Symon Edmonds – January 10, 2017
How to Measure and Optimize First Call Resolution with Call Center System
First Call Resolution (FCR) is a crucial metric for a call center, and potentially more so for its clients. The sooner a customer’s problem is resolved, the happier everybody is. The customer no longer has their problem, and the call center’s agents are free to work on other issues.
Every call center system will be able to identify somebody that they consider a “problem customer.” This will usually be someone who feels that their concerns are being ignored, and will continually call back trying to get what they consider to be justice. Somehow, no matter what the agent does, the customer still feels dissatisfied. These clients take up a considerable amount of your call operators’ time, and little progress seems to be made. Of course, the customer may have a genuine complaint, and the actual problem may exist within your call center system.
If an agent manages to diagnose and solve a customer’s issue in one phone call, then it is truly a win-win situation. The client is happy; the agent has a feeling of achievement, and the call center system can consider the problem resolved at the cost of minimal resources.
What is First Call Center System Resolution
However, unlike some other metrics that are clearly defined and relatively straightforward to measure, First Call Resolution is somewhat nebulous, and it is hard to pin down an exact definition. On the surface, the concept of call resolution sounds simple. Yet, there is no precise definition of what a resolved phone call is. The most common view in the literature is that every firm has its own concept of what a resolved call is, so the exact definition of First Call Resolution varies firm by firm.
Therefore the first thing any call center needs to consider is, what they consider to be the best definition of call resolution for their particular circumstances.
They need to consider the following when coming up with their definition:
- If an agent transfers a call to somebody with more specialized knowledge, who then solves the client’s problem, is that a case of first call resolution?
- If a customer can’t get through the first time and gives up because the queue is too long, does a quick resolution by the first agent they eventually talk to count as a First Call Resolution?
- Do you include calls when the client began searching for a solution on the company’s website, and only called because they could not find the answer there?
- At what point can you consider a call resolved? If a client does not ring back within 24 hours is it resolved? What about a week? If the customer calls back for clarification in a fortnight’s time is it the same problem or a different one? What about if they call back with the identical problem in six months?
- How do you know whether a client considers the call resolved? Does your agent ask them? Do you survey them, and if so, at what point?
- Does a customer have to be satisfied for a call to be resolved? For instance, if you are an insurance company and your agent determines that you do not owe the client a payment, the client clearly will not be satisfied, yet the company may well consider the situation resolved.
Once your call center system has decided upon its definition of a call being resolved, you should be able to come up with some calculation for a First Call Resolution with a formula similar to:
FCR = (Number of Resolved Calls Closed on First Contact / Total Number of Calls) x 100
What Can You Do to Improve Your First Call Resolution?
1. Ensure Your Agents Have Sufficient Authority to Make Decisions
One of the first things a call center system can do to improve its FCR is to carry put an audit on its internal systems. Are there blockages that stop agents from resolving problems?
Quite a few firms limit an agent’s powers, particularly in areas like authorizing refunds and canceling fees. If you want a quick resolution of issues, your agents have to have the authority to make adjustments where they think it is appropriate.
2. Ensure Your Agents Have Sufficient Training to be Able to Help with Call Center System
Customers quickly become frustrated when they realize that the person they are speaking to on the phone knows little about the firm’s product or service. It is imperative that call centers train their agents to understand the benefits and features of all of the products about which people may ask them.
Where the product is complex, requiring specialist knowledge, it is important that there is a clear path so that the agent can transfer the client to an expert who can resolve the issue for them, preferably within the same phone call.
3. Ensure That You Provide Your Agents with Appropriate Technology Support so that They Can Do Their Job
Your agents may not know everything, but they should be able to find what they need very quickly. This means that you need to ensure that they have access to fast computer systems, with suitable product and customer databases. It certainly helps to have an advanced CRM package that automatically updates customer information with any new details obtained.
4. Keep track of Any Escalation of Complaints at Call Center System
Even the best firms will not achieve First Call resolution every time. Therefore it is important that you have systems in place to flag any calls where there are problems, and which may need delicate or special treatment for future customer interactions.
5. De-emphasize Call Length Targets
If your call center system tries to emphasize both improving First Call Resolution rates at the same time as targeting shorter call lengths, there will be conflicting goals. In the rush to have shorter calls your agents are likely to sacrifice call quality, thus reducing the likelihood that they resolve customers’ problems. Your agents have to be able to talk to clients for as long as necessary to solve their problems.
6. Monitor Social Media Channels to See What Your Customers Really Feel
It’s not uncommon for customers to give up during phone calls through sheer frustration. Depending on their personality, though, they may not express their real thoughts at the time to your agent. They are more likely to make their true feelings known on social media. Remember, a customer’s actions speak louder than their words. Monitor mentions of your brand on social media in order to track this.
Overall, First Call Resolution is an excellent guide to how useful a call center’s agents are at resolving issues and answering client queries. Once you have determined what you consider “call resolution” to mean for your agency, you can work to help your agents improve that metric.
Of course, the problem is often systemic, rather than the fault of individual agents, and it is worthwhile trying to remove any blockages within the firm that impede successful First Call Resolution. You also need to ensure that your agents are well trained and fully prepared to respond to most queries that customers make to them.
Try Nectar Desk call center system today in order to track the activity of your agents and improve First Call Resolution in your contact center!