Happy, satisfied customers lead to long-term loyalty, product or service recommendations, and, ultimately, more dollars for your company. Customer satisfaction is often affected by the customer service that you provide, especially when something goes wrong along the way.
Zendesk wanted to dig deeply into customers’ beliefs about what leads to positive or negative customer service experiences. They discovered that 69% of customers equated quick resolutions with positive outcomes. Conversely, for bad experiences, 65% of customers blamed slow resolutions.
Customers want any issues that come up with your company’s products or services resolved quickly, thoroughly, and clearly. They don’t want to call, be put on hold, or be passed from agent to agent. They want to call, have their problem solved, and move on with their day.
First Call Resolution (FCR) rates are an excellent metric in your toolbox for keeping track of your call centers ability to satisfy customers quickly and completely. FCR logs when customer problems are resolved within the first phone call, with no follow up calls required.
Defining Your First Call Resolution Rates
First Call Resolution is one of the measurements you should absolutely use to track the effectiveness of your customer service. The call-center company SQM Group claims that every 1% improvement in your FCR correlates to a 1% increase in your customer satisfaction.
Because of the complicated factors involved in measuring FCR, you must first define several variables. And once you have made your definitions, stay consistent when tracking the changes in your FCR percentages over time.
One of the first steps to take before determining your First Call Resolution is how you define a first call. Does it include escalation to higher support? What happens when a customer makes a mistake in what number they call first or how they answer your survey? Is it the first contact with the company, or specifically the first call to your customer support center.
Another variable is your reopen rate. FCR is supposed to measure customer satisfaction with the resolution of an issue. If the customer has to call back and reopen the case, then this should not be part of your First Call Resolution percentage. Most companies set a 24-48 hour window from the initial call before logging it in the FCR numbers.
The most important step to calculating FCR is deciding how you declare a customer’s solution resolved correctly. You should have a plan for following up with your customer to ask if they feel their problem was resolved and if they are satisfied with the result. This can be done by the agent at the end of the call, or in a follow-up email or call.
The last step is to choose which First Call Resolution formula to use, and where you will keep the information.
What to Watch Out for When Analyzing Your FCR
First Call Resolution is a good indication of the general health of your customer support center. If your FCR rate is low, and in order to improve your first call resolution rate, it’s important to take a look at several factors.
- Listen to customer feedback. What are they telling you about your customer service? Is there a theme to the complaints?
- Check your customer service management software. Does it allow for customer information to pop up quickly, saving time?
- Examine your company policies. Are many customers calling about returns? The check out process? Maybe there is a quick fix on your website that can prevent calls in the first place.
- Increase the availability of self-service software so customers can solve their own problems.
- Invest in agent training and continually allow for professional development.
- Encourage agents to be responsible for following a customer’s problem until it has been fixed, even if the issue is escalated to higher care.This is called “Total Contact Ownership” and motivates agents to resolve issues quickly and correctly since they are responsible for tracking everything.
There are many other factors, including internal communication, analyzing customer behavior, and optimizing your content. All of these are part of customer support best practices, and it’s so important to keep track of how your agents are doing.
Top Tip for Improving your FCR
Although there are many factors to improve your FCR, one of the most important is employing a customer service knowledge base. This allows for quality and timely service, leading to happy customers and higher FCR.
What is a customer service knowledge base? It is comparable to a guidebook for customer service agents to use. It should be searchable in electronic form, and contain all standard issues and their corresponding solutions.
The guidebook improves your agents’ efficiency and quality, because they are able to quickly search for common issues and resolve them for customers—most likely during the first call.
Your knowledge base must be updated consistently, so any new issues are available to agents. It can also be used to update the FAQs on your website, by analyzing which knowledge base articles are opened most frequently. That can help you avoid calls ifbecause customers can solve common issues by themselves.
Add Visuals to your Customer Service Knowledge Base
Humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and, in fact, are far more likely to learn and remember information presented visually.
For customer service agents to truly resolve customer problems quickly, adding visual content to your knowledge base is invaluable.
Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s free screen recorder makes that process easy. You can use Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s tools to add to your customer service knowledge base documents. For example, you can create GIFs of anything on your screen to visually explain how to resolve common issues, or record a video tutorial to walk a colleague through an issue and provide a solution to their problem. For quick feedback, you can also annotate a screenshot.
Because Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s tools allow anyone to quickly and easily capture, share and collaborate, you can easily add them to your knowledge base, so they are available to all service agents.
So, while on a first call with a customer, agents can quickly find and grab what they need from the knowledge base and send it to customers via email or in a live chat. The visual information makes it more likely for problems to be resolved without requiring any further calls—thus increasing your FCR.
And above all, while FCR is important, it is just as essential to remember your #1 customer service goal: satisfied customers. Keep track of all customer support metrics, including talk time, CSAT, and Net Promoter Score (NPS). Maintain a strong customer support initiative, and remember that communication is key.