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First Contact Resolution – the key metric.

Resolving a customer’s problem quickly, and with minimal effort on the part of the customer is something almost all customer service operations strive toward. Having worked with leading brands in retail, financial services and utilities over the last fifteen years, we’ve found that First Contact Resolution is always towards the top of a Customer Service Director’s list of objectives.

It’s for good reason that First Contact Resolution (FCR) is one of the most important metrics for measuring overall contact centre performance. Honing FCR can bring multiple benefits: increasing sales, reducing costs, improving customer loyalty and raising staff satisfaction.

The question then is how to improve First Contact Resolution?

  1. First and foremost, support your agents to actually resolve issues. Give them access to the information and systems they need.
  2. Next, make sure you can quickly identify repeat contacts and their root cause. Whether it is agents, systems, processes or policies causing the problem, you need to quickly identify what is causing the repeat before you can do anything about it. Having a system that identifies repeat contacts and enables you to quickly analyse root cause is imperative.
  3. Finally, measure FCR to track progress as you implement improvements.

Of course, in practice, it’s not as straight-forward as putting three simple steps in place. There are lots of things to consider along the way.

Having implemented more than our fair share of First Contact Resolution programmes, here’s a few things to think about:

  • The fastest way of reducing repeats is to focus at agent level – Repeats driven by agents providing vague timescales for example can be addressed through an effective quality and coaching framework.
  • To help this activity, an ability to measure and track FCR at agent-level can have an almost instant impact on performance. Whilst all agents are subject to the same system and process issues, high performers can invariably deliver an FCR performance 10-15% higher than the average.
  • Repeats driven by process and policy can be minimised by agents providing consistent, clear messages around company policy. As customers, we’ve all come off a call where a policy has been explained to us in an unconvincing manner and we’ve felt the need to call back to clarify with someone else.
  • Repeats driven by system / billing errors can be the hardest to address, but again, agents can play an important role – they know exactly what system issues are causing repeats – you just need an effective process for asking them to feedback issues and ideas for improvement.

Whether you’re just embarking on your first contact resolution programme or it’s already a fully embedded culture, knowing that FCR has such an impact on almost all other performance metrics makes the effort worthwhile.