As a single metric that captures both efficiency and effectiveness, customer service teams often target improvement in first contact resolution. It’s no wonder: higher FCR correlates to higher customer satisfaction. So, how can teams improve their performance in this important area?
Set Some Boundaries
First, it’s important to recognize that not all cases are eligible for a first contact resolution. For example, complicated product questions, billing inquiries handled by another department, or cases worked by new employees are very unlikely to be resolved in a single response. Your best bet is to identify the cases that could theoretically be FCR and optimize for those.
Finding those types of cases is largely dependent on your service CRM setup and the diligence of your service reps. If you make good use of custom fields and your service reps are diligent about their data entry, this is a straightforward exercise within InsightSquared. You can easily track your FCR performance by issue or employee and see where you have opportunities for improvement.
To prioritize even further, check and see how commonly these case types occur. For instance, any cases that represent more than 10% of your case volume and have an FCR between 5% and 50% should be prime candidates for optimization. Once you know which cases you’re targeting, you can enact a plan for improvement.
Improve Your Documentation
One of the best ways to reduce the amount of effort for service reps is to arm them with great documentation. Whether that’s an internal wiki that details aspects of your offering or a public knowledge base of articles that can be passed along to customers, it’s a real efficiency boost to the team if they don’t have to re-explain or re-learn information over and over. For every customer that asks a question, there’s 10 more that will ask the same thing.
If you see themes and patterns emerging with customer questions, that’s a sure signal that better documentation is needed. Write up an explanation that your service reps can use in their responses. If you can train customers to search the knowledge base before contacting the help desk, you might even prevent the case from existing in the first place.
Conduct More Team Training
Studies have shown that FCR rates correlate to the amount of time service reps spend in training. Well-trained reps have several advantages that allow them to achieve a higher FCR. First, they know the product better. Second, they have more experience anticipating customer needs. Third, they know their playbook, so they can make excellent use of their internal resources. When you think about training your service team, do you prepare them for the most common types of cases?
Talk to your top service reps and find out what they’re doing differently. They are your bright spots. Figure out what makes them outperformers and replicate that behavior across the rest of the team. Which articles do they share most? Which parts of the product used to give them trouble? What questions do they ask customers? What tricks do they have to be more efficient?
Empower Your Service Reps
One of the more frustrating reasons that customers sometimes need to call back or send follow-up notes is because the first rep they reach isn’t authorized to make certain decisions or changes. If you want to improve your first contact resolution rate— therefore, your customer satisfaction— need to allow your reps to solve problems.
There are a number of ways to empower your service reps. Better documentation and better training are certainly a good start. Make sure they have the right tools for the job. Do your reps have access to the customer information they need to make a quick and accurate diagnosis? How is that information delivered? Ideally, contextual customer information is integrated into your service rep’s console/desktop. If the information is too hard to find in the moment it’s needed it may as well not even exist.
Can your service reps override system rules or product limitations to remove customer obstacles? Do they have permission, be it from software or from management, to make exceptions that favor the customer? If your front-line service reps are only allowed to gather data and placate customers, you’ll never improve your FCR, and you’ll never deliver the kind of service that truly pleases customers.
Remember: improving FCR is not the end-goal. The goal is to improve your customers’ experience so they continue doing business with you. Statistically speaking, FCR is one of the more reliable indicators. Think about your service team from the customer’s point of view, and look for solutions that will make them happy. You’ll undoubtedly see a return.