What is First Call Resolution?
Inbound call centre services figure out how well voice support fits into their customer service strategy by measuring and monitoring queue volumes and agent performance.
Of all the metrics that measure call centre efficiency, First Call Resolution (FCR) is the most important. It indicates how efficient your customer service team is in serving your customers and in finding solutions to their problems, the first time. How well can you provide a resolution during the first interaction? A customer shouldn’t have to call back multiple times to get an issue sorted. That is what FCR is all about.
Good customer service is a goal that every customer service team aims for. However, FCR specifically indicates the contact centre’s effectiveness, and efficiency.
Of all performance metrics, First Call Resolution is the most effective measure of contact centre performance. And with good reason — FCR helps as a guide in measuring the quality of customer service provided.
Customer service teams can extend inbound call centre services more efficiently by monitoring their FCR rates continuously. With the sheer volume of queries that call centre outsourcing companies receive, it is no surprise how FCR has evolved as a key parameter to measure the efficiency of services delivered.
Benefits of a high FCR
It is so important that the contact centre needs to work on FCR continuously to ensure that the FCR rates keep improving. Businesses look to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction while driving down operational costs.
No matter how excellent customer services are at your inbound call centre, a low FCR turns customer away.
A low FCR is eating into your company’s reserves. While a high FCR is bringing in the moolah.
A high FCR drives customer satisfaction and is a reflection of how engaged your employees are — higher the FCR, higher the customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
FCR is a direct indication of how well the business is treating the customers. A high FCR can ensure customer retention and an inflow of new customers.
This is why FCR is a vital call centre metric.
So what affects FCR and what can be done to improve it?
You need to dive deep into processes, culture and technology at your organization to zero in on the factors that affect FCR and find ways to resolve it.
- Long hold times: Keeping the customer waiting on the line for too long can lead to call abandonment and customer frustration. This can affect of the quality of further interactions. Inefficient routing, inefficient systems that need the agent to toggle between screens to get information, lack of agent training, poor agent skills, etc. can lead to long wait times.
How to fix it: Updating the contact centre systems with the latest in technology will ensure that customer information is ready at hand when the customer calls. Customer history, purchase details, product information, etc. can be pulled up in seconds. Having the right skills and training to navigate systems is important too. Ongoing training for agents will help them know how to deal with various customer requests.
- Inefficient IVR systems: Too many options on the IVR menu or a confusing IVR menu would drive the customer to press a random option in order to get an agent on the line. In the end, they might reach the wrong department, only to be rerouted again. Multiple transfers could also lead to call abandonment. Customers might call back, in which case, they will have to start all over again.
How to fix it: Review your IVR menu and employ an efficient IVR system with succinct menus. It will ease navigation for customers.
- Inefficient CRM systems: Multiple documents that track different kinds of data, information spread across different people and departments, lack of integration — all this spells inefficiency. Agents will end up with data that isn’t updated or inaccurate. Needless to say, it will be difficult to pull out timely, updated reports.
How to fix it: Increase resolution rates and first contact response with efficient CRM systems. When you add automation to the mix, you get an uber efficient system that allows agents to offer confident, accurate answers within moments. Chronological customer history, unified view of all data and readily available customer information will empower the agent to provide excellent customer service. Such CRMs also make the agents accountable for their tasks making follow ups easy and trackable.
- Untrained agents: Lack of good training may be a cause of low FCR. When agents are not ‘onboarded’ properly or do not receive ongoing training, they do not perform well. They are not equipped to face the challenges of customer service without the right kind of training. Agents might even be driven to quit without the required support in training. Having an untrained agent is like having an unsteady foundation.
How to fix it: Hiring right and training from the beginning can mould good agents. FCR-focused training can bring skilled agents back on track. More training results in higher productivity and higher FCR. This ensures employee satisfaction and engagement.
- Poor customer culture: A poor customer culture can be detrimental to the performance of the contact centre. When the agents are not anchored to the customer centric culture of the company, their interactions will correspondingly be ineffective.
How to fix it: It is crucial to communicate the need for FCR to your agents. Bring them on board and let them know of the importance of FCR. Your FCR priority must be ingrained in the company culture. Familiarise agents with the organization’s customer centric culture so that every action the agent takes is oriented towards achieving FCR goals and customer satisfaction.
Incentives and reward systems are a fantastic way to motivate agents toward your FCR goals. Post call surveys can help assess the customer’s satisfaction levels and can also be a way to understand what they want from you in terms of customer service.
To realize a high FCR you need continuous improvement. By constantly identifying issues and learning ways to solve them, you will realize incremental, but significant, FCR gains.
Now that you have a better handle on the working of the contact centre, you can actually start analyzing your organization to know what stands in the way of a higher FCR and your business. With improved FCR-oriented processes and systems, you can implement a real change. Just imagine what that can do for your business!