4 Steps to Improving First Call Resolution

One thing you can guarantee is that you need to answer your customer calls.  It’s the basis of customer service.  The first call is the most important and if you can resolve the issue in the first call, you are on to a good start. Let’s explore First contact resolution.

The First Time.

How much does it cost to receive a support call from a customer?  SupportIndustry.com’s 2009 Service and Support metric Survey says that it can cost from $10 to $24. Customers need to call, and if their issues are not resolved within the first call, then many costs go up.  Call volumes go up, customer satisfaction goes down, and the money they are making goes flying out the window.

Here are some tips for improving the coveted FCR.

Hire and Train:

Hiring the right support rep isn’t easy.  A certain kind of person can only deal with customers.   You must find a way to determine if he or she will be able to handle support. The support staff will have to handle emotional customers, intricate products, and protocol. This rep must be trained about your product or service.

Create Knowledge Bases:

Create a knowledge base containing accurate details about the products/services, solutions to known issues, steps for troubleshooting, tips from qualified support reps and other customers (via online forums), anything that can help solve a problem.

This knowledge puts answers immediately at their fingertips which not only improves first call resolution, but can speed up handle time too.

Give Authority:

Give the reps the power to support.  In other words, if the rep hasn’t got the full power to make decisions, he can’t give the best support, and will possibly have to make a second call to the customer, thus costing more money.

Give Support:

Don’t leave them hanging!  Give them support if they need it.  The rep needs a support framework in order to continue to learn and improve. The rep will need encouragement, acknowledgement, and scale how well they are performing.  All levels of management, even the CEO, will want to find ways to help success, whether it’s with further training, better tools, awards, or other motivation and assistance.

So there we have it.  I Want it NOW discussions have brought some nice ideas for you to think about.

Make sure hire the right reps, train them, give them a knowledge and support them and get the ball rolling.  Just remember, not every call can be handled on first contact. There will always be problems that require further work or help. But with a higher first call resolution rate, your reps will have more time to deal with the bigger problems that can bring more money and quality to the company.  The customers who get their problems solved on the first call will be more loyal than a customer who never had a problem in the first place.

Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe