Waiting hours and, sometimes, days to fix a problem that is central to one’s business or day-to-day life can be disheartening. And you do not want to disappoint your customers. Because . . .
Disappointed customers do not become recurring customers.
Disappointed customers do not feel loyalty to your brand.
Disappointed customers go to your competitor.
As a business, your primary goal should be creating good and useful products and assisting your customers in using those products and services. This also involves making it quick and easy for them to resolve issues related to product purchase and use. That’s where first call resolution (FCR) comes into play.
First call resolution directly impacts customer satisfaction and retention. It is being able to resolve customer concerns in one call or one contact. Therefore, your business or call center measure and track this KPI regularly. Here is a guide that will help you understand the importance of one call resolution and how to measure and improve FCR rates for your business.
What is First Call Resolution?
First call resolution means resolving customer questions or issues in the first call itself and an FCR rate measures a call center or business’ ability to resolve customer calls when they first call. In other words, customers who call to resolve a problem or inquire about a product are helped during the first call with no follow-up calls or emails are required. Resolving calls quickly like this does not mean reducing the quality of customer service. Instead, your teams work to resolve and close common customer issues within one call to make room for more complex issues while keeping customers satisfied with quick resolutions.
One call resolution or FCR is an essential call center KPI or metric. Most customer relationship management or CRM systems include this metric among others.
Another similar metric is the first contact resolution rate. This metric not only measures one call resolution but other support channels as well such as chat, tickets, and emails. By keeping an eye on these channels as well, you can aim to improve support across all support channels.
Why Should Your Contact Center Measure FCR?
When customers contact your company regarding an issue or product, they expect to have an answer quickly. The longer they have to wait to resolve a concern or question, the more likely they will find a different company that provides faster service and quicker solutions. Customer satisfaction (CSAT scores) drives brand loyalty and customer retention rates. Good first call resolution rates can improve customer satisfaction and help you keep your loyal and valued customers close.
Furthermore, this metric also helps you measure the efficiency of your employees or agents. For instance, how quickly can agents resolve a call? How much time is spent on resolving issues? Do they spend more time with follow-ups with the same customers or are they able to attend to others as well?
Calculating first call resolution can give you insights into how your business is performing in terms of customer satisfaction. The higher the FCR rates, the higher your customer satisfaction scores. For any contact center or business, the goal remains: achieving high first call resolution rates and low talk time.
Related: 7 Types of Customer Complaints & How to Resolve Them
How to Measure First Call Resolution?
FCR is commonly measured as the total number of calls resolved on the first call divided by the total number of calls received during a certain period of time.
When measuring first call resolution, you may want to consider the following criteria or factors that could affect this score:
- What does “sufficiently resolved” mean? Is it only when a customer’s issue is resolved? Or does customer satisfaction count as well?
- Does a callback include agents following up with callers via chat, SMS, or email?
- Will FCR include calls handled by your IVR?
- What about calls abandoned calls due to confusing IVR, long wait times, etc.?
- Will a caller reaching the wrong department be included?
- What about a call where a manager was conferenced in or that was transferred to a colleague?
Make sure you clearly define what FCR is and how it will be measured so that your agents and employees are prepared.
8 First Call Resolution Tips for Your Call Center
There are a few different ways to improve your contact center or business’ FCR rates:
1. Set realistic goals: Define what FCR is and ensure your agents and employees understand the importance of good FCR rates and show to achieve them.
2. Train agents: Train call center employees to meet your company’s standards and mission. Use a call recording service to highlight strengths and weaknesses.
3. Conduct performance analysis regularly: Review employee performance and efficiency by sitting in on calls or reviewing recordings.
4. Identify common customer questions and issues: The fastest way to help customers is to be prepared for issues or concerns that may arise while using your product or service. Identify common issues and train agents to quickly resolve.
5. Develop an easy-to-follow knowledge base or guide: Provide employees with a knowledge base or guide that can help them help customers efficiently.
6. Track FCR on all communication channels: If you communicate with clients via phone, email, live chat, social media, etc., ensure that you track FCR rates on all these channels. A low rate on other channels can bring your overall FCR rate down.
7. Develop incentive programs and rewards for employees: Give employees good reasons to do their job well so they work harder to resolve calls on the first try.
8. Set customer expectations: Create better caller experiences by reducing wait times, employing an effective IVR system, etc.
Your 3-Step Plan to Improve FCR
To improve one call resolution, you and your team first need to understand what type of issues do customers call to resolve and which issues take longer to resolve. Once you identify issues that need 2-3 rounds of support to reach resolution, you can create plans that agents can use to reduce the resolution time. Here is a 3-step plan to improve first call resolution rates in your
1. Analyze Support Channels
Gather information from all support channels that needed more than one interaction to be resolved. Look at call records, chat history, email threads, and delayed tickets and analyze patterns and issues that occur repeatedly.
2. Prepare Action Plans and Resources
Once you’ve identified the main issues customers call to resolve, you can create resolution plans for those issues and patterns. This may include:
- Sending the customer a how-to guide
- Conferencing with a team or product expert
- Letting the customer know the issue will take a few days to resolve and explaining why so that they understand
- Adding new or temporary solutions and features to quickly resolve the issue
- Finding new suppliers and vendors
- Create a support center with documents and how-to guides for agents to use
- Updating your product or service, and so on.
3. Train Your Support Team
Finally, train your agents to collect the right information during calls and provide the most appropriate solution. Encourage agents to collaborate with senior colleagues on complex cases through call conferencing tools and features. Provide agents with resources and materials to equip them with the solutions customers are looking for. You may even invest in software and tech that centralizes customer data and past interactions so that agents can review how other agents have handled similar issues and update records.
Improve First Call Resolution to Boost Customer Loyalty
Can call analytics help you gain better insights into FCR and how your business is doing to see where you can improve? Start measuring first call resolution today and secure your valued customers!