First Call Resolution

A great Customer Experience (CX) happens when your customers feel that doing business with you adds value, it’s easy and enjoyable. Not only when they buy something from you, but also across any device and channel they interact with your brand.

While businesses know this very well, sometimes it’s hard to find a measure that grasps the effectiveness of applied strategies. One surprising and simple metric you can track is First Call Resolution (FCR). Let’s find out what it is, how it works, and why it matters.

What is First Call Resolution (FCR)?

FCR is the number of calls your agents solve within the first interaction with a customer. The number is gauged against the total number of agent-customer interactions.

Simply put, you are recording the number of times agents solve queries in one shot. A good FCR rating means that your team is performing as expected. It also directly implies that your customers have their concerns handled within a reasonable amount of time. Hence, suggesting high levels of much-needed customer satisfaction.

Now you understand why it is important to improve on FCR. The more challenging task is gathering useful techniques. Luckily, we thought of that too and seek to address your needs with the tips below.

6 Ways to Improve First Call Resolution

1.Put a measure on it

Before setting out to improve anything, you need a better understanding of what you are improving. In this case, you need to measure your current First Call Resolution.

The easiest way is through your team’s feedback. They gather customer feedback on problem resolution and record that. Then, you analyse the information to determine how many problems were sorted within the first call.

Another way is by recording how many calls come from a given number with a certain period. Advanced techniques include speech recognition. The software recognizes set phrases such as, “The last time I called.”

2.List common issues found and how to fix them

Once you have understood your FCR, it is time to understand what the numbers mean. Then, you list whatever problems you note, and work on how to fix them for better performance. 

Some ways to come up with a list of issues includes:

  • Understanding why calls get transferred
  • If and when they are transferred, what is the reason behind them?
  • After the transfer was done, was the issue escalated to the manager?
  • Are there any follow-up calls and what is the reason behind such follow-ups?
  • What is the underlying cause of caller dissatisfaction?

After analyzing the above elements, it is time to ponder on what could have led to such issues. Some ways to go about it are as follows:

  • Does the company system hinder call team performance in any way?
  • Are sufficient resources, training, and equipment provided to the team?
  • Are the corporate phone systems updated, and operating smoothly?
  • Do the agents follow company guidelines when handling callers?
  • Are there some concerns that appear often or consistently?

Some answers to most of the questions are within your reach. Look deeper into the data collected and ask questions to your team. You will learn more than you could ever imagine. 

Take some time to listen to call recordings. Some answers lie within such conversations. Once you identify challenges, respond with appropriate measures.

3. Analyse caller behavior

Understanding how customers behave helps predict and trace patterns. That way you can better address their needs and increase FCR chances.

One way of doing this is through the creation of customer personas. Divide your callers based on demographics. Then, prepare personalized responses for respective groups.

Based on historical data you can group callers into groups of need. For instance, some callers within a certain age group might call with similar problems. Have such an age group redirected to team members who are best equipped to handle the identified concern?

4. Optimise internal operations

To handle customer concerns in less time, you need great equipment and a skilled team. Thus, it is imperative that you invest in proper software and team training. 

It is also important that your employee knows when to do what. Here are some things you need to consider:

  • What issues can team members handle without transferring?
  • What needs transferring and to which department?
  • Which members are best equipped to handle certain issues?
  • Are there any new resources that are worth incorporating in training?
  • What training and supervision techniques work best?

5. Work with automation where possible

Ever made a call to a customer service center and had options read out to you before speaking to an agent? That helps solve quite a number of issues. Often the issue the caller needs to be handled is easily solvable through such automation.

Should it get escalated to the right call agent, they are already well prepared to handle the issue. Sometimes it does not need to get to a call in the first place.

With an understanding of common issues, a well-prepared FAQ section saves all parties some trouble. Also, consider updating your content often to cover new issues. You can post user manuals where applicable as they also help. 

Such tactics reduce on-call volume altogether leaving plenty of room to deal with complex matters. 

6. Invest in your team

Call center agents may be the best at what they do, but they are also easily prone to burnout. This is something you might want to avoid as it reflects in their interactions. You need to keep them motivated. 

One way to motivate them is by making them feel like part of the process. Share with them why FCR matters. Offer incentives too for those that contribute most toward achieving targets.

Besides motivation, your team members need proper skill acquisition. Some ways to impart skills are:

  • Having your software providers train your team and provide workshops when there are updates
  • Training your team sufficiently during new product launches
  • Giving examples of good call interactions as per your standards
  • Training the team on basic etiquette and how to handle conversations professionally
  • Keeping the team informed on fresh changes in company policy, services, pricing and processes

Even with proper skills and motivation, employees need to feel empowered. Here’s how to make them feel you have their back:

  • Make a provision for technical teams to drop in on calls and offer help where needed
  • Have managers on call, when needed
  • Run call reviews often and give feedback
  • Provide a FAQ for call teams, relevant resources, and skill acquisition packages

Conclusion

FCR will remain an important metric in the foreseeable future. Thus, it’s advisable to implement the tips listed above. 

With customers preferring personalized experiences you ought to dig up new techniques regularly. The same case applies to talent sourcing. The people you onboard onto your team matter greatly.

While you might invest heavily in training, personalities influence performance more remarkably. Thus, take your time in building your call center team and learn from them as you go.