First call resolution (FCR) is a crucial metric for customer experience and satisfaction. Call centers aim to provide excellent customer service and reduce costs. Improving FCR is essential. To begin, it’s important to understand the basics: What is FCR? What is considered good FCR? And how significant is FCR?
Lowering Customer Churn
Many customers first try to resolve their inquiries through self-service, but if they are unable to do so, they then contact support with the hope of receiving a quick resolution.
When a customer’s inquiry remains unresolved during their initial call, there is an increased chance that they will seek assistance from your competitors.
Having a clear comprehension of FCR calculation is important for improving its rate.
Understanding First Call Resolution
First call resolution is a metric that calculates the proportion of support requests that customer service agents successfully address during the initial interaction. It’s important to note that these requests can pertain to pre-sales or post-sales.
Here is an example: In March, a business received 500 support requests. Of those, 481 were resolved during the initial encounter while 19 required follow-up or escalation. The first call resolution rate for March was calculated at 96.2% based on these numbers (481/500 x 100).
Good First Call Resolution
The call center industry has a benchmark average of 70% for first call resolution, but this number may vary depending on the industry. Research shows that the retail industry has the highest FCR at 78%, followed by insurance at 76%, financial services at 71%, and technical support at 65%.
While agents may aim to improve first call resolution rates by prolonging customer calls, it’s important to note that this approach could have a negative impact on both average handle time (AHT) and overall productivity.
The contact center FCR Rates of businesses in different sectors may vary due to factors like capacity, technology, and their prioritization of first call resolution and customer experience.
While it is ideal for all businesses to prioritize customer satisfaction, it is a reality that not all do. Some businesses excel at providing exceptional customer service, while others view it as a mere obligation.
Importance of First Call Resolution
- If customer issues are consistently resolved on the first encounter, 67% say they will stay with a company.
- For every 1% increase in CFR, there is a 1% increase in customer satisfaction (CSAT), and a 1% decrease in operating costs.
- Successful first call resolution increases the chances that a customer will purchase an additional product or service by 20%.
- Improving the first call resolution rate can have a positive impact on customer experience and their lifetime value.
In fact, simply keeping a close eye on FCR can dramatically improve the bottom line! Research finds that 60% of businesses that measure first call resolution for a year or more report up to a 30% increase in company performance.
Improving First Call Resolution
Now that we have looked at the importance and value of a first call resolution, let us focus on 5 ways to improve first call resolution RATE:
Importance of a Cloud Contact Center
There are several powerful ways that a cloud contact center improves first call resolution. For example, customer service agents can:
- Use the live call transfer feature to shift calls across devices (e.g., desk phone to mobile phone), allowing them to continue the conversation while on the go vs. putting customers on hold or asking them to call back later.
- Use the presence feature to see if a colleague is available before transferring a call (“the best team member here to fully answer your important technical question is Eric, and I can see that he is available to speak to you, so with your permission I’d like to transfer your call directly to him”).
- Sending follow-up emails to unhappy customers provides insight into their concerns and uncovers possibilities for improvements and solutions. Doing this has a success rate of 68%. This simple step can go a long way toward turning an unhappy customer into a satisfied customer.
- Use the messaging feature to chat with a colleague in the background, to provide customers with accurate and updated information.
(“thank you for providing me with your order number, I have just been in touch with our shipping department and they have confirmed that your order was shipped this morning, and here is the tracking number for your reference”).
- Access CRM data in real-time to see a customer’s purchase and interaction history.(“Please do not worry about finding the exact model number and date of your last purchase, I can see here that it is model X249-E, and the purchase date was November 23, 2022”).
Furthermore, cloud contact centers feature Auto Attendant, enabling customers to self-direct their call to the correct individual/team — which in turn can significantly improve both first call resolution and time to resolution (i.e. the amount of time that it takes for a customer issue to be resolved). Making it simpler to get answers helps a great deal in customer relationship management.
Find Blocks and Bottlenecks
It is possible that a relatively low — or just plain bad —FCR Rate may be driven by one or two factors. For example, customers may be misled by outdated information on a web page or in a knowledge base. Performing post-call surveys can uncover these blocks and bottlenecks, which can then be corrected accordingly. Using customer feedback will give you tremendous insight into identifying and fixing issues.
Ensure Problems are Resolved
Ultimately, it is customers who determine whether an issue is resolved. As such, agents should do a final check to confirm that there are no additional matters. For example, agents can say:
“I am very happy that I was able to serve you today. Can you please let me know if I have fully resolved your issue?”
In most cases, the happy customer will say “yes.” But there will be some situations where the customer will not fully understand that their issue has been resolved, at which point the agent can explain that it has). Or, the customer may decide/recall that they have an additional issue. This is another reason customer feedback is so important.
Follow the 3 Cs: Clear, Concise, and Consistent
Customer service agents need to practice active listening and know how to ask intelligent, practical questions that budge conversations toward a successful resolution. The three key pillars to keep in mind are clarity, conciseness, and consistency.
Sometimes, it is necessary to ask the same set of questions, but in different ways in order to fully understand the issue or issues, and grasp what the customer wants to happen. Granted, this can be much easier said than done, and not all customers will be reasonable, rational, or respectful. However, appropriate training and resources can significantly improve resolution rates while improving the experience for both customers and agents alike. Everyone wins!
Remember to Praise Agents
Research has found that a staggering 87% of call center workers reported “high” or “very high” levels of stress in their workplace, and more than 50% said they felt emotionally drained, suffered sleep problems, and felt burnout. Naturally, expecting these workers to give their very best consistently is not just unrealistic but unfair. We are talking about human beings here, not machines!
One surprisingly effective way to support top performers and keep standards high is simply by showing more gratitude. Separate research has found that 75% of employees acknowledged their motivation and morale would improve if their manager simply thanked them more often for a job well done.
Improving first call resolution is not a one-time effort. It is an ongoing process and commitment because customer expectations are always changing — and businesses need to stay ahead of the curve, or they risk being left behind.
The advice shared above will help your business set the pace and lead the way. Always remember: if you don’t take GREAT care of your customers, then sooner or later, someone else will! You want to delight customers whenever possible!
See our cloud call center solution in action, and discover how to improve first call resolution and overall customer satisfaction in your business. Contact Carolina Digital Phone now and schedule your free live guided demo. Call us now at (336) 544-4400