Timely customer service should always be a top priority for companies. However, acting swiftly without compromising quality, personalized customer service can indeed be a challenge. First contact resolution, or FCR, is an important metric for many contact centers as it indicates just how successfully customer cases are being resolved in a single interaction. Here are six tips for achieving FCR and delighting your customers in the process.
To empower your agents to do their best at achieving FCR, set clear goals and guidelines and welcome their input. Take the time to explore the most common reasons for repeat customer contacts, and work as a team to find the best resolutions and set a procedure in place to handle them. Create customer service scripts as a team and be sure to adapt the procedure and scripts to the channel being used. For example, a script for the voice channel may differ from a social media exchange, as voice tends to be more personal with an emphasis on tone of voice, while social media communication may involve short exchanges of text. When all agents are focused on a clear and common goal, the chance of achieving FCR with full confidence increases.
While scripts provide agents with a sense of direction, agents should never forget to listen closely to the customer. A key component of achieving FCR is understanding exactly what the customer needs, which can only happen when he is heard. Make sure agents give customers the time to explain their issue without rushing them. Taking a little time to clearly understand an issue can eventually help an agent reach FCR more quickly.
Regular monitoring on all channels, from call monitoring to analyzing SMS and social media exchanges, is truly essential to achieving first contact resolution. These channels provide valuable information about your customers’ needs. In addition, make sure to monitor agent performance as well. Ask agents to rate their own performance, and offer mentoring, training, and a peer support system to help agents reach their personal goals for improving performance.
When sending post-contact surveys to customers, do not hesitate to ask how your brand can deliver better service by offering a free-response section. The comments customers offer can provide tremendous insight into improving practices that may, in turn, improve FCR. When asking questions, make sure to make them specific to the service process so as to obtain the most detailed and accurate information.
Sometimes it can be difficult or even inappropriate to continue a service interaction on a single channel (think of long and stressful exchanges on social media). In these situations, moving to another channel with the customer’s approval can be essential to making him happy and achieving FCR. Whenever tensions begin to rise or an exchange becomes too complex to handle on a given channel, agents should calmly request to switch to a more appropriate channel for the simple reason that they would like to help serve the customer better.
FCR has not been achieved if the customer still thinks the problem persists and will need to make further contact for support. An agent may think he has answered all the customer’s questions, whereas the case is not completely resolved from the customer’s point of view. Agents should be careful not to label a case as closed if the customer shows any doubt about the resolution. Always ask customers if their current question has been answered and if they are satisfied before closing. First contact resolution can be achieved with a balance of attentive listening, a team effort to follow consistent quality practices, and a willingness to persevere until the best solution is found.
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