How to Improve Your First Call Resolution Rate

min read
How to Improve Your First Call Resolution Rate

For contact centers, as McKinsey & Company points out, focus on customer experience (CX), cost optimization, and revenue maximization is instrumental to achieving long-term performance excellence. Therefore, first call resolution (FCR), a measure of how quickly and effectively your agents can address customer issues, is a critical metric.

Modern-day enterprises, in addition to calculating FCR, are also making CX improvements that boost their FCR to increase contact center efficiency. In this blog, we will discuss what FCR is, how to quantify it, and the processes you can put in place to achieve an industry-standard benchmark.

What Is First Call Resolution Rate?

The first call resolution rate is the ability of a contact center team to meet a customer’s needs when the first contact is established. By measuring FCR, you can extrapolate the efficiency of your contact center, and monitor how committed your agents are to ensuring customer satisfaction. In fact, research shows that 60% of businesses that keep tabs on their FCR for more than a year observe up to 30% improvement in their performance.

A high FCR rate, combined with low talk time, means your agents are quick to offer a resolution that requires no follow-up for most customers. On the other hand, a low FCR rate means your customers often have to go out of their way to receive the right assistance from you—for example, the hold time is too long, and they end up calling back a few times before being connected to an actual person. Or, the service ticket was closed on call despite the proposed solution not working.

A first call resolution rate between 70% to 75% is considered 'good' by industry standards, which means no more than 30% of customers should have to call you back regarding the same issue. That being said, your FCR estimate might differ depending on your industry and how complex your product is.

Let's take a look at how you can improve first call resolution, and the technologies that can help your customer service team drive better results.

1. Create an Informative Knowledge Base for Your Customers  

Often, customers will call you with the same questions, and it can be helpful to have clear, concise documentation at hand that addresses the most commonly-faced product issues. By investing in a comprehensive knowledge base, you are essentially creating an online library of self-service solutions that people can refer to for general how-to and support queries. Depending on your industry, you can also offer an online forum where they can get answers from their peers. When customers can find the necessary information online, they are less likely to overwhelm your contact center allowing your agents to focus on high-value calls.

2. Service Callers More Efficiently With Intelligent Call Routing

The larger your company and the range of your offerings, the wider the range of customer service inquiries you will receive. To reduce the number of times a call is transferred between agents, it's important to implement a call routing framework rooted in intent or inquiry type. For example, you want someone facing billing issues to be routed directly to the finance department, instead of making a stop at the technical support or customer success team.

Invoca allows you to streamline your call routing in real time by using first-party intent data (like Google search keywords, website clickstream info, and other digital identifiers). The website tag captures numerous privacy-friendly digital intent data points as customers explore your website that can be used to inform routing.

Let's consider a scenario where the customer wants to cancel their order or subscription. They land on your cancellation page and call the number listed there. Invoca can use this data to automatically patch the customer through to the retention department to prevent them from jumping ship. Here, instead of making people increasingly frustrated with an IVR, you're anticipating their needs and potentially decreasing churn.

3. Capture Insights from Phone Conversations to Learn Common Problems

Conversation intelligence software like Invoca's Signal AI collects data-driven insights that highlight the motivations of individual callers (intent, outcomes, urgency, etc). When integrated with other technology platforms, including CRMs, ad platforms, and digital experience solutions, this information can be easily passed on to revenue-generating teams to facilitate real-time actionable results. For example, when marketing and customer experience teams have a steady stream of data on phone conversations from the contact center, they can optimize their digital campaigns and update the website to deflect calls.

For example, VITAS Healthcare used Signal AI to get a clearer picture of call activity, including words and phrases used on calls (by the families or referral sources) that convert to referrals. Previously, they were relying on call centers to relay this information and that was proven to be inaccurate. VITAS discovered a major disconnect between what people actually say on calls, and what they assumed people say. With Signal AI, they learned how customers actually described their services; the information helped them identify high-value SEO keywords and PPC queries to optimize their campaigns.

4. Automate Call QA to Get an Unbiased View of Agent Performance

Contact center QA is crucial to improving customer experience, boosting revenue, and minimizing operational costs while adhering to industry regulations. By automating QA, you are essentially compiling data about individual agents' productivity, including FCR metrics, to gauge the overall contact center effectiveness. You can analyze what makes high-performing agents successful, and implement improvement measures for agents registering low FCR rates.

Ideally, you should monitor, analyze, and score all your calls to identify blind spots, however, that's extremely time-consuming, if not impossible, when done manually. As a result, most managers evaluate only a small sample of calls, resulting in an inaccurate view of the agents’ performance.

Instances of explicit favoritism or bias may be observed, as the person responsible for scoring calls may dole out preferential treatment based on their perception of individual agents. Additionally, human error can come into play; making a fair, objective assessment, after considering all the complexities and nuances of a customer conversation, is not an easy feat.

To create an accurate, scalable, and effective QA process, one must turn to automation, and define a call scoring criteria that quantifies an agent's call handling ability. Invoca uses AI-powered speech analytics to evaluate all calls against your core KPIs, even if they are transferred to an external destination. As a result, you can review the recordings, transcripts, and scores right after a call ends, and identify agents that require further coaching.

5. Use In-Platform Coaching to Help Agents Reach Their Full Potential

It's not uncommon for contact centers to treat agent coaching as a one-way street; agents are told what they are doing wrong and how they can improve. Not only is this a rather demoralizing experience for the agents, but it's also inefficient, as you are spending more time micro-managing employees than getting to the root cause of the problem.

With Invoca's automated call scoring, agents can access their call scorecards, transcripts, and recordings. They can pinpoint any obvious weaknesses and easily level up their performance. Supervisors and QA leadership can share coaching tips, tricks, and best practices with the agents, or other departments through the Invoca platform.

Additionally, Invoca's conversation intelligence can analyze all your agent-customer conversations for non-compliant language. Since the analytics are shared immediately after the call ends, you can address these compliance issues right away, before they get out of hand.

The Results of Increased FCR

Depending on the industry you're in and the products/services you offer, the FCR might be affected by several factors—however, by providing easy access to problem-solving information, empowering agents with cross-training, and implementing cutting-edge content center technology, you can boost your contact center effectiveness. With improved FCR, you reduce operating costs, increase agent productivity, and ultimately, create a seamless customer service experience.

Book a personalized demo today to learn how you can use conversation intelligence to improve your FCR.

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