First call resolution, or FCR, is a critical metric that measures how quickly your customer service department can resolve customer issues. In other words, it’s the organization’s pulse rate.
Generally speaking, companies with higher FCRs tend to have happier customers and better customer satisfaction scores than those with lower ones. Your FCR is also a great indicator of how much your agents enjoy their work.
And that’s not all. Lower FCRs also improve profitability, reduce churn, and play a big role in turning your customers into evangelists for your brand.
But what does the term actually mean?
First call resolution measures how many calls you receive from customers and how many of those calls resolve within three minutes. If the customer doesn’t get their problem resolved in three minutes or less on their first call, they’re likely to hang up and call back repeatedly until they get the answer they’re looking for.
Since first call resolution affects your company’s bottom line, it’s important to do whatever you can to improve it. With that in mind, let’s examine five ways to do precisely that.
1. Provide quality training
Training your agents is a great way to improve first call resolution. That’s because Well-trained agents know more about your products and services and are better equipped to identify and address issues quicker to help customers with their problems. They also exude the confidence needed to inspire trust from your customers. And trust, in turn, increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.
In other words, a little bit of training goes a long way.
For the best results, consider conducting regular training sessions for your agents. You can offer these sessions in person or online depending on your budget and the needs of your employees. Regular training can help keep your team up-to-date and aware and prevent customer issues from escalating.
2. Prioritize the customer experience (CX)
Another way to improve your first call resolution metric is to prioritize the experience your customers have when they speak with an agent. This means ensuring every interaction between a customer and an agent is positive and helpful.
One way to do this is by having a culture of quality control. This means implementing regular call monitoring and other quality control measures, highlighting problem areas and aspects that require improvement, delivering prompt feedback, and training your team regularly to address any gaps.
Additionally, you can also schedule regular meetings so your team can discuss how things are going and what can be improved. Having an open-door policy for agents can help you address any complaints or concerns they have quickly.
Customers keep your business’ doors open, so you need to do everything you can to ensure they’re happy. This includes providing excellent customer service and giving your agents the resources and tools they need to handle various situations. When you focus on the customer experience, it goes a long way toward improving the FCR rate for your call center.
3. Understand and address each customer’s issue
If you want to optimize your contact center’s FCR scores, train your agents to listen to understand rather than reply. This means asking the right questions to discern exactly what the customer’s issue is. An inability to understand can lead to frustration on both sides — creating a disgruntled customer who might not hesitate to take to social media to talk about their negative experience.
To avoid that fate, make sure your agents listen closely so they can hone in on customers’ issues. Ideally, they should practice active listening and take notes to gather the necessary information required to provide an effective resolution.
You can train your agents to become effective listeners in different ways. For example, you could have them practice active listening by repeating what they heard the customer say to confirm they understood correctly.
4. Motivate your call center agents with rewards
Your call center agents are the key point of contact with your customers. As such, one of the best strategies for improving FCR is to start with your agents. After all, they’re the ones talking to your customers. And motivating your call center agents with rewards can be one of the best ways to improve first call resolution.
Not sure what to give them? Rewards can include anything from gift cards and bonuses to free lunches and company-sponsored events. If you want to use rewards, ensure they’re substantial and easy to redeem; otherwise, they will be less effective.
By rewarding agents, they become happier, making it more likely they will go out of their way to render assistance. This, in turn, increases customer satisfaction.
A very common metric or KPI for customer support teams is the number of calls taken during a set time. However, if your goal is to improve FCR rates, measuring this metric can cause problems.
If you only incentivize your agents for the number of calls or requests they take in a day, customer service will no longer be a top priority, which will adversely impact FCR.
5. Anticipate your customer’s needs
In today’s age of data, the more you know your customers, the better. Anticipating your customer’s needs even before they occur is a great way to improve customer satisfaction and, subsequently, FCR.
Knowing how your customer will interact with your product or service and understanding frustrations or pain points, if any, will help you anticipate their issues. As a result, you will be better positioned to address the issues proactively, which will significantly impact FCR for the better.
How do you anticipate what your customers need? By reviewing customer calls, emails, and other support channels for insights into why your customers reach out to you for assistance. Once you have identified the prevailing concerns, you can work on arriving at solutions for the most common issues.
Looking to reduce FCR and improve your customer service?
Now that you know what FCR is and how to improve it, you’re ready to start making moves to enhance your customer service capabilities.
As you get a deeper understanding of the efforts involved in this process, you’ll be able to devise ways to deliver value to your customers, improve their satisfaction, and optimize the efficiency of your business.
If you’re looking to find ways to improve your company’s customer service capabilities, Level AI can help. Our robust, AI-powered contact center solutions are redefining the customer service industry by empowering customer care agents with the latest AI/ML tools.
With Level AI, your contact center can improve FCR metrics, making it that much easier to give your customers the best possible experiences. To learn more about how Level AI can help your contact center soar to new heights, request a demo today.
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