In today's economic conditions, holding on to existing customers is as important as attracting new ones. Customer satisfaction is one of the many factors in customer retention and therefore has become a key priority for progressive enterprises.

In the conditions of economic crisis and fierce competition, the loyalty of regular customers is important and profitable. The need for a practical impact on the work of an outsourced contact center requires a fresh look at its performance metrics.

call center worker

The First Call Resolution (FCR) definition has been attracting a lot of attention recently, although its actual use in the best contact centers is still rare. However, there are disagreements regarding the very concept of FCR: “Solving the problem during the first contact” or “Solving the problem from the first call”?

It would be proper to say that “Solving the problem at the first contact” is more precise. However, tracking all contact points to understand the true needs of the client becomes impractical (even well-known CRM systems cannot always provide significant indicators that cover all points of interaction of your contact center or at least a phone and email).

Therefore, "Solving the problem from the first call" is more realistic in the current situation. The important thing is that you can not only measure but also control the level of the first call resolution call center indicator. All this allows you to significantly improve the efficiency of your business.

FCR is an essential indicator of any reliable contact center for 2 reasons: it manages customer satisfaction and reduces maintenance costs.

You also can check out some useful information about ways of improving customer service here.

First Call Resolution Best Practices

Contact Center management can reduce the number of chimes through process organization and technology solutions. The following is a list of measures that can help increase first contact resolution rate:

  • Approve data collection methodology;
  • Set achievable goals;
  • Reward agents for achievements;
  • Use FCR as an assessment;
  • Provide agents with top conversation control techniques;
  • Provide information on new products, services, prices, policies, etc. in advance;
  • Review business processes that are the main reasons for repeated calls;
  • Empower agents so they can make small changes to the rules;
  • Provide quick and easy access to the knowledge base;
  • Make a list of experts on specific issues;
  • Gather feedback from agents on how to improve FCR.

Approve data collection methodology

Choose a method that is result-oriented, not process-oriented. Do not go too far into the details that prevent you from collecting data. Most importantly, the collection method should be consistent. Changes and individual variations are more important than absolute numbers.

Set achievable goals

It is very important that the first call resolution formula does not interfere with other goals. Like all indicators, its assessment should be adapted to the situation.

You do not want to annoy your subscribers and increase the cost of an outgoing call while holding the subscriber on the phone for a long period while the agent is looking for documents and SME contacts.

Depending on the urgency of the situation, it may be better to quickly call back or send an e-mail as soon as the agent examines the details of the appeal.

Reward agents for accomplishments

Recognition often means more to people than a modest financial incentive.

Use the FCR as an assessment

Adding FCR as an assessment emphasizes its importance to the enterprise and encourages agents to learn and develop their own experience.

Provide agents with conversation control techniques

It’s important not only to determine the reason for the appeal but also to follow a short path to solving it.

Provide information in advance.

An important step that is often forgotten in contact centers is to inform about any changes or events that may surprise the staff if they do not have instructions on how to behave in such situations.

Contact center executives should keep ongoing contact with the marketing department to ensure that they are aware of new promotions, changes in prices or new products and services, as well as other benefits or events that could lead to an increase in the call flow.

Review business processes that are the main reasons for repeated calls

A business process can also be a source of second calls, such as loans, refunds, travel expenses, billing periods, penalties, renewals and guarantees. If some business processes cause a disproportionate number of second calls, which causes dissatisfaction on the part of customers, the contact center management should escalate this issue.

As mentioned above, customer satisfaction is important for the wealth of the enterprise, and senior management may not be aware of the problems of these business processes. If changes cannot be made, then each agent should fully understand the company's policy in this matter and be able to clearly explain it to the client without consulting other specialists.

Expand the capabilities of agents so that they can make small changes to the rules

One of the most common reasons for calling is the agent’s lack of authority to resolve issues immediately. Empowering agents to do something on their own will not only provide a certain amount of free minutes and reduce the company's costs of negotiations, but will also work for satisfying the client and motivating the agent.

Provide quick and easy access to the knowledge base

Providing the agents with the information they need when they need it will reduce the call processing time while increasing the FCR rate. All contact centers should provide their agents with the tools for working with the knowledge base. It can even be simple document folders with pdf files.

Providing this information online makes it much more convenient to search in order to quickly find answers to the questions. Another advantage of electronic databases is that managers can be sure that each agent works with the same relevant information.

Make a list of experts on specific issues

It is good practice to provide agents with a list of consultants on specific issues, their areas of expertise, and their preferred means of communication. About 10% of calls require consultation with a supervisor or subject matter expert.

Gather feedback from agents about ways to improve FCR

Agents are most likely to know the most common reasons for repeated calls. Why not use this information? Discuss with your agents why this is so important, and show them how you define FCR meaning how you calculate it, set reasonable goals and determine how to achieve them. The agents will be committed to achieving these goals.

meeting at the office

10 Tips to Improve FCR Performance

Here are some first call resolution tips that will help you simplify and improve the processes at once.

Tip # 1: Find the facts of the second calls, determine the current FCR rate

  • Find out the number of calls from the same caller ID, contract or case number that were made within a given time interval.
  • Divide the number of repeated calls by the total number of incoming calls to receive a percentage of redials from all calls that were processed by the contact center.

Tip # 2: Implementation of case records and evaluation of results

  • Train agents to recognize repeated calls.
  • Instruct them about the status that should be established to highlight such calls and evaluate their quality.
  • Use search tools to find and quantify repeated calls.

Tip # 3: Ask the client questions that indicate FCR

Add a couple of Yes/No questions, such as: "Is this your first time asking about this?" and "Is your question fully resolved?"

Tip # 4: Contextual search for identifying repeated calls

Use “second call” or any other term for the contextual search in the content of the conversation to search for phrases like “called earlier”

Tip # 5: Using voice recording

This will help you determine exactly how to improve the situation with repeated calls to identify the reasons. Quality managers should listen to some snippets.

Tip # 6: Use polls to identify common causes of the second calls

If clients indicate that they are calling back, provide a shortlist of common causes known to you, and the agents will choose the reason according to the clients’ answers.

Tip # 7: Analyze call categories that actually depend on repeated calls

Use the analytics data from the relationships between Categories and Call Statuses to find the categories of calls that result in the most repeated calls.

Tip # 8: Take into account the FCR rate as one of the main assessments

FCR emphasizes how important the agent’s work is evaluating the resolved issues from the first call.

Tip # 9: Include FCR techniques in the program of personal growth of agents

It’s good to organize regular training for the staff to help them provide high-quality services.

Tip # 10: Empower employees by offering them accessible and relevant information

  • Provide agents with up-to-date information on daily statistics of KPI metrics.
  • Ensure that individual quality indicators are displayed including FCR rates. In combination with other incentives, this can be a powerful motivator in the work of agents.

What You Should Know About First Call Resolution

Call center automation tools allow you to more efficiently collect data on first calls. IVR systems are successfully used for this purpose. At the end of the conversation, an automatic voice assistant offers to evaluate the effectiveness of the consultation. A program for calling customers will help to collect statistics about the results of recent calls.

Accurate assessment and analysis of call data can be done using a CRM system. A client receives a personal profile where the history of requests for all channels and their reasons is stored. Thus, it is possible to clearly identify those cases when people repeatedly call due to unresolved issues.

Of course, one call resolution is only one of the indicators with the help of which you can evaluate the quality of customer service within the company. However, the first call resolution industry standard helps businesses retain current customers in an efficient way.

Simply Contact is an expert in the industry of call center outsourcing, so we can confirm that these tips really have an impact on your effectiveness.