Of all the metrics measured in contact centers to improve customer service, first call resolution, or FCR, remains a frontrunner. Also known in today’s omnichannel world as “first contact resolution,” the principle of resolving a customer’s issue quickly and thoroughly essentially defines great customer experience while further cutting costs and increasing efficiency for contact centers. However, when time is so greatly valued, it can be a struggle to achieve FCR without compromising the quality of a customer service interaction, and the reality is that many factors, from the size and management style of a contact center to the technology used, affect FCR and may prevent it from happening at all. Here are seven ways to optimize first call resolution KPIs while delivering great customer service every time.
Put a clear process in place. When a customer makes contact, the customer service team should know exactly which responsibilities they bear in the flow of the interaction. Assigning agents to specialized roles and making customer information available to agents at various stages of the process are critical to reducing the number of re-routes necessary and increasing FCR. Structure in the contact center will increase everyone’s efficiency, empower agents to shine at their specific roles, and ultimately please customers.
Give agents scripts and customers surveys. One important detail of call center structure is using scripts and surveys to enhance customer service language and gain qualitative feedback from customers post-contact. Giving agents call scripts to follow is a good way to maintain consistency and thoroughness in customer service. Providing customer service surveys post-contact is further critical to understanding customer needs and learning what agents should focus on to improve their service and ensure first call resolution.
Train agents in their communication skills. An agent’s tone and ability to empathize with the customer are critical to achieving first call resolution. Training agents in their soft skills is therefore important for ensuring quality customer service. Agents should also ask thorough questions about the customer’s issue in order to deliver accurate solutions, while always remembering to ask if the problem was resolved at the end of each exchange.
Switch channels when necessary. Embracing the omnichannel approach by switching channels for better service is crucial to FCR. If a customer service interaction is taking too long on a certain channel, staying on it might prevent first call resolution. For example, if too many emails are being exchanged or chat is preventing a timely resolution to a complex problem, agents should switch to another channel such as voice to better resolve the problem.
Identify and address frequent customer concerns. Contact center managers should always identify the most frequent reasons customers are calling for service by using tools such as speech analytics and other tools for tracking and analyzing inquiries. This data, as well as customer feedback results, should then be shared across departments so employees can learn their own weak points and improve individual performance. Such a strategy saves both employees and customers time, builds agent confidence, and improves FCR through greater customer experiences. Agents and managers will be better prepared to resolve issues quickly through enhanced training and revisions to call scripts.
Route customers to the appropriate agents. Using intelligent call routing and IVR menu options, contact centers should route customers to the agent with the appropriate skills to handle the case in question. If agents do fall short of the necessary skills, additional training and monitoring should take place regularly to identify any weak spots that may be improved.
Balance FCR with AHT. These two KPIs may often be at odds with each other, but don’t think that one needs to cancel the other out. Quality customer experience should always be a goal, so average handling time should not always be a top priority. An agent may need to spend more time with a customer on a complex issue and increase AHT at times, but remember that in the long run, one long customer service interaction that achieves FCR equates to less average handling time than multiple contacts from a frustrated customer.
First call resolution can be achieved by viewing the operations of a contact center as a whole and strategically improving the resources used to deliver great customer service. With thorough agent training, regular analysis of customer feedback, and consistent procedures, contact centers may optimize their first call resolution KPIs for greater customer satisfaction. Learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for maximum agent efficiency and significantly increased first call resolution.
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