When customers reach out to contact center agents for support, they are looking for quick and efficient answers. While agents normally strive to deliver the best service possible with first contact resolution, or FCR, there are a number of methods and behaviors extending beyond an agent's interaction with a customer that can improve the overall experience for agents and customers alike.
Communicate with your customers. One major component of first contact resolution is an agent's tone and ability to empathize with the customer. Training agents in their soft skills is a must for ensuring quality interactions. Agents should also ask precise, thorough questions about the customer's issue in order to deliver precise solutions, while always remembering to ask if the problem was resolved at the end of the exchange. In addition, taking customer service surveys post-contact is critical to knowing what agents should focus on to improve their service.
Follow a process. Setting a structure in place is important to FCR. Providing a script for agents to follow is a good way to ensure consistency in customer interactions and to make sure that no important questions are missed. By analyzing the most frequent reasons for customer contact in surveys, contact centers may also prepare agents with answers to these questions in their scripts. It's also meaningful to share these surveys with agents so they can learn their own weak points and improve individually. Eventually, this saves everyone's time, builds agent confidence, and increases the likelihood of FCR while helping to establish a brand reputation for quality, consistent customer service.
Use speech analytics. This is a very efficient way to identify which reasons customers are calling for the most. Along with customer feedback, agents and managers alike will be better prepared to address customer concerns and resolve issues quickly through proper training and revisions to call scripts.
Take the omnichannel approach when it's taking too long. An effective contact center should employ an omnichannel strategy to give customers a choice of their preferred channel, and some may argue that sticking to one channel from start to finish is best for a customer service interaction. However, staying on one channel for too long might hurt the chances of FCR if a customer's issue is not being easily resolved. If too many emails are being exchanged or chat is not allowing a quick resolution to a complex problem, switch to another channel (such as voice) to allow better understanding of the issue.
Don't emphasize average handling time too much. Contact centers may encourage short average handling time, or AHT, to stay efficient and keep costs down. However, it's necessary to remember that in order to achieve first contact resolution, the quality of the customer experience matters. An agent may therefore need to spend more time with a customer on a complex issue and increase AHT at times. Overall, it's better to focus on quality over quantity in these situations, as one long customer service interaction done right is better than repeat contacts from a frustrated customer.
First contact resolution is a top priority for customer service departments as it can ensure customer retention and brand loyalty. Through a combination of using the right technology, training customer service staff properly, and always keeping customers' needs at heart, FCR can be achieved with great efficiency. To learn more about contact center software solutions optimized for FCR, please visit www.vocalcom.com.