Contact center agents handle a high volume of customer service interactions on any given day, making efficiency a challenge. Many contact centers place a great emphasis on first call or contact resolution, also known as FCR, demanding that agents do all they can to resolve cases quickly. The trouble is that all too often, the quality of the customer experience is jeopardized when service is rushed and not handled thoroughly. Various studies have shown that customers often feel frustrated with the quality of their interactions with customer service representatives, citing such concerns as agents lacking sufficient knowledge of the subject, being placed on hold for too long, and repeated requests for the same information. Here are seven tips for achieving first call resolution without compromising a quality customer experience.
Use a natural, empathetic tone in communication. Using a professional yet natural tone with an overall sense of empathy for the customer is important to achieving FCR. Agents should be sure to ask thorough questions about the customer’s issue in order to deliver optimal solutions, while always remembering to ask if the problem was resolved at the end of each service interaction.
Use call scripts and post-contact surveys. Structure and organization for agents is critical to helping them achieve FCR, and call scripts play a great role in delivering these points. Providing a script for agents to follow (preferably written with their own feedback considered) is important to ensuring consistency in customer service interactions and making sure that all relevant questions are asked. In addition, sending out customer feedback surveys post-contact is vital to knowing what agents could better focus on and be better trained for to improve service.
Don’t hesitate to switch channels when needed. Successful contact centers often engage an omnichannel strategy to give customers a choice of their preferred channel, yet some may say that remaining on a single channel from start to finish is best for a customer service interaction. It’s important to consider that staying on one channel for too long might compromise the chance of achieving FCR if a customer’s issue is taking awhile to resolve. If too many emails are being exchanged or live chat is preventing a quicker resolution to a complex issue, switching to another channel (like voice, for example) may be key to FCR.
Assign customers to the appropriate agents. Agents should be willing to refer a customer to a more qualified agent if he or she falls short of knowing the solution needed or simply is not responsible for handling the issue at hand. Using intelligent call routing, contact centers are able to route customers to the agent with the appropriate skills to handle the case in question. However, 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.
Identify, analyze, and share main 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. It’s likewise important to share this data, as well as customer feedback results, across departments so employees can learn their own weak points and improve individually. Such a strategy saves both employees and customers time, builds agent confidence, and increases the likelihood of achieving FCR while helping to enhance the customer experience. Agents and managers will be better prepared to resolve issues quickly through improved discussions, enhanced training, and appropriate revisions to call scripts.
Reducing average handling time is a goal, not a priority. Customer experience is tremendously important to fostering long-term loyalty, and achieving FCR is certainly an important piece of the whole puzzle. With that said, the common contact center goal of reducing average handling time, or AHT, may at times conflict with the desire to achieve FCR. Without doubt, sometimes AHT will surpass reasonable expectations, as an agent may need to spend more time with a customer on a complex issue. Contact center managers and agents should keep in mind that it’s vital to emphasize quality over quantity at these times, as one prolonged customer service interaction done right is better than repeat contacts from a disgruntled customer.
Contact center software solutions can drive FCR. A robust contact center software solution is further crucial to measuring and achieving first call resolution. With the Vocalcom customer service software solution, contact centers may experience more personal and proactive customer service with maximized agent efficiency. With such features as proactive notifications, mobile customer care, video support, virtual queuing, automatic callbacks, and real-time feedback management, Vocalcom’s suite of engagement features enables better understanding of customers with tools like the Net Promoter Score survey, which enables a 25% increase in NPS. Other features such as visual IVR and virtual hold with prioritized callbacks save valuable time, while advanced analytics and reporting empower contact centers to monitor and strategize with optimum ability. The solution further allows a 50% increase in agent productivity as well as a significant 70% increase in first call resolution.
Achieving first call resolution entails a number of factors, including clear and humanized communication, accurate and consistent service, and an overall commitment to delivering quality customer experiences. Learn about Vocalcom contact center solutions optimized for measuring and achieving FCR.
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