How to Hit the Customer Experience Homerun with First Call Resolution

Customer satisfaction is a sure shot to business success. Every leading entrepreneur worth his salt, from Jack Ma to Bill Gates, agrees.

One of the key metrics to measure customer experience is the rate of first call resolution or the ability of a company’s support staff to solve a customer problem on the very first call without further escalation or transfers. According to an SQM Group report, on average, customer satisfaction drops by 15% every time they have to follow up on the same issue. On the flip side, with every 1% improvement in FCR, customer satisfaction rises 1% as well.

Additionally, better FCR also reduces the cost of repeated calls and improves the company’s overall service quality by leaps and bounds. As per the Ascent Group, FCR measurement can also improve revenues – its study found that 44% of businesses that kept track of FCR for over a year clocked in an average annual gain of 3%.

First Call Resolution = Total Number of First Support Calls Resolved X 100
Total Number of Calls Received
High FCRs, coupled with low talk time on every call is the dream in customer experience management.

Roadblocks in FCR and How to Navigate Them

While a 100% FCR may be the goal, sometimes, customer issues can be complex. For instance, a company that sells highly technical products may typically be prone to more troubleshooting issues than one selling a simpler product. The attending agent may be unfamiliar with certain facets of the product or service, which subsequently leads to more call transfers or incomplete resolution.

While regular training sessions with customer agents to improve their knowledge base and problem-solving capabilities is one part of tackling that issue, it is also important to empower them. For businesses that outsource their customer management, lack of data access due to poor confidentiality policies or system inadequacies can hinder grievance resolution. Businesses need to ensure that frontline customer support staff are given access to all the information they require to solve an issue on hand.

Having a knowledge-centric support system and a strong collaboration tool that allows support personnel to share their experiences and demands internally will improve FCR. One way to achieve this would be to have an information portal that is constantly updated with new product and policy developments, thereby effectively smashing data knowledge silos.

Easy flow of information can also help identify common queries can that become the basis for root-cause analysis. Instead of resolving issues on a case-by-case basis, identifying and eliminating the root of the problem can reduce grievances while also improving product quality. For non-fixable issues that recur across customers, an FAQ or standardized responses list can be the way to go.

As with everything else, technology can play a vital role in FCR as well. A robust call routing system, powered by automatic call distribution or interactive voice response that efficiently directs the customer to relevant support agents, can do wonders to reduce repeat calls. As can intelligent analytics platforms with new-age features like speech analytics that will ease other issues such as language barriers.

Taking Control

In customer experience management, it is important to proactively identify weak spots in the support system and work towards fixing them. Once common issues have been identified, knowledge gaps and training deficiencies fixed, and the right policies implemented, improved FCR rates will follow. Happy and satisfied customers will be a natural outcome.


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