Call center managers are constantly looking for metrics to improve their agents' performance. First call resolution has come front and center in that regard, and for good reason: According to Deloitte, customers identify FCR as one of the top 3 most important factors when rating their satisfaction. Companies are creating more programs to monitor FCR, but how can you beat the competition and improve that metric without buying any additional technology?
Focus on your agents to improve FCR
1. Lower turnover rate: In customer service roles, turnover can be as high as 35 percent according to HR magazine. Call centers pay the price, with 41.8 percent of these businesses losing at least $25,000 per year due to churn, as noted by International Customer Management Institute's Annual Report. High turnover can also cause additional lost revenue due to lower first call resolution rates: New agents that are unfamiliar with your product may leave customers feeling frustrated and unwilling to work with your company in the future.
This turnover may occur for several reasons. One of the most important is an improper fit between agents and call centers. To help reduce turnover, call centers need individuals with the emotional makeup that will succeed in an environment that is, for many, extremely stressful. Employees that are a good fit—and therefore stay longer—can draw from their training and on-the-job experience to more successfully resolve first calls with customers when compared to newer representatives.
2. Empower your employees: Strong, empathetic leaders give their employees the opportunity to find creative solutions. And in an age where customers still long to speak to a human being, not a machine, employee empowerment can go a long way when looking to boost FCR. In practice, that means setting aside enough time to make sure your agents are fully trained and pairing them with a mentor that can work with agents daily to give them real-time feedback when resolving issues on first calls.
3. Play a Game: Ah, gamification. We've discussed this topic before on EO, including how it can improve call center performance. But did you know that call center managers can go low-tech with this, like using a whiteboard? Your goal is to rouse a bit of competitive spirit amongst your agents. For those that prefer the tech route, there are many programs that motivate agents to score well on metrics like first call resolution. The challenge with gamification, as our past EO article mentioned, is to find the right mix of business goals and incentives agents will respond to.
First call resolution is clearly an important metric that offers insight into customer satisfaction. However, Deloitte's survey—while placing FCR in the top 3—showed customers rated the accuracy of information as a much more important attribute. While it is important to monitor first FCR, full customer satisfaction is a multi-faceted process with no quick fix. Looking to your people and improving their wellbeing will likely contribute to higher first call resolution rates.
How will you improve your first call resolution?