Customers who repeatedly call into your contact center can cost you — more than just big bucks.
Your contact center agents lose time and you’ll risk a decrease in customer satisfaction too. It’s crucial for companies and their contact center agents to implement first call resolution strategies.
Improve your first call resolution by learning what it is, why it matters, how to improve it, and some tips you can put to use immediately.
What Is First Call Resolution?
Simply put, first call resolution (FCR) is the ability to resolve a customer’s concerns and questions the first time they reach out without any follow-up required. Poor FCR is a common issue in contact centers, and if your company is struggling, you’re not alone.
While boosting FCR in contact centers may feel out of reach, it is a very meaningful metric and incorporates many elements of customer relationship management. FCR is one of the biggest influences on customer satisfaction, along with agent satisfaction.
When you improve first call resolution strategies, you not only trim operating costs from repeated calls, but you have a positive impact on your company’s ability to retain customers and gain their loyalty.
FCR strategies can increase selling opportunities, improve agent satisfaction and serve as an important factor in contact center profitability. There are many first call resolution benefits, which is why implementing a first call resolution strategy is key in improving business overall.
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How To Improve First Call Resolution
1. Ensure Info Is At Agents’ Fingertips
Thanks to too many cumbersome applications and tools, it can sometimes be hard for agents to find the information they need to resolve an issue quickly, leaving both agents and customers frustrated.
That’s why it’s vital to create a database containing details about products, solutions, and resolution steps to speed up agent handling time. Efficient access to the necessary information is one of the first call resolution best practices.
2. Empower Contact Center Agents
Agents who haven’t been given agency to address customers’ concerns on their own can quickly become frustrated, unmotivated, and lose morale.
Allow them the power to make their own decisions when supporting a customer. This ultimately means encouragement, acknowledgment, training, and coaching to ensure the success of your contact center agents. Offering first call resolution awards may be a great tactic to help motivate agents throughout their workday.
3. Help Agents Navigate Escalated Calls
This is normally a last resort for a caller to get their issue resolved, so educating agents on how they can effectively and efficiently handle escalated calls is a great opportunity. An agent who takes great care of a customer on an escalated call will show the customer that your business really does want to help.
Related Article: Handle Angry Customers Like A Pro With These 11 Tips
4. Provide Contact Center Agents With Ongoing Coaching And Training
Many times, customers are forced to repeatedly call back or even be transferred because agents lack the necessary knowledge to help with an issue. Customers can feel frustrated, and for good reason — calling a number repeatedly until you find someone who can fix your problem is no one’s idea of a day well spent.
So take the time to properly coach agents on first call resolution strategies. Even longtime agents can benefit from ongoing training and development. You can begin by monitoring calls to make sure agents are asking the right questions throughout the entirety of the conversation.
From there, you can build a plan to educate agents on first call resolution best practices. By monitoring your first call resolution analytics, you are bound to improve FCR in your business.
Related Article: Tips for Training Work-At-Home Agents
5. Ensure Your Contact Center Is Staffed With The Right Employees
While many skills can be taught, innate traits like patience, empathy, and kindness truly help satisfy customers. The perfect hires will have the ability to handle emotional customers, vast product knowledge, and a full understanding of best practices and protocols. They will also be willing and eager to continue learning about how to serve customers.
Smart hiring is a first call resolution best practice. By ensuring that the right people are hired as contact center agents, first resolution call training will also be less complicated. Don’t hesitate to measure agents’ productivity and ensure each employee is effective.
It is important that customers feel like the agent they’re speaking with is genuinely eager to help with their questions and concerns. Choosing the right people for the job is sure to help increase your first call resolution rate.
6. Incorporate IVRs In Your Contact Center
An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is an automated telephone message system that interacts with callers, routes callers to appropriate recipients, and gathers information about the caller. Having a logically structured IVR system enhances the success of first call resolution rates. Invest time confirming that your company’s IVR tree is well-designed and can route callers where they need to go quickly.
Customers who continually get dumped into the same category with agents who are unable (or ill-equipped) to handle their problems will get frustrated or hang up. Even worse, your company risks losing that customer forever.
But by guiding each customer through the IVR tree, a customer is more likely to be satisfied with the efficiency of the call. Ultimately, making the IVR process simple is one of the smartest first call resolution strategies.
Related Article: Is Your IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Doing More Harm Than Good?
7. Streamline the Call Transfer Process
Ensure agents can help callers by informing them of where they need to be transferred within the business. Even if they’re transferred to a different department, clients tend to feel like the contact center is capable of quickly resolving their issues when a smooth transfer takes place.
Contact center agents should have transfer details right at their fingertips so they can quickly get customers where they need to go. Additionally, making the right call transfer means it’s more likely the customer won’t need to call back, which will in turn increase customer satisfaction.
Once your company has mapped out its first call resolution strategy and goals and started to track FCR properly, you must stay consistent. While not every problem or concern can be automatically resolved on the first call, these first call resolution tips will ensure that you can achieve a higher one-call resolution rate.
Want to know more about which contact center metrics to measure? Take a look at our on-demand webinar, Your Contact Center Metrics are Outdated (Here’s What You Should Measure Instead).