How To Increase First Call Resolution | Awaken

Author: Simon Black | Date: 07/10/2020

Providing high-quality customer service on a consistent basis is a crucial focus for contact centres. One recent survey even suggested that 78% of customers will forgive a company for a mistake provided they still deliver an excellent service.1

In order to understand if they are offering quality customer experiences, companies should look at contact centre metrics, which can include:

  • Average Handle Time
  • Average Call Abandonment Rate
  • Average Time in Queue

Contact centre managers and team leaders should also continually monitor first call resolution (FCR). An essential customer satisfaction metric, FCR reveals whether customer service teams are providing customers with resolutions the first time they get in touch.

In today’s blog, we’re going to be taking a closer look at FCR and how contact centres can improve FCR rates to avoid repeat calls and deliver a seamless customer journey. Let’s get started. 

Suggested reading: Check out our free eBook Your Contact Centre Could Operate Better. A Lot Better to learn more about transforming contact centre performance

What is first call resolution?

A fairly self-explanatory term, first call resolution, sometimes known as first contact resolution, measures a company’s ability to handle a customer’s call, email, question or complaint the first time they get in touch with no follow-up required.

FCR is a measure of customer satisfaction usually displayed as a rate — a high FCR rate indicates customer expectations are being met with the service you provide. It can also be used as a measure of operational performance and efficiency, helping businesses save money by ensuring agents spend less time on unnecessary follow-up calls.

While it may sound simple, FCR can actually be quite difficult to assess correctly. The key is defining what FCR means for your contact centre and devising a framework to consistently measure it and ways to improve your rates.

Why is first call resolution important?

Whilst there are a range of metrics contact centres can use to monitor performance, FCR is amongst the most important. That’s because resolving a high volume of queries during a first contact is crucial for any organisation looking to provide customers with a quality service.

In terms of specifics, there are a range of benefits that come as a result of a consistently high first contact resolution rate. Chief among these are:

  • Retaining existing customers: Resolving a customer’s query the first time they get in touch can significantly increase loyalty. 67% of customers list poor customer service as a primary reason for churn, so consistently high FCR rates help to ensure a loyal and satisfied customer base.2
  • Keep customers satisfied: Addressing the concerns of a dissatisfied customer during first contact makes it possible to negate any potential frustration, which in turn helps to ensure that they keep coming back for more.
  • Efficient customer support: If contact centre agents can solve customers’ issues during first contact consistently, repeat calls will decrease as a result. This then allows agents to answer more queries throughout the day and be more productive.  

How do you measure first call resolution?

It might sound simple, but measuring FCR requires a tailored approach. That’s because businesses need to take into account the communication channels their contact centre utilises.

Some businesses will only apply FCR to phone calls their agents handle. For others, channels like live chats, email, and social media will also be included in the overall FCR rate.

When measuring FCR, contact centres also need to determine whether or not customer service inquiries that require callbacks, transfer to another source of support, or escalation to a manager count as first contact resolution.

Once these factors have been taken into account, calculating the FCR rate itself is the easy part. This is done by taking the total number of queries resolved on the first contact, dividing that by the total number of queries throughout the day, and multiplying that by 100% to get a percentage.

FCR rate = (total number of queries resolved on first contact / total number of cases) x 100

Improving first call resolution in contact centres

Given the benefits that increased rates of FCR can provide, contact centres should continually look for ways to make improvements. However, that requires a strategy and the implementation of processes that help to ensure agents can resolve queries quickly and effectively.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the steps organisations can take to improve the FCR rates their contact centre produces.    

Understand your customer’s issues

At its core, customer service is all about understanding the needs, wants and desires of customers in order to provide them with the best solution. As a result, to resolve more queries on a first contact, customer service agents need to have an in-depth understanding of customers and their issues.

This can be achieved by collecting information and analysing data from customer interactions. By doing this, contact centres can identify trends and patterns that are causing agents problems and tailor their approach based on this information.

Once businesses better understand their customers and the issues they are facing, they can go one step further — proactively anticipate their future needs and expectations.

Armed with this level of knowledge, call and contact centres can better prepare themselves to meet the demands of their customers, provide them with a consistently good service and resolve more queries on the first time of asking.

Monitor agent performance

Another key part of enhancing FCR performance is maximising the performance of customer service agents. If agents are performing at a high level, they are more likely to resolve calls on first contact.

However, in order to ensure that their agents are performing at the required level, contact centres need to:

  • Understand their agent’s strengths
  • Identify areas where agents need to improve
  • Tailor follow-up training accordingly

As a result, to ensure that agents are capable of enhancing FCR rates, continual performance monitoring needs to be put in place and additional support provided when necessary. By doing this, contact centres can ensure agents have the knowledge base and experience required to do their jobs and deliver high-quality outcomes. 

Get the right tools for the job

Identifying that a better understanding of customers and continual monitoring of agent performance can increase first call resolution rates is one thing, but effectively implementing these strategies is another entirely.

Whilst contact centres can manually carry out these processes by “listening in” to customer-agent interactions, this is time-consuming and fails to capture all of the relevant insights on offer. Fortunately, contact centres can deploy cutting-edge tools and software that make this a thing of the past.

Two examples of how software can be deployed to enhance FCR performance come in the form of:

  • Speech analytics: With this software, contact centres can analyse every call, email and message their agents deal with. As a result, it becomes much easier to understand customers’ demand and identify improvements that can bolster overall contact centre performance.
  • Dynamic call scripting: The latest scripting tools can help guide agents through every call to deliver the right information at the right time while providing an exceptional customer experience. This can not only increase brand loyalty and reduce training time, but it also helps agents resolve more queries on first contact. 

If technology holds the key to increasing FCR rates in contact centres, choosing the right provider is crucial. That’s where Awaken can help.

Drive improved first call resolution rates

Using our leadership team’s decades of experience, at Awaken, we’re committed to providing contact centres with technology that helps them listen to customers, better understand how to improve performance and guide their agents.

Using our cost-effective, flexible software that seamlessly integrates with your legacy systems with minimal disruption to the agent or customer experience, your contact centre can:

  • Unlock actionable insights that help drive improvements and efficiencies
  • Support agents to provide a service that goes above and beyond industry standards

So, if you’re ready to start improving your contact centres FCR performance by providing your customers with the level of service they deserve, book a demo with us today.

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