When customers contact your brand for service, they want to resolve their issues quickly. If getting an answer takes too much time or effort, they may simply leave your brand. A HubSpot report found that 33% of customers consider the need to repeat information to multiple agents the most frustrating aspect of customer service. For this reason, brands must focus on resolving issues during the first customer interaction.
FCR, or first contact resolution, is critical to winning customer loyalty. This KPI is used to measure the percentage of customer inquiries on different channels that are resolved in a single interaction. When customers must contact a company multiple times for service, agents spend more time resolving issues, driving operational costs – including on expensive channels such as voice. However, a 2020 SQM Group study found that, for every 1% increase in FCR, companies enjoy a 1% increase in customer satisfaction and 1% decrease in CX operating costs. Improving FCR is therefore essential to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty, reducing operational costs, and improving other KPIs such as customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.
To increase FCR rates, brands must consider the following:
First of all, agents must understand customer needs. According to Zendesk, 58% of customers want their customer service agents to be more empathic. They should ask specific questions and listen attentively to learn how they might resolve problems quickly and efficiently. While call scripts can guide agents and help them save time, a conversational approach that includes spontaneous dialogue can set customers at ease and make them feel an agent’s empathy. At the end of each interaction, agents should verify that customers are satisfied with the proposed resolutions and ensure that there are no other issues to address to prevent further inquiries.
Brands must also understand possible pain points along the customer journey. By creating customer journey maps, brands may identify points where interactions could be more seamless. It is also essential to identify repeat customer contacts and learn why these customers are calling.
Brands may look at transcripts of customer interactions and listen to call recordings to identify reasons for contact and solve potential issues proactively. Customers may also respond to feedback surveys to better express their frustrations.
An easy way to resolve customer issues quickly is by offering self-service options. In the 2021 Zendesk CX Trends Report, nearly a third of customers (32 percent) said resolving issues quickly was the most important aspect of a good customer experience. Chatbots may be used to answer simple questions, while a well-set IVR menu can also empower customers to find answers to simple requests such as checking an account balance or delivery status.
To help agents deliver efficient and personalized customer experiences, give them access to customer data by integrating contact center software with your CRM application or ERP.
Agents can view complete customer history and will be better prepared to offer solutions upon first contact. In addition, train agents regularly and encourage them to utilize their strongest personal skills when interacting with customers. Make sure they have opportunities to offer their own feedback, as this will assist in revising scripts and streamlining practices.
Lastly, it is essential to optimize your omnichannel strategy in order to reduce friction for customers. All customer interactions, regardless of the channels used, should be managed as a single conversation. Identify customers’ preferred channels and make sure that agents are delivering the most seamless experiences at all times on channels for which they are specifically trained. For complex situations, FCR should be considered a more important metric than AHT, or average handling time. While many companies prefer to reduce the average time spent handling customer interactions to cut costs and satisfy customers, resolving a complex matter in full the first time ultimately reduces handling time in the long run.
By taking a proactive approach and maintaining the customer’s point of view when making decisions, your company can increase FCR rates and customer loyalty.
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