What is first call resolution? And what does it mean for your contact center? First call resolution is a crucial KPI as your organization measures customer service satisfaction. Alongside net promoter score, first call resolution (FCR) helps measure how effective customer service agents are in resolving clients’ issues the first time around, without customers having to reach out again regarding the same issue.
In short, first call resolution metrics are important to continuously work towards improving. Here are six key mistakes that hurt your first call resolution, and our expert strategies to solve them.
1. Keeping customers on hold too long
Customers appreciate fast service and getting through to an agent without waiting on hold. We’ve all felt the frustration of being forced to wait!
Sometimes, if customer service agents are not sure of an answer and need to do research, they have to keep customers waiting. Or perhaps the answers are not readily available and the agent must reach out to a supervisor who has their hands full, answering to a whole team of customer service agents with questions.
Keeping a customer on hold for too long can lead to a call being disconnected or a customer getting impatient and hanging up, forcing them to call back and directly impacting your first call resolution metrics.
In order to decrease customer waiting time and improve first call resolution, answers should be readily available to customer service agents. Something as simple as an employee forum can organize responses to FAQs, minimizing on hold time and positively impacting the customer experience.
An employee forum could be broken down into two parts. One could be an FAQ section created by the company, providing answers to common customer service questions. The second part could allow agents to ask questions while supervisors or managers provide answers that are visible for the entire team to see and refer to. This empowers agents to deliver what customers need, and saves leadership’s time when they aren’t answering the same question time and time again. That’s a win-win if you ask us!
Another helpful tool to consider: Give your customer service staff access to first call resolution coaching and training sessions in an easy to read and digestible format. It’s normal to forget, and giving customer service agents access to past learnings allows them to brush up when they feel a subject needs to be refreshed.
2. Transferring customers
Clients typically get annoyed if they get transferred from agent to agent. Who hasn’t felt that frustration? Your organization’s first call resolution could be negatively impacted as a result.
Customers could be getting transferred around because there are too many customer service numbers and they did not know which one to call, or which extension to choose. Having an IVR system in place may mean there are too many options, or options that are too confusing. This may lead to customers pressing random numbers in order to speak with an agent, only to land on the wrong department and decrease opportunities for first visit resolution. Or worst-case scenario, if team members haven’t been trained properly, they won’t know how to deal with customer requests and the client will continue to bounce around from department to department. It’s agonizing for both customers and agents!
Transferring a customer from one department to the next leaves space to be disconnected, hence having to call back and diminishing the chances for first time call resolution in your contact center.
Another first call resolution action plan is to review your IVR. Start by testing the process, and see how easy it is to land in the correct department. The first call resolution system may need to be reviewed, simplified, or expanded upon.
If a customer gets transferred around from one agent to the next within the same department, the cause may be a lack of first call resolution training.
Be sure to not only provide proper onboarding training, but also engage agents in ongoing learning sessions. Playvox features training for managers to create learning material, test the user’s knowledge, and provide feedback on an ongoing basis.
3. Agents feeling stuck
Onboarding and first resolution training can be hectic for a new staff member. There are a lot of new names to remember, new things to learn, and in the midst of it all, it can be easy to forget what to do. So at the beginning, it’s normal for an agent to feel stuck on the phone.
While feeling stuck is a typical part of onboarding and those first few days and weeks, the customer doesn’t know they’ve connected with a new team member. So there’s a risk of not only low first call resolution, but also a negative customer experience.
In this case, there are several good solutions to include in a first call resolution action plan. The simplest first step is to escalate the call. Shifting to an agent with more experience can be helpful for the customer, but it’s not a good long-term answer.
An ideal solution should include empowering every level of your call center staff. Provide with them the tools they need to figure things out on their own and think outside the box. Give them the power to make decisions and answer customer questions at all levels.
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4. Poor or Nonexistent CRM system
Spreadsheets are a thing of the past. Keeping customer information on shared spreadsheets can lead to incomplete, incorrect, and missing information. Even the best spreadsheets are cumbersome to use and make sharing details a challenge. Without a proper CRM system, your organization doesn’t have a full record of your customers’ demographics, insights into the touch points they’ve with your company, customer history, or a quick understanding of the issues they are facing.
First time resolution customer service is extremely difficult to achieve without a CRM. An agent has to assist a customer from scratch every time they call which becomes a waste of time on both ends, and is so frustrating for a customer to have to repeat themselves constantly.
Proving first call resolution analytics takes time. It’s an investment: Do the research and select a CRM system that works for your organization. Not only will a CRM ultimately save time and provide you with valuable information, but your agents will be able to anticipate your customers’ demands with the wealth of information that you have. This is an important part of laying the foundation for a great experience.
5. Not Optimizing Staff
Knowing that one call resolution is one of the metrics that keeps customers satisfied with your company and service, it’s important you have the best customer service agents on the front lines. When your staff isn’t optimized, your contact center isn’t prepared to deliver excellence. It’s that simple.
When your staff is not optimized, you may have too many agents working during quiet times and too few during busy times. You may have a mismatch of the talent you need for the calls you receive. Performance may not be fine-tuned. That’s only the tip of the iceberg, because when agents aren’t optimized, first call resolution can suffer.
Another first visit resolution tip is to have a dashboard that allows you to see how your customer service agents are performing, with metrics both over time and in the moment. This helps contact center managers and leadership identify each agent’s individual performance.
Playvox’s system does just that, allowing you to set metrics, view staff performance, and train or reward accordingly. With a dashboard, success isn’t left to chance. You can monitor, adjust and improve with the right data points on hand. Built from the ground up for omnichannel contact centers, Playvox helps contact centers improve service levels and reduce staffing costs while simplifying forecasting, scheduling, and reporting.
6. Outdated first call resolution training
Even if you think your customer service agents are doing fairly well, there is always room for improvement. Continuously working towards a better first call resolution metric should be a main goal for your customer service team.
Agents who have been with your organization for a long time can benefit from new training to refresh old skills and uplevel their expertise with new best practices, but not if the content is outdated. And if you want your newest contact center agents to thrive from day one, you can’t expect success with old or irrelevant training material.
Improving first call resolution can happen with excellent ongoing coaching and training. Unlike onboarding, training is not a one-off that happens just at the beginning of an agent’s time with your organization. Training should be done on a regular basis in order for vital information to sink in, for new information to surface, and for any questions or issues to be addressed.
And great training doesn’t have to stop at remedying first call resolution rates! Training for contact center agents can help to improve quality, behavior, compliance, soft skills, the customer experience, and more!
These mistakes may be hurting your first call resolution metrics, but the solution strategies lay the foundation to transform your contact center for the better.