What’s the big deal about first contact resolution? Why are companies so focused on it? And how does it affect your work as a remote customer service representative?
We all have better things to do than open live chats time and time again. Even with nothing else to do, playing Candy Crush might still rate higher on your list.
Forbes reports more than a third of customers would prefer cleaning a toilet to contacting customer service.
And that’s just the first time around. 💀
Why FCR matters in remote customer service
The most important thing you can do as a customer service agent is value a customer’s time.
Fixing issues in one shot is crucial for any company’s service quality and customer satisfaction.
But first contact resolution also influences a customer’s brand loyalty.
This is especially true in online customer support, where people are used to instant gratification and expect immediate solutions.
It’s why the best customer service companies always aim at reducing customer effort. So that, unlike the postman, the customer doesn’t ring twice.
But what can a high FCR rate do for you?
How does high FCR benefit you?
As a remote customer support representative, the most important part of your job will be solving issues within FCR.
It’s one of the key performance indicators your managers will evaluate you on, so you can’t afford to let it slip.
But improving your FCR helps you in many other important ways.
Besides the personal satisfaction of a job well done, keeping a consistently high FCR rate can give you:
- Higher customer satisfaction ratings (another important KPI)
- Work expertise that qualifies you for higher roles
- Bonuses and rewards as per your company’s policy
- Kudos from your team lead and peers
- And fewer frustrating repeat calls from customers
8 best practices to improve your FCR
Luckily, improving first call resolution is just a matter of hitting your stride by sticking to these tried and true methods:
1. Respond quickly to customer inquiries
You should never keep a customer waiting for a reply. They might assume you haven’t seen their inquiry and try contacting you again, negating FCR.
💪 Pro tip: Keep your customer in the loop if you need to look up information that may take more time.
If you do this, they won’t abandon a chat out of radio silence or message again because they haven’t heard from you in a while.
2. Script ready answers to common problems
Why reply from scratch every time a customer reaches out?
Canned replies can help you solve common or routine issues and are a great way to avoid mistakes and resolve them accurately within FCR.
💪 Pro tip: Make sure your readymade replies are simple and easy to follow.
If you do so, you won’t get confused customers calling back. (Especially if your solution contains troubleshooting instructions or directions).
3. Scan your internal knowledge base regularly
Your company’s resource library should have plenty of answers to customer queries. Why not re-read from time to time to strengthen what you know?
💪 Pro tip: Bookmark important pages and sections using for quick access to info.
When you know where to find information when chatting with a customer, you can resolve issues in one go.
4. Check system data before talking with the customer
It’s good practice to learn as much as possible about a customer query before your interaction.
After all, you’re far more likely to resolve issues faster by avoiding confusion from customers who might not be able to explain what they mean.
💪 Pro tip: Go through logged data before saying, “Hello, how can I help you today?”
Data logged by chatbots, chosen self-help topics, and a customer’s entire account history will be on your system already.
5. Understand the issue thoroughly
Asking your customer clear questions to identify their problem is the only way to find the right solution and solve it within FCR.
Misdiagnosing issues means customers will be back before you know it because your solution didn’t work.
💪 Pro tip: Assume nothing. If a customer is unclear, keep digging with simple yes and no questions.
There might even be issues that, if unidentified, will help kiss your FCR goodbye.
6. Clarify what you’re going to do
Once you’ve got a complete picture of what’s wrong, let the customer know your next steps.
(This way, they’ll know what to expect and have the chance to tell you if anything’s missing from your report.)
💪 Pro tip: Outline everything you’ve identified as the issue.
Repeat all your points back to the customer, so they agree that’s the sum of it.
7. Stay on point and be clear
Customers can get overwhelmed trying to follow complex instructions or too many actions at once.
A successful first call resolution lies in your ability to narrow down why a customer is contacting you.
💪 Pro tip: Guide your customer with clear and easy-to-follow directions.
Have a set of clear directions, and explain what you’ve shared. Make sure your customer confirms they understand.
(It makes them less likely to call again for more support on the same topic.)
Sign off with a flourish
When you’ve resolved an issue within the first contact, you might feel a particular kind of sweetness.
That’s the personal satisfaction of a job well done.
If your interaction was friendly and successful, your customer probably feels pretty sweet, too.
End with a warm request for the customer to consider rating the quality of your support on the customer satisfaction survey they might receive.
Happy customers are most likely to give you a high CSAT score, awarding you a double-win.
After all, once you’ve asked your customer what you can do for them — and done it — there’s also a little something they can do for you. 😉