issue that comes their way.
As a result, they will not have to transfer the call to someone else because they did not know the resolution. Cross-training also enables the agent to help out more customers. This can have a major impact on the first call resolution.
8. During the call, the customers will not be able to see what the agent is doing. As such, your agents should keep talking to the customer and provide the information on the tasks being undertaken.
Do not let the customer wait in silence. This is uncomfortable for them and they will certainly wonder if the agent has forgotten about them. This is especially important if the issue is taking quite a bit of time in being solved.
As such, keep the customer informed about every step of the way. This will be appreciated by them and they will be more willing to remain patient as the work is being done.
9. Make sure that you monitor the scenarios in which the agent is being forced to say no. Review these scenarios and find out why a negative answer was provided to the customer instead of a resolution.
This will help you understand whether the agents lacked the knowledge or the authority to solve the issue or there was something else. A good call center software solution can help you in monitoring the calls for such instances.
Be sure to make a detailed analysis on the call center software pricing since this forma a part of your operating cost and in turn, affects the price of your services that you quote to your clients.
10. A major hurdle to customer satisfaction and first call resolution is customer effort. There can be quite a few instances in which the agent needs the customer to keep providing information in order for the resolution to be provided.
As such, the customer is being required to take more effort into solving the issue which is something they will not appreciate. Therefore, you need to decrease customer effort if you want to see an increase in first call resolution.
11. First call resolution can be gravely impacted by the presence of unresolved issues. Now, unless you know the reason why those issues have remain unresolved, you cannot ensure resolution for all calls.
After all, other customers may have the same issue and those calls will add to the number of unresolved cases. As such, track them and find out the right resolution. Train your agents so that those issues will be resolved as and when they arise. Use call center software solutions to help you out.
12. Complacency is one of the biggest issues when it comes to the productivity of a company. When employees get complacent, they will be putting in less effort into their work.
Apart from decreasing the productivity, this will also affect the first call resolution. While managing complacency can be difficult, you need to work it out.
13. Agents who have a detailed knowledge about the services and the products are certain to be capable of providing resolutions faster.
As such, you should train your agents so that they have an in-depth knowledge about the products. At the same time, empower them so that they can make their own decisions without the need for any scripted responses.
14. Bolstering your content is a good idea when it comes to improving first call resolution. Develop content which can take care of the most common issues that the customers face.
Your agents can direct the customers to the content online. As a result, your customers will be less likely to call you up again for the same issues.
15. Motivation is capable of helping agents achieve major organization objectives. As such, you should take the right steps in motivating them so that their performance increases.
A good way would be to let them understand the goals associated with first call resolution. This gives them the chance to monitor and improve their own performance.
Do not forget to provide them with any feedback you deem necessary. Rewards will also be beneficial.
16. Scripted responses are usually the norm in providing resolutions. While it has its benefits, you should avoid using them.
Instead, train your agents so that they are capable of providing quality responses in order to resolve the given issue.
Your customers will be made to feel unique. More importantly, they will realize that they have dealt with people who had the satisfactory level of knowledge.
17. Put your focus on the thing that really matters which is getting rid of the average handle time. By removing this, you allow the agent to take their time in building up a rapport with the customers.
They can take the necessary steps to bring about improvements in the customer journey. This can even help in decreasing the number of repeat calls. After all, the customer will be given a complete service instead of an interim service.
18. In order to improve first call resolution, you have to first find out the issues that are preventing it. To do so, you need to take measurements of the customer satisfaction score.
While you may already be doing this, the trick is to measure on a more frequent basis. Otherwise, it can become too late to manage the problems resulting in a low FCR. That means you will not have been able to help hundreds or thousands of customers.
19. Your agents are invaluable sources of information when it comes to your customers. After all, it is their job to deal with customers.
As such, they can provide useful insights as to the changes that can be made for the improvement of first call resolution. Go ahead and ask them what modifications they believe can be made to the processes and systems for higher rates.
20. Monitoring the calls is vital for success. While doing so, focus on the call types which tend to escalate frequently. Find out the issued which are causing such call types to escalate to the next level.
This can help you take the steps required to prevent the escalations. Cloud call center software solutions can be helpful in this matter.
The Case Study
As you should have understood by now, first call resolution is something that should not be ignored. The above points should have provided you with ideas as to how you can improve the first call resolution in your call center.
However, you might be still a bit hazy as to their effects. To ensure that you have a clear picture, we bring you the following case study.
The case study given below is about a Service Desk situation that has turned difficult. In order to improve the services, focus was placed on increasing the first call resolution rates.
Among the steps taken were the implementation of strong methodology and proven techniques. This resulted in the improvement of organizational effectiveness which caused a dramatic increase the first call resolution.
At the same time, it brought about an improvement in the quality of delivered services. The customer satisfaction was at an all-time high at the conclusion of the study.
The Issue and Solution
When the case study started, a new team took charge of the Service Desk. There was no staff from the previous team to provide the training or transfer the knowledge. As such, there very little documentation and no knowledge base at all. At the same time, call volume was incredibly high.
During this point of time the first call resolution could reach a low of 35%. The average waiting time was more than 8 minutes as well. The team gave themselves a period of 4 weeks for learning about all the aspects of the Service Desk.
During the next 10 weeks, they implemented the processes required to improve first call resolution. This followed by a period where they kept fine-tuning the processes undertaken.
By the end of 21 weeks, the team had managed to increase the first call resolution to over 70%.
Due to the benefits provided by a high first call resolution, it becomes important for you to start setting things in motion as soon as possible.
It might take some time before your efforts bear fruit. However, once they do, you will be left wondering why you never thought of focusing on your first call resolution before.
The tips given above should prove to be helpful in achieving this aim.