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First Call Resolution: why measuring it doesn’t always mean managing it!

I came across an article about First Call Resolution (FCR) on Call Centre Helper recently and couldn't help wondering why so many of the biggest contact centre challenges just don’t seem to go away.

FCR is a case in point. It’s pretty much common knowledge these days that FCR is really about repeat contact. Yet we are still spending too much time talking about measuring FCR, when what we should really be doing is solving the problem.

So, this is definitely not going to be yet another article about how to measure FCR. But if you really are interested in making repeat contacts go away, the three steps below are designed to help:

1. Understand what is driving customer behaviour.

Most contact centres have quality monitoring programmes to measure agent performance. They collect lots of data about contact centre metrics, but rarely combine the qualitative and quantitative data to really understand what’s driving customer behaviour. For example if an agent has a high or low FCR performance, listen to some of the calls and you’ll pick up lots of actionable insights about how well your processes are meeting customer needs.

2. Empower your agents to own the problem.

Yes I know ‘agent empowerment’ is easier said than done, but time and time again I encounter agents whose ability to resolve problems is simply sabotaged by internal processes. Effectively the real solution to FCR is to redesign your contact centre processes around the needs of your customers. If your agent is rewarded for FCR rather than, for example, call handling time, they will get to own the problem – if you empower your agents to resolve the problem they will give you the answers and the key to resolving the customer’s enquiry first time. I’ve seen contact centre environments where this approach has totally transformed the culture while driving up call centre performance across the board.

3. Be straight with your customers.

It can be frustrating to deal with a contact centre, particularly if your call is transferred from agent to agent. Don’t fob your customers off and encourage your agents to share this attitude. A customer who understands why his problem can’t be solved immediately but knows that someone is taking ownership of the problem and is talking to them like a real person, could become one of your biggest advocates. This is one of the most direct routes I know to building brand loyalty – something that many organisations spend millions on, without making any real impact.

So, if you want to see change in your contact centre, remember the old adage, ‘If you want to change the outcome, first change the behaviour.’