4 Strategies for Achieving First Call Resolution

Since first call resolution (FCR) helps companies measure customer satisfaction, it is an essential element in nurturing lifelong relationships with buyers. Customers understand that mistakes happen, so they are able to forgive when a problem is fixed swiftly and adequately. In fact, companies have a unique opportunity to gain a deeper buy-in from customers during the resolution process when they go above and beyond to make the situation right.

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The customer is at the center of all that we do.

When your BPO contact center employs these four strategies, you will have a higher success rate in achieving FCR:

Focus on Reducing Long Hold Times

When a customer reaches out about a problem, they expect to connect with someone quickly. One industry survey reports that five minutes is the average time most customers willingly wait to speak to someone before frustrations begin to bubble. When it takes too long for someone to answer, customers simply hang up and move on to the next company, which means you may never even know why you lost their business. While it is impossible to eliminate wait times, contact centers that focus on streamlining their IVR systems discover that they are better equipped to manage call traffic, decrease average handle time (AHT) and increase FCR rates. Implementing a call back program is also effective at decreasing on-hold times.

Employ Skill-Based Routing

Limiting the number of transfers to problem solvers is critical to achieving the FCR numbers that your contact center is aiming for. An American Express survey found that one-quarter of consumers never receive a resolution to their problem after being shuffled around from agent to agent. Replacing a traditional linear, queue-based system with a skill-based IVR routing system is effective at managing call flow and directing customers to the best resource. This focus on skill-based routing greatly reduces frustrations and eliminates repetition, which can leave a customer feeling unhappy at the end of the call even when a positive outcome is achieved.

Knowing what your customer wants is key

Implement a Feedback Program

Implementing a customer satisfaction survey program ensures that you are collecting the information needed to determine if a specific call was resolved during first contact. There are several strategies available for understanding your customers’ needs and whether you are meeting their expectations.

  • At the end of the chat, agents should gather live feedback to verify the caller is satisfied with the resolution.
  • Since many customers are reluctant to give negative feedback to a live person, your BPO call center can host an online survey page or employ an autobot that offers customers feedback options for rating their experiences, sharing their suggestions or venting their frustrations.
  • Finally, a follow-up email or phone call will generate critical insights into customers’ perceptions that can drive your revenue growth and strengthen customer relationships.

Expand Your View of FCR

Contact centers traditionally view FCR as a way to lower cost per call (CPC). This limited view of what FCR achieves can be detrimental to your business if you do not embrace its true potential. Most importantly, it gives you a way to concretely gauge whether you are actually delivering on your promise to solve issues quickly and accurately.

In addition to boosting the customer experience, FCR also reduces agents’ workloads, which directly impacts employee attrition. To successfully implement this important KPI, your contact center must balance FCR against AHT. The commonly used 72-hour timeframe that calculates the ratio between positive and negative FCRs should also be replaced with a more realistic measurement. The flaw in this broad approach is not differentiating whether a customer is reaching out about a different problem or calling back to complain about the same issue 30 days later.

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Ansafone is an expert at providing world-class BPO services. Since 1970, we have forged partnerships with Fortune 1000 companies, small businesses and nonprofit organizations seeking to implement innovative business process strategies. U.S.-based on the East and West coasts, we supply a comprehensive panel of inbound and outbound help desk solutions and back-office operations.

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