First contact resolution is the watchword for modern customer service.
Once known as first call resolution, it has evolved alongside customer support to cover all channels from live chat to email.
No matter how you approach FCR, every customer depends on it.
After all, anyone calling in with an issue wants it resolved ASAP. Failing to do so might lose you the customer.
Microsoft reports that 95% of all customers base their brand loyalty upon their customer service experience.
Unfortunately, earning loyalty is not free.
If you’re not focussing on cranking up your first contact resolution rate, you’re decreasing customer satisfaction and increasing churn.
You should be doing the opposite.
What’s causing poor FCR?
The industry average for good FCR is between 70% and 75%. Anything below 40% is considered low.
If your FCR is lower than you’d like it to be, you need to evaluate why. Try to:
Analyse customer request logs
Your system data will show you which requests take more support interactions to resolve. Doing so can assist you in readjusting your FCR for more realistic goals or beef up your support processes.
Track reopen rates for issues
Reopen rates can warp FCR accuracy. Customers can come right back after getting a resolution. This could be because the instructions were overwhelming, incorrectly followed, or led to a related issue.
Look for other root causes
Read customer feedback for systemic or repetitive issues you can fix. Ask your agents about any internal roadblocks that cause unnecessary callbacks and leave no stone unturned.
8 ways to improve FCR
Once you’ve reviewed your system data, identified where to make adjustments, and addressed feedback, there’s more to come.
Lucky for you, the following strategic tips can help you improve your first contact resolution rate – without the headache.
1. Hire the right people for the job
👉 Start at the beginning by recruiting people with the right skills.
Not everyone has it in them to become a good customer service rep. For a brilliant service experience, you need high-quality talent.
(Like our candidates. 😉)
2. Help customers help themselves
👉 Identify common issues and create easy-to-use self-service options.
Well-designed chatbots, FAQs, and knowledge libraries are great ways to resolve simple requests and speed up solutions.
3. Reach out before customers do
👉 Be proactive and inform your customers about ongoing issues.
When you have trending or known issues, offer a workaround and resolution updates. The best FCR is solving customer problems before they complain.
4. Streamline customer issues
👉 Integrate skills-based routing into your customer service strategy.
Specialised agents can handle specific types of customer issues faster. If customers can reach you on all channels via a single platform, no existing issues will show as new.
5. Empower your agents
👉 Trust your team to handle things that reduce delays or escalations.
Whether it’s refunds, returns, discounts, or freebies, skilled customer service agents will go out of their way to keep customers satisfied.
6. Don’t rush your team
👉 Give your team the time to focus on resolutions.
You can’t achieve FCR with strict rules on average handling time. AHT makes agents focus on closing requests faster without resolving them.
If upset customers come back because they still have an issue, you’ll lose FCR.
7. Provide effective training
👉 Offer regular coaching, evaluations, and re-training to keep your team performing well.
You don’t have to treat your agents like students, but even computer screens have a refresh rate. Check up on what your team knows from time to time.
8. Update your tools and processes
👉 Review your procedures, tools, and resources at regular intervals.
Trash whatever is outdated or broken, and adopt newer outlooks that help solve things better. Help your agents help customers quickly, so everyone wins.
Keep an eye on your FCR
Consistently high FCR keeps your customers happy.
Not just by reducing the number of times they call you back but also by reducing the number of times they have to call.
According to The Ascent Group, you can improve your performance by up to 30% by measuring FCR.
Make FCR your prime focus when handling customer issues, and you’re sure to leave your competitors behind.
The bottom line is that good FCR increases your bottom line, which is what perfect customer service is.