Ever been put on hold when you called a customer service rep, listening to the annoying wait music, only to have them tell you that they don’t have a solution to your problem?
Well, we’ve all been there. And from a business’ point of view, this is a surefire way to get angry callers and lose customers.
Your customers want their issues resolved in the first contact with customer support. The more the customer support team is on point and efficient, the more reliable your business will be considered. This is where first call resolution (FCR) comes into play.
It’s an important metric that determines the efficacy of your customer support process. However, having a high FCR is one of the most common call center problems faced by many businesses.
However, the understanding of the metric and the various factors influencing it can help improve your FCR. Let’s dive right in!
A first call resolution (FCR) is a common outbound call center metric that measures an agent’s ability to resolve a customer complaint in the first attempt. In this situation, there are no second contacts or follow-up calls.
An example of this could be that a customer contacts the customer support team of CRM software. There are a few possibilities in this situation — either the customer support team resolves the issue on the first call, or the second call tries to resolve what the first contact couldn’t and follow-ups have to be done.
If the former happens in the first attempt, this is considered FCR. This is required to run a successful business because no one has the time to reach out repeatedly, and a customer would eventually grow frustrated and seek out other options.
Statistics show that 68% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences. Furthermore, 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience.
Since FCR has a significant role in enhancing the customer service experience, one can easily understand how important the metric is.
FCR comes with multiple benefits for the organizations, such as:
72% of consumers say that when contacting customer service, they expect the agent to ‘know who they are, what they have purchased, and have insights into their previous engagements’.
If this does not happen, you will most likely experience some frustration from the customer. And we all know that this usually doesn’t lead to any positive outcomes. 😩
Knowing your customers well will help you resolve customer queries more quickly, which will lead to an increase in FCR rates which will ultimately reduce customer churn rate.
Studies show that effective cross-selling can increase the average overall customer spend by over 11% and lead to a nearly 20% increase in profits per customer. And how can this be done? By giving your customers the best experience with FCR.
It has been proven that FCR increases customer acceptance of a product or service offered via cross-selling by 20%. You might have great products, but convincing people to buy and keeping the old customers interested is crucial.
Did you know that 60% of businesses that measure FCR for a year or more report up to a 30% increase in company performance?
It’s clear that focusing on your customer’s experience with the customer support team is directly related to your company’s profit. And getting their issues resolved at once is a great way to stay a reliable organization in your customer’s eyes.
Just like your customers, even your employees get frustrated when they have to handle repeated calls about the same issues. After all, it does get repetitive and draining to be repeating the same solution time and again.
That said, focusing on your FCR can prevent this from happening, and increase employee satisfaction by up to 5 times!
Current contact center employee satisfaction rates are at just 31% — one of the lowest rates in several years. However, studies have found that for every 1% increase in the first contact resolution rate, employee satisfaction increases by up to 5%.
Avoidable customer churn costs American businesses roughly $136 billion annually — and the majority of customer churn is a consequence of bad customer service.
So why not improve your customer service and save billions? Studies show that only 5% of call centers in the world are currently operating with an FCR of 80% or higher, so the competition is pretty low, and your chance to strive is higher if you take the right steps.
Making company policies hard to understand and confusing can affect your customers as well as your employees. If employees don’t understand how certain procedures work and cannot assist your customer, it will negatively affect your organization.
Calls will have to be transferred to different departments or reps just to get the answers and help needed.
Remember how customers want agents to have all their information about previous engagements? This is where most businesses fail.
Because reps don’t have information about customers — purchase history, support tickets, and more — this greatly reduces the chances of solving a customer’s problem on the first call.
This is why having robust CRM software can save you a great deal of time digging for information from different sources. All customer information can be stored in these databases, so any agent dealing with the customer is kept up-to-date.
Call routing systems like automatic call distributors (ACD) and interactive voice responses (IVR) help to route calls to specific departments or reps depending on the rules set. The use of such systems maximizes the odds of resolving a customer’s issue.
For example, you can route calls based on the availability of your reps, the location of the caller, and the business function.
If you have an effective call routing system in place, customers can easily be routed to the most qualified rep to handle their problems.
Businesses receive all types of calls from customers — and not all calls are the same. Naturally, the complexity of the call can greatly impact the first call resolution.
While the difficulty of a customers’ problems can’t necessarily be controlled by reps, how they handle the call is what determines the FCR rate.
More complex calls will usually need to be escalated to different reps, and this will increase FCR. In contrast, calls that are easier to manage can simply be handled by the rep who answers the call, which decreases the FCR rate.
54% of US consumers say customer experience at most companies needs improvement. And can this be done by training your employees to better handle incoming calls. Prepare a script, have reps practice with their colleagues, or monitor their live calls to guide them along.
The point here is that you want the rep to be able to handle the call without having to transfer it to a more experienced rep, especially if the issue can be resolved easily.
If you sell a complex or difficult-to-use product, it is apparent that you will receive more calls asking for customer support. More time is needed for troubleshooting and rectifying the issue, so there is less possibility of FCR.
If your customer support process is not smooth and takes up a lot of time from your customers, it could be said that there is a lack of end-to-end processes. So ensure there is little waiting time and that operations run smoothly.
Customers have different preferences when it comes to reaching out to a business. It could be via messaging platforms, social media, live chat, email, etc. Statistics show that customers prefer phone calls, email, and live chat over self-service or bots because it helps resolve their problems faster.
Because there’s no telling which platform customers might reach out on, if your reps are not prepared, this can result in a delay in replies.
Firms with a higher number of inexperienced employees have a low possibility of FCR and a higher call center agent turnover rate than an organization with more experienced employees. That’s because inexperienced reps will take longer to solve issues and handle calls poorly.
If a customer contacts your customer support team, ensure that the employee has the knowledge and authority to solve the issue raised by the customer.
For example, if a customer wants to process refunds but a customer support rep can’t do that, then the call will have to be escalated to a manager or someone higher up to handle the refund. This will result in customers having to wait longer, or hanging up the call entirely.
How your employee communicates with the client is also crucial. A good customer support team member will ask for relevant information about the issue and make sure that it has been resolved before the call ends.
Now we know all about the first call resolution, why it is important, and what factors affect it. But what steps can you take to increase the first call resolution rate? Here are a few ways to do so:
When you are on the call talking to a customer, you might not always understand if the issue has been fully resolved.
Knowing what your customer genuinely felt about your services and how they can be improved is something you need to look into. To do so, you could make use of CSAT surveys which should be sent out right after the initial contact for a higher feedback rate.
As we mentioned earlier, the effectiveness of your call routing systems can very well determine your FCR rates.
That said, implementing a solid IVR and ACD system can be a great way to keep your customers satisfied by focusing on their needs and getting help to them in the quickest way.
This is time-saving for both your employees and your customers — customers get their answers quickly, and reps can spend more time on more complex problems.
You only get what you ask for, so the best way to get your user’s feedback or know if they have been satisfied with your service is to directly ask about it before the call ends.
You could ask questions such as:
Your CRM software provides current and historical client data that gives agents a better chance of handling support requests during initial contact.
Looking at the history of the customer who just called will help you find out more about them. This will work in your favor as you can provide them better support with all the information in hand.
Keeping an eye on your agent’s work can greatly affect your business. Monitoring their performance gives you insight into how they provide your customers with the best experience and customer support.
If you realize that a rep does particularly well at handling frustrated callers, get that rep to continue focusing on that area. If there’s a rep who’s able to process refunds extremely quickly, have them handle all customer refunds.
As we mentioned earlier, the best way to get something or know what needs improvement is to ask your customers. After contacting the customer, make sure you get feedback from them.
This feedback does not always have to be on the call; it could be a simple online form that asks them to rate your service from 1 to 10. Through this, you will know which area or which rep is performing well and where work is required.
In today’s technology, you can get everything done at your fingertips, and you must use it best. The same applies when it comes to bettering your customer’s expenses. So let us look at a few platforms to help you do that.
Novocall is an all-in-one business phone system that helps you better manage your contact center operations with click-to-call, automatic dialing, and call tracking features. Its suite of call management features is ideal for call centers that manage both inbound and outbound calls.
The tool’s click-to-call widget ensures a smoother transition from your website to calls. The widget also captures a caller’s information and logs it into your CRM.
NovoChat is a chat marketing solution built that connects multiple chat messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and Telegram on one dashboard.
NovoChat’s multi-channel inbox allows you to view all conversations with customers without having to toggle between different tabs. Conduct multi-agent customer support across multiple platforms with easy agent assignment.
This platform is great for businesses that mainly communicate with their customers on messaging apps.
Wishup is a platform that claims to help you build a team within 30 minutes. This platform is great if you want to hire the top 1% of talented employees across the globe who will suit what you need them to do. It is best if you are looking for virtual assistants.
This platform is an excellent doorway to building a remote customer support team as you will get to sort the talent you require for your job. Entrepreneurs can use this platform to reach out to people who are the best at their work.
The cost of a plan here will depend on how long you need your employee to work.
Hiver is a platform that can turn your Gmail into a helpdesk. Here you can deliver outstanding customer support right from within Gmail without breaking a sweat. You can assign emails to your employees and track their status.
Also, you can monitor your customer service team’s work and how well they do it through analytics and automation. Hiver also offers live chat functionality that works intuitively within Gmail. So, support reps need not spend extra time learning a new application for each support channel.
Similar to NovoChat, Freshdesk offers customer support through multiple platforms such as Line, Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, etc.
Here your customers can contact you through many mediums making your services more accessible. Also, here you get chatbots to quickly guide your customers through the process.
FCR isn’t the only defining factor of your business’ customer support services, but it does play a part in maintaining a good relationship with your customers. After all, no one likes to be put on hold for too long or not have any clear answers to their problems.
We hope that this article has given you deeper insight into what FCR is and the factors that can influence it.
Follow some of the tips we mentioned above to improve your FCR rates and you’ll see an increase in customer satisfaction and retention!
To further improve your FCR, why not give Novocall a try? Get started with a demo today!
Subscribe to our blog
Get insights & actionable advice read by thousands of professionals every week.