August 27, 2017 | By

8 Best Practices For First Call Resolution

When it comes to customer service, agents and representatives are the first line of defense for any company. Whether it’s a staff member handling questions via live chat or an agent soothing a frustrated caller, how these moments play out will determine brand loyalty and ultimately long-term viability of a company.  Here are 8 ways to ensure a customer gets what they need the first time around: 

1. Ensure Quick Response Time

60% of customers believe that one minute on hold is too long to wait to speak to customer service. Waiting on hold, especially listening to recorded messages which say how important and valuable the call is, can actually create a situation where your customer is more frustrated than they were before they picked up the phone.
Your AHT (average handling time) can be kept low by introducing call-back options, giving other channels for support such as live chat, or increasing self-service options on your website, allowing customers to troubleshoot for themselves.

2.Empower Employees

As the first contact, your call center agents are often the most valuable members of staff in your company. So why in so many cases are they left without the information they need to do a first-class job? The right knowledge management solution can give your agents the tools they need to support customers quickly and effectively. Information will be presented to them at their fingertips so that the customer is never left waiting while the right file is found or another staff member is tracked down.

3. Consider Live Chat

As well as a way to improve call center handling times, live chat is also the preferred contact method of 79% of customers. Most report this is because of how quickly they can get answers, with the average time for resolution as little as 42 seconds. Offering live chat has become essential if you want to stay relevant. Low-level queries are more likely to be handled by chat, leaving your phone agents to deal with more complex issues. If you’re worried about the expense of manning live chat around the clock, why not look into a chatbot solution?

4. Offer Seamless Bot to Human Support

If you do decide to support your human agents with Artificial Intelligence options, it’s essential to make sure that your human staff have the knowledge and ability to step in seamlessly when necessary. Customers can become frustrated easily, and after one or two negative responses from a chat bot, it’s time for escalation. The right support software can move your customers from a chat bot to a human agent in the same channel, whether that’s the website widget, mobile app, or even a messenger tool on social media. The whole process is seamless, achieving ultimate customer satisfaction with minimal effort.

5. Focus on Customer Satisfaction

The fact is that bad news travels fast. Customers are far more likely to tell their friends about a bad experience than a good one. In fact, a story of bad customer service will usually be retold between 9 and 15 times. It’s essential that your agents have the ability to go above and beyond for your customers, creating customer service wins out of frustrating situations.

6. Keep tabs on FCR Success

It’s not enough to feel like you’re doing a good job. Keeping track of the rate of FCR can actually improve your performance, according to research by The Ascent Group. They showed that companies who measured their FCR for a year saw improvements of up to 30%. Measuring performance can include setting incentive goals for call center staff, retraining agents for success, or even setting more realistic goals for customers if that stands out as an issue.

7. Offer Multi Channel Fluidity

Customers aren’t always going to reach out the same way, and a customer who called to place an order last week might want to check on its delivery date from their mobile phone, or even ask on live chat whether something can be added on. Your comprehensive knowledge management system should be able to work holistically to cover all channels, with no delay or lag on customer or product information, no matter where the queries are coming from.

8.Talk to the Customer

It’s important to get feedback from the customers themselves to ensure that the situation has been successfully resolved. A customer who asks to speak to a manager or one who angrily removes their business is clearly a failure of FCR. But did you know that 96% of unhappy customers won’t complain and 91% of those will simply leave? Any interaction with your customers is an opportunity to find out how they feel and what you could be doing better, so don’t miss your chance.

There are no second chances when it comes to first call response success. This metric is essential for discovering how effective your staff and processes are in creating happy customers. By giving your customers multiple channels for outreach, and by empowering your agents with the knowledge and responses they need, you’re bound to see a measurable improvement in both performance and loyalty.

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