Your customers want answers and they want them now! A recent Forester study title "Money On The Table: Proof That Customer Service Drives Revenue" found that increasing first call resolution (FCR) can lead to customers increasing their spend with you by $2,003. Even the smallest of businesses can create substantial revenue growth by improving this one key metric.
FCR measures the percentage of customer inquiries or issues that are resolved on the first contact with a customer service representative. Here are some effective ways to increase FCR:
1. Agent Training and Knowledge Management
Ensure your customer service agents are well-trained and have access to up-to-date knowledge bases and be sure to provide ongoing training to keep agents informed about new products, services, and policies so that agents can give the right answers every time.
Better yet, provide them with tools that automatically mine your knowledge bases and push relevant information to your agents based on real time transcripts of your customers calls.
2. Empower Agents
Give agents the authority and tools they need to resolve issues without transferring customers to other departments and encourage them to take ownership of customer problems and follow through until they are resolved.
Nothing is worse than making a customer hold to get a supervisor to take an action to address a problem because your first line customer experience agents aren't trusted to take the steps necessary to resolve a customer issue.
3. Implement Effective Call Routing
Use artificial intelligence (AI) to route calls more effectively. Direct calls to the most qualified agents based on their expertise and the nature of the issue.
Using outdated IVRs can make it difficult to identify the right agent for fear of creating too many levels in an IVR tree. By replacing IVRs with natural language processing (NLP) we can let customers describe the issue they are calling about the same way they would to an agent. Coupling this with AI based call routing can make sure customers land with the right agent to solve their problems the first time.
4. Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
CRM systems help agents access customer history and information quickly, enabling them to provide more personalized and efficient support.
A robust CRM system also let's you push important information about a customer and potential resolutions to common issues to your agents before they even answer the call. You can really turbocharge getting the agent the right information to solve a problem by implementing an NLP based call routing system that already understands the customers primary issue and presents potential solutions to the agent proactively.
For example, your CRM shows your customer just ordered your newest phone and when asked to describe the issue they are calling about, in place of an IVR, they say "my phone is overheating". By the time your agent answers the call you can already push a knowledgebase article that addresses common causes of overheating for the specific phone model your customer just purchased.
5. Analyze Call Data
Regularly analyze call data to identify common issues and their root causes. This can help you implement long-term solutions to prevent recurring problems. Simple word clouds built from call transcripts can help you figure out the reasons driving customer issues.
You may find that your new line of clothing runs small according to your customers and that the fabric is causing people to have an allergic reaction. Gathering these insights quickly can allow you to adjust your product before your new product line struggles under the weight of poor online reviews.
6. Implement Self-Service Options
Offer self-service options such as FAQs, knowledge bases, and chatbots to allow customers to find answers on their own. In many instances customers prefer self-service options. Amazon found that customers had a 3 to 1 preference for using automated systems to check order status over a live agent.
7. Set Realistic Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Ensure that SLAs are achievable and align with your team's capabilities. Unrealistic SLAs can lead to unnecessary escalations. The time to reconsider your religious adherence to AHT goals has long passed. Lowering AHT is often done at the expense of decreasing FCR.
8. Create a Knowledge Sharing Culture
Encourage agents to share successful problem-solving techniques and best practices with their colleagues. To foster a collaborative environment that promotes knowledge exchange consider programs that allow agents to nominate other agents for awards or other perks.
9. Cross-Train Agents
Often the cause of not resolving a problem on first contact is that all the agents properly skilled to handle the issue were engaged on other calls and the call was routed to an agent that isn't as highly skilled.
Contact centers are often performing a delicate dance between long hold times for customers and getting them to right agent. Cross-train agents in multiple areas to increase their ability to handle a variety of issues without escalation.
Better yet, invest in tools that guide the agents and provide the knowledge they need to resolve the issue without requiring extensive additional training. AI based agent assist software can suggest next best actions, surface the appropriate knowledge to the agent at the right moment, and provide helpful step by step instructions based on real time transcriptions of the call.
Ready to learn more about increasing first call resolution and find the tools that can make a real difference? Contact us here.