What is first contact resolution (FCR)? Wondering how to measure first contact resolution and what it means for your contact center? First contact resolution is a crucial KPI for establishing customer service satisfaction in your contact center.
Alongside Net Promoter Score, first contact resolution metrics tell a story about how effective your customer service agents are in resolving clients’ issues the first time around without customers having to reach out again regarding the same issue.
How To Measure First Contact Resolution
The key to measuring first contact resolution metrics is to answer specific questions to define and calculate the FCR rate.
In most cases, a post-call phone or email survey method is used as a first contact resolution measurement. It is also common for agents to ask a customer if they resolved their call. The phone and email survey methods use a standardized measurement methodology so you can compare the first contact resolution metrics against other contact centers.
To calculate your FCR rate, you need to know:
- The total number of interactions with customers
- The number of issues resolved in one interaction
Then, simply divide the number of contacts resolved the first time by the total contacts and multiply by 100.
For example, if you make 100 customer contacts in a day and 70 of them are resolved in one touch and 30 are follow-up interactions from previous issues, your FCR would be 70%.
A “good” FCR rate will vary widely depending on many factors, the Association for Support Professionals reports. Factors like product type, complexity, price, and defect rate all will have an impact on your FCR and might make it harder (or easier) for your agents to resolve issues the first time.
6 Mistakes Hurting Your First Contact Resolution Metrics
Here are six key mistakes that hurt your first contact resolution, and our expert strategies to solve them.
1. Extended Hold Times
Customers appreciate fast service and getting through to an agent without waiting on hold. We all just want to be heard, of course. And we’ve all felt the frustration of being forced to wait.
If customer service agents are not sure of an answer and need to do research, they have to keep customers waiting.
Keeping a customer on hold for too long can, unfortunately, lead to a call being disconnected or a customer getting impatient and hanging up. What’s next? The customer is forced to call back, which impacts your first contact resolution metrics.
Solution: To decrease customer waiting time and improve your first contact resolution metrics, answers should be readily available and accessible for customer service agents. Something as simple as an employee forum can organize responses to FAQs, minimize hold times, and positively impact the customer experience.
An employee forum can be broken down into two parts. The first part can be an FAQ section created by your company, providing answers to common customer service questions. The second part can allow agents to ask questions while supervisors or managers provide answers that are visible for the entire team to see and refer to as needed. This empowers agents to deliver what customers need and saves leadership’s time because they aren’t answering the same question time and time again.
Another helpful tool to consider: Give your customer service staff access to first contact resolution coaching and training sessions in a digestible format like video. It’s normal to forget, and giving customer service agents access to past lessons allows them to brush up when they feel a subject needs to be refreshed.
2. Transferring Customers
Customers tend to get annoyed if they get transferred from agent to agent. Who hasn’t felt that frustration? Your organization’s first contact resolution metrics could be negatively impacted as a result.
Customers could be getting transferred around because there are too many extensions to choose from. With too many options, it’s easy for customers to become confused and press any random number just to speak with an agent, only to land with the wrong department and decrease opportunities for first contact resolution.
And the worst-case scenario: If contact center team members haven’t been trained properly, they won’t know how to resolve customer requests and the customer 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, forcing customers to call back and lowering first contact resolution rates in your contact center.
Solution: One first contact resolution action strategy is to review your IVR. Start by testing the process to see how easy it is to land in the correct department. The first contact 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 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 contact resolution training can be hectic for a new staff member. There are a lot of names to remember and new things to learn. In the midst of it all, it can be easy to forget what to do. So in the beginning, it’s normal for an agent to feel stuck while on the phone (or responding via live chat, social media, or other pathways).
Feeling stuck is a typical part of onboarding and those first few days and weeks, but the customer won’t know they’ve connected with a new team member. So there’s a risk of not only low first contact resolution but also a negative customer experience.
Solution: In this case, there are several good solutions to include in a first contact resolution action plan. The simplest first step is to escalate the contact. Shifting the conversation to an agent with more experience can be helpful for the customer, but it’s not a good long-term response.
An ideal solution should include empowering every level of your contact center staff. Provide 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.
4. Poor Or Nonexistent CRM System
Spreadsheets are a thing of the past. Storing crucial 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. Especially when an agent is navigating a customer service issue, searching a spreadsheet for crucial details is far from ideal.
Without a proper CRM system, your organization doesn’t have a full record of your customers’ demographics, insights into the touchpoints they’ve had with your company, customer history, or a quick understanding of the issues they are facing.
First contact resolution customer service is extremely difficult to achieve without a CRM. An agent has to assist a customer from scratch every time they reach out, which becomes a waste of time on both ends and is so frustrating for a customer to have to repeat themselves constantly. An omnichannel response is virtually impossible without a CRM.
Solution: Proving first contact 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 your company 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 positive first contact resolution metrics keep customers satisfied with your company and service, you must 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.
Staff inefficiencies leave room for error in your contact center. 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. These are only a few mistakes that can cause first contact resolution metrics to suffer.
Solution: Another first contact 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 you 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.
6. Outdated First Contact Resolution Training
Even if you think your customer service agents are doing fairly well, there’s always room for improvement. Continuously working toward better first contact resolution metrics should be a primary goal for your customer service team.
Agents who have been with your organization for a year or more can benefit from new training to refresh old skills and increase their expertise with new best practices, but not if the training 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.
Solution: Improving first contact 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 and coaching, based on first contact resolution metrics, should be done regularly for vital information to sink in, for new information to surface, and for any questions or issues to be addressed.
Great training doesn’t have to stop at remedying first contact resolution metrics. Training for contact center agents can help to improve quality, behavior, compliance, soft skills, the customer experience, and more.
Measuring first contact resolution metrics and monitoring what could be hurting your first contact resolution is the first step in ensuring your customers are happy and satisfied with the quality of service your agents offer. These six solution strategies lay the foundation to transform your contact center for the better.
Interested in learning more or exploring how Playvox could help you improve your contact center? Request a demo with Playvox today.