Customer support excellence is a necessary goal. Customers are far less loyal than they once were, and they have many other options if a company doesn’t please them. Companies wishing to pivot their metrics so that they focus on the quality of the customer relationship should instead be seeking to boost first-call resolution: the number of calls in which a customer’s issue or problem is definitively handled in a single call (or other contact). This ensures that not only does the customer leave the call pleased, but that he or she won’t call back again regarding the same transaction. There is evidence that a 15 percent improvement in the first-call resolutions metric will reduce repeat calls by 57 percent. Another study found that for every one percent improvement in the FCR rate, businesses will experience a corresponding one percent improvement in customer satisfaction. This should firmly establish FCR as the metric to worship, but many companies still don’t, according to a recent blog post by Rachel Brink of 3CLogic (News - Alert).
“Despite the benefits businesses experience by improving this metric, customers still complain that agents fail to answer their questions 50 percent of the time,” wrote Brink. “Which begs the question—why? The answer is not as clear-cut as one would assume, as there are typically multiple factors at play.”
One of these factors is imperfect call routing. If customers aren’t starting out in the right department or with the right agent the first time, first-call resolution becomes ineffective. By boosting the quality of the call routing by redesigning IVR menus, for example, or replacing antiquated call distribution technology, companies can go a long way toward raising their FCR rates. Another way companies can better improve FCR is by ensuring that agents have the technology, data and training they require to get the job done.
“One of the main reasons agents are unable to resolve customer needs on the first call (accounts for over half of low FCR rates) is their inability to quickly access client account information—a problem that is typically created when information systems are disjointed, and departments working in silos.”
In these cases, integrating process and knowledge bases right on the agents’ desktops can help them resolve issues correctly the first time around. The secondary bonus to this integration is that they can also cut down on the time it takes to serve customers, which has the side benefit of reducing average handle time while at the same time improving first-call resolution. Brink also recommends that companies utilize dynamic scripting engines that are designed to mandate the collection of certain data fields, and provide custom prompts for agents based on each customer’s unique response.
“This tool not only helps to keep the call on track, but also documents all entries and syncs it with the system of record, enhancing efficiencies and agent productivity—as well as increasing FCR rates by a reported 17 percent,” she wrote.
By using technology the right way and integrating processes and knowledge, contact centers can change from reactionary, blind organizations whose employees have to work hard to do their jobs correctly to efficient clearinghouses of intelligence properly equipped to find the right answers easily at the right time.