One man’s jargon is another man’s key to unlocking success in his vocation, and though “FCR” may seem impossible to differentiate to some from the many other arcane acronyms that populate industry shop talk, to many contact center managers and supervisors, its importance can’t be understated.
FCR, or first call resolution, is, as its full name implies, the resolution of a customer’s issue in the span of their first and only call. To raise the percentage of FCRs is to make customers happy, while diminishing costs. What could be better? Though its appeal is obvious, it’s a little more difficult to understand why it poses such a challenge.
The factors that impinge on a robust FCR include disengaged agents, information gaps, and poor communication between different departments. It’s a fine balance to give agents the support and incentives they need to be effective listeners while staying in touch with a center’s quota and budget; however, more and more studies point to the imperative role customer service plays in a company’s longevity and growth. Tip one? Train your agents to be masters of customer service.
This, of course, does not mean that agents must tolerate rude customers or act out of integrity with the company’s values to appease an angry caller. It does mean that agents should be encouraged to be sincere, flexible, and genuinely interested in helping. It’s also vital that agents have access to a bigger picture.
Tip two: Give your agents the tools they need. Having knowledge of a company’s inner workings is a win-win situation; it provides customers with highly qualified assistance, and it also makes the agents feel invested in the company’s future. Can your agents see a customer’s history and account details? Are they aware of the precedents set by other callers or of the major issues the call center tends to troubleshoot? These are good points to cover in team meetings, in trainings, and while mentoring an agent one-on-one.
Tip three: Nurture inter-departmental harmony. It’s helpful if different departments can be taught to share notes or at the least become conscious of who does what and how to connect customers to the relevant contact person without too much guesswork. There is nothing more frustrating than being passed around from one customer representative to the other until the call finally drops or disconnects.
If you’re paying attention, these factors are adding up to the importance of personnel being “on the same page.” This can, at times, be interpreted quite literally.
Tip four: Keep good records. It may be worth investigating whether there is consistency in how customer interactions are logged. If the records are sloppy or even too detailed, it may be difficult to even get a sense of what your center’s current FCR is as it won’t be immediately apparent that multiple calls were related to a singular issue. Also, if a customer uses live chat online on Monday and then calls in over her cell phone on Tuesday before finding a solution, will the agent on the phone know that this is her second call, or falsely report it as an FCR? These are some of the essential questions to begin your investigation with.
Tip five: Think systematically: Different industries will have different margins of error and different ideal FCR rates. It may be a smart idea to find out your industry’s standard and then strive to be in its highest percentile. Then, get a little local. Look at the data (you may have to collect it first) and find out which are the customer issues that get dragged out the most. Is there a pattern that you can develop a more streamlined strategy to address?
Still feel like you need a little more help? Check out KOVA’s brilliant Audiolog for Contact Centers. It may prove an invaluable support in both record keeping and analytics in service of customer satisfaction.