How would you feel if your service query was resolved in 5 days instead of 1 or 2? Do you think it would be frustrating if you had to follow up with customer support instead of them resolving the issue?
Like most people, you’ll also feel frustrated. But that also means your call wasn’t resolved in the first go.
First call resolution is a perfect indicator of an agent’s performance and helps in assessing customer experience.
Any contact center would look for ways to increase their first call resolution rate. They’d make efforts to resolve customer queries in the first conversation.
We’ve created a list of practical tips to help you improve your first call resolution rate.
But before we dive into the tips, let's understand FCR and it’s significance in call centers.
What Is First Call Resolution?
First call resolution refers to a customer having all their problems resolved in a single call without waiting for a follow-up. It is often abbreviated to FCR.
Not all customer calls can be resolved in the first call. Certain situations require some processing to be done before being resolved.
Despite not being able to resolve all interactions in first contact, call centers try to keep their customers happy by resolving their problems as soon as possible.
First call resolution is often used interchangeably with first contact resolution. It might seem they're the same, considering that both have the same abbreviation - FCR.
Both these terms differ only by a small nuance.
In today's world of omnichannel contact centers, customers use different support channels. In such an environment, first contact resolution is the right term as it covers interactions across all customer touchpoints.
Despite these slight differences, both first call and first contact resolution can be increased using the same methods. Resolving a customer's issue across any channel requires all agents to be on the same page.
Before we look at tips to increase your FCR rates, let's understand how do contact centers calculate it.
How to Calculate FCR Rate?
The first contact resolution rate of a contact center is calculated in percentage. There’s a simple formula for the same.
For example, if a support team resolved 935 queries in a month, out of which 237 were resolved in the first contact. In that case, the team's FCR rate would be 25.34%, (237/935) x 100.
Apart from calculating to understand the performance of the contact center, it can also be used to assess an agent's performance.
What is a good FCR rate?
A study by the SQM group that measured benchmarks of more than 500 North American call centers found that;
Every industry has to deal with certain customer queries that take some time to resolve. Situations like refunds require a few days of processing that will keep businesses from reaching a 100% FCR rate.
Now that we've understood what FCR is and how to calculate it let’s look at why it is an important part of contact center metrics.
Why Is First Call Resolution Important In A Contact Center?
Apart from being a metric that can be used to assess agent performance, first call resolution also impacts contact center operations in many ways. Let’s understand how first contact resolution affects a call center.
1. Customer Satisfaction Insights
“Every 1% increase in FCR increases the brand's customer satisfaction by 1%”- SQM Group
Every customer wants to have their queries solved as soon as possible. Customers leave on a happy note when queries are resolved in the first customer interaction.
Increasing the first call resolution rate allows call centers to elevate customer satisfaction scores.
2. Assess Agent Performance
The correlation between first contact resolution and keeping customers satisfied makes it a key performance indicator in assessing agent performance.
While many other metrics can be used to evaluate agent performance, FCR helps managers to understand how well agents handle customer interactions. The prevalence of first call resolution in assessing an agent's performance depends on which industry the organization belongs to.
For example, FCR is highly crucial for fast-moving industries, while it takes a back seat in industries like insurtech, where processing takes time.
3. Easier to Retain Customers
A study by the SQM group found that a 1% increase in FCR increases the brand's Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 1.4. If someone promotes your brand, it means that they're willing to continue being your customer.
This implies that brands with higher first contact resolution rates face lower customer churn.
4. Reduce Operational Costs
A Forrester study on FCR and operating costs found that
Considering how a higher first call resolution rate helps increase customer retention and satisfaction, it is evident that FCR plays a key role in company revenue.
Customers tend to talk about brands that meet their expectations. This helps in reducing the brand's customer acquisition costs.
A good first contact resolution reduces a brand's operating costs by retaining customers and lowering customer acquisition costs.
Now that we've seen how first contact resolution can impact contact center profitability, it's time to jump into what you've been waiting for.
Let's see different methods of improving first call resolution.
Results first, payment later.
10 Tips to Increase First Call Resolution
Different things can be done to increase a call center’s first contact resolution rate.
Let's look at what can be done to increase first contact resolution and how it helps.
1. Evaluate Customer Experience Delivery
Call centers create experience delivery strategies after intense planning. These plans shouldn’t be constantly be re-evaluated instead of kep stagnant.
Any customer experience plan should be made by considering current customer trends. This helps agents to be more empathetic and relate with customers and not act like a mere robotic voice.
Constant evaluation allows you to understand what is working and what isn't.
A seamless experience delivery plan can be made only when a customer is treated as the king. Instead of planning for the customer's scenario when requesting support, the entire customer journey must be considered.
2. Comprehensive Agent Training
Agents should be trained to handle most problem sets that customers face. This helps to ensure that agents can handle most calls that come their way and resolve calls at the first contact itself.
Having such a rigorous method to train agents in their onboarding phase will allow them to be well-versed in all calls that come their way. Apart from agents who are onboarded, every agent should be trained to improve their experience delivery.
Automated coaching tools help agents to learn faster and polish their first call resolution skills. These tools assign conversations with high scores so other agents know what to do to get better.
Accelerate Agent Training Today!
3. Updating Product Knowledge for Agents
Support agents shouldn't be trained only during their initial onboarding process. Call centers should train agents whenever any change occurs in the products and services offered by the organization.
An agent unaware of the latest product will leave unhappy customers on each call compared to other agents who are informed of these updates.
Agent training should happen whenever an agent joins the contact center, and to keep them updated. While training isn't needed in all cases, every call center agent should have a thorough knowledge base via product updates or similar avenues.
4. Customer Feedback Collection
Since customer satisfaction scores are highly dependent on first call resolution, frequent assessments are needed to understand how customers feel. Customer feedback is a crucial aspect of increasing first contact resolution.
Feedback from the customers directly can help understand what is working and what isn't. This helps in optimizing the current experience delivery.
Such optimizations increase the contact center's ability to resolve customer queries in the first contact.
5. Investment in Right Tools
Do you remember how Harry Potter took a lot of time to find the perfect wand at Ollivander’s?
That should exactly be how you pick the right software for your call center.
With futuristic features like advanced customer relationship management tools and customer intelligence available on the market, research should be done before choosing one.
Having a demo of the product in action can also help you make your mind about what you wanna choose.
Equip your Call Center with the Right Tools Today!
6. Self-Service Options
Many customers prefer self-service options when it comes to resolving their queries.
They prefer contacting support channels only when self-service channels don't have what they're looking for or when the query is too complicated.
Every call center must have its self-service channel that caters to simple queries and is easy to navigate. This allows agents to focus on complicated queries that need their attention and resolve it in the first call itself.
7. Convert Problems into Upsell Opportunities
In the service sector, especially regarding software, many customers come with queries about the current plan's limitations. Rather than just solving their problem, subtly upselling them to a better plan is a better tactic.
For instance, many customers would contact Dropbox support if they can't upload any files without knowing there is no more storage in their family plan. In such cases, apart from letting them know that their plan is exhausted, sharing the next plan helps them know of a future solution.
Informing customers about how the next plan can bypass their limitations helps them be calm because they know there is a better solution. This might not turn into a sale, but the customer walks away satisfied, having their issue resolved.
8. Intelligent Call Routing
Sometimes, calls get escalated or transferred to a different agent because the call was directed to an agent unaware of the certain kind of query. Apart from merely routing calls department-wise, calls should also be routed based on the type of query a customer is calling with.
For instance, would you direct a customer calling about a payment failure to the operations or marketing department? You would direct it to someone in the finance or support teams.
Similarly, calls should be routed intelligently based on the customer's requirement. Understanding the customer's query using interactive voice response can help identify which agent the call should be directed to.
9. Incentivizing Good FCR rates
Since good first call resolution is a crucial metric to assess agent performance, it could help to incentivize maintaining a great FCR rate.
Agents who have an excellent first call resolution rate could be incentivized in their paychecks.
Something like that can inspire agents to attain and maintain a good first call resolution rate.
10. Improve Using Agent Feedback
Agents deal with customers directly on a day-to-day basis. This allows them to understand what obstructs them from resolving queries in the first contact.
Agent feedback allows to optimize the current experience delivery strategy and aim for better first contact resolution rates.
First contact resolution is critical to assess and evaluate call center performance. Customer satisfaction and net promoter scores are highly dependent on first contact resolution rates.
There are multiple ways to increase first contact resolution. Some of them include comprehensively training agents, collecting customer feedback, and investing in the right tools.
The best way to ensure better FCR rates while keeping an eye on your contact center operations is by using call monitoring software. So, choose the best call monitoring software to elevate agent performance and improve FCR rate.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is First Call Resolution?
First call resolution (FCR) refers to customers having their queries resolved in the first call to the call center. Agents should ensure that the customer should be satisfied within the same call.
Why is First Call Resolution Important in a Call Center?
First call resolution is a crucial metric for assessing agent performance. Studies have also shown that higher FCR rates lead to better customer satisfaction and net promoter scores.
What to do to Improve FCR Rates?
First contact resolution can be improved by ensuring that agents can handle all customer queries. Other methods of improving first call resolution include collecting customer feedback and investing in the right technology.
Read the blog to learn about 10 practical and effective ways to improve FCR rates.
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