In the contact center, time is of the essence. Agents aim to handle as many customer cases as they can with an eye to reducing average handling time, while customers are looking for quick solutions. While first contact resolution, or FCR, is a top priority for customer service agents, too often the quality of the customer experience may be jeopardized by placing too much focus on resolving a customer case quickly.
Many studies report that customers are not always satisfied with the quality of the experience with a contact center agent. For example, a recent report by Netcall demonstrated that 95% of UK consumers think contact centers do not provide an ideal customer experience when it comes to FCR. Concerns cited in various studies have ranged from agents lacking knowledge in the subject to spending too much time on hold to the need for repeating information. So how can contact centers deliver a truly quality contact experience while aiming for first contact resolution? Here are seven quick tips.
Communicate like a human being. An agent’s tone and ability to empathize with the customer are critical to FCR. Training agents in their soft skills is a must for ensuring quality interactions. Agents should also ask thorough questions about the customer’s issue in order to deliver precise solutions, while always remembering to ask if the problem was resolved at the end of the exchange.
Use call scripts and surveys. Setting a structure in place is important to FCR. Providing a script for agents to follow is a good way to ensure consistency in customer interactions and to make sure that no important questions are missed. In addition, taking customer service surveys post-contact is critical to knowing what agents should focus on to improve their service.
Identify the main issues. Identify the most frequent reasons customers are calling for support by using tools such as speech analytics and other tools that can track and analyze inquiries.
Share the main issues with contact center staff. It’s important to share data derived from analytics as well as customer feedback surveys with agents and managers so they can learn their own weak points and improve individually. Eventually, this saves everyone’s time, builds agent confidence, and increases the likelihood of FCR while helping to establish a brand reputation for quality customer service. Agents and managers will be better prepared to address customer concerns and resolve issues quickly through proper training and revisions to call scripts.
Switch channels to go more in-depth. An effective contact center should employ an omnichannel strategy to give customers a choice of their preferred channel, yet some may argue that sticking to one channel from start to finish is best for a customer service interaction. However, staying on one channel for too long might hurt the chances of FCR if a customer’s issue is not being easily resolved. If too many emails are being exchanged or chat is not allowing a quick resolution to a complex problem, switch to another channel (such as voice) to allow better understanding of the issue.
Match customers with the most qualified agent. Using intelligent call routing, contact centers should route customers to the agent with the appropriate skills to handle the case in question. This also means that agents need to be trained and monitored regularly to identify any weak spots where they can benefit from more training.
Don’t make AHT a priority. The quality of the customer experience matters, so AHT should not be a main priority. An agent may need to spend more time with a customer on a complex issue and increase AHT at times. Overall, it’s better to focus on quality over quantity, as one long customer service interaction done right is better than repeat contacts from a frustrated customer.
First contact resolution involves strong communication, consistency, and making customer experience a priority with an emphasis on quality over quantity. Learn about Vocalcom contact center solutions optimized for FCR.
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