Improving first contact resolution (FCR) in the contact centre

10th Mar 2015

First contact resolution in terms of its measurement and continuous improvement can be a challenge.

In simple terms first contact resolution means that the customer's enquiry or issue has been dealt with and resolved in one single contact. It's a critical key performance indicator (KPI) both when it comes to measuring the quality of the customer experience and also in terms of measuring contact centre efficiency.

Clearly if customers have to repeatedly contact a company in order to resolve their query or problem, they are very likely to become frustrated and unhappy with the service. If your agents are able to get to the root cause quickly and successfully resolve the issue in a single point of contact then this is obviously better for the customer and also your operational efficiency as there's no follow ups or escalations.

However, it can be tricky to accurately measure FCR. First call resolution would apply to the voice channel alone but first contact resolution will apply equally across multiple touch points, including email, web chat and social channels in addition to phone queries. A customer who called first time round may not want to call again if they weren’t satisfied, and may instead use email, social media or chat.

The measurement of first contact resolution is typically down to the customers’ feedback based on their opinion of whether their enquiry was resolved to their satisfaction. In order to know if that’s the case you may need to use a number of different tracking methods.

We've put together a quick list of things to consider and some tips you can follow to help improve FCR in your organisation.

#1 - Give staff adequate training and resources to enable them to effectively handle a wide variety of queries.

Use a skills matrix to see at a glance the abilities of your agents. Then tailor training programs accordingly and nurture and develop agents. Create a knowledge bank for any regular queries so agents less skilled can find out how to resolve calls as they go along.

#2 - Ensure you have technology that can route calls to the correct person first time around.

Skill based routing ensures your customers are matched with the best agent with the right skills for the call. Deliver calls based upon language or product knowledge and prioritise your agents skills in real-time. With intelligent routing or data-directed routing you can interrogate CRM data and factor this into the routing process. So you may direct a customer with an outstanding delivery to the despatch department or a customer with an active complaint could be routed straight through to a supervisor.

It is good practice to set up immediate call backs for customers who abandon the queue or get cut off, turning a bad experience into a service recovery opportunity.

#3 - Make sure you don't have conflicting objectives or other KPIs such as average handling time (AHT) in place that will effectively work against FCR.

This sounds obvious but you'd be surprised how many times we have seen this. If staff are being measured for AHT or worrying about the number of calls waiting then this will reduce the chance of successful FCR.

#4 - Communicate the importance of FCR to your staff and use incentives.

Make sure your staff are aware of the importance of first contact resolution and good customer service generally. It needs to be ingrained within the company culture. Incentives can be a great way of motivating agents to perform and to be mindful of their performance when it comes to FCR.

#5 - Ensure you are measuring FCR consistently.

A sophisticated call recording system is essential to enable quality monitoring and call ratings. However, only the customer truly knows when their issue has been resolved. That’s where post-call customer surveys come in, giving the customer the chance to give a more honest perspective on how satisfied they are that their issue has been dealt with.

Another way to do this is via social media; monitor what your customers are saying online and ask how they feel they’ve been dealt with, as people are more likely to be honest online. By adopting a multiple touch point approach to measuring first contact resolution, it is possible to get a more accurate picture of how satisfied your contact centre is leaving customers.

#6 - Always garner feedback from staff so you have a true picture of the issues that customers are reporting.

Cre­ate a culture where feedback from staff is encouraged and a part of the operation. Are specific issues reccuring? Make sure processes are in place to act upon the input and feedback from the agents.

#7 - Sense check your IVR system.

Periodically review your IVR system to ensure it's still logical and getting the customers to the right place quickly and simply.

#8 - Monitor repeat calls

You should be able to pull off a simple report that will show repeat calls. Remember customers’ actions may speak louder than their words. Are they making contact after their issue has supposedly been resolved? Repeat call tracking technology can allow you to monitor this. And with CRM integration you should be able to track where they are making repeat contact via other channels.

#9 - Ensure you are not creating roadblocks through your scripting process.

If you work with scripts in your contact centre then you need to ensure they have the flexibility to adequately deal with customer issues during that first call. Dynamic agent scripting that integrates to your CRM system can help.

#10 - Check and frequently monitor your call outcome codes

Again, you should be able to pull off quick reports from your contact centre system that will help you to identify, track and monitor FCR through your call outcome codes but this also needs to tie in with the feedback from the customer themselves. Never rely solely on the agent to decide if it was resolved, remember the customer is the one who is always right!

Part of the reason why first contact resolution is debated as a metric is that its definition can be different depending on the business, what does it actually mean for contact to be resolved? Ultimately it is a question of customer satisfaction and the best way to measure FCR is to ask the customer.

Of all the contact centre metrics and KPIs, FCR is a key one to keep a track of and to continually try to improve. If you can crack this then you'll have happier customers, happier staff (that you are more likely to retain) and a stronger brand.

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By salujakbs
25th Feb 2017 06:56

Earlier first call resolution had been the focus of service providers, but things have changed, and the focus has turned to first contact resolution. Yes, call with an agent is not always the first point of contact today as various self-service tools have taken place. To achieve the desired FCR rate, service providers need to upgrade their customer service regarding both channels & support tools. Some of the effective upgrades that can help telecoms & others deliver better support to connected consumers are discussed here.

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