First Contact Resolution, Gauge your Progress 4/4

8th May, 2015
Read time: 3 minutes

Benchmarking performance is a useful tool in providing perspective and direction in the ever-changing contact centre environment. During the past six months Netcall has conducted three different research events. One of the key areas to highlight from this research was the success achieved through improved First Contact Resolution (FCR). We discovered that when customers do not achieve FCR, it has a significant effect on the contact centre as 50% of customers will follow-up by telephone, the most expensive channel of communication. Additionally 43% will immediately escalate the issue to someone more senior, prolonging the interaction and adding further cost. To find out more about these results, please download our research report here.


Confirming the contact achieved their intended goal

Developing an end-to-end customer journey requires an investment in continuous process improvement. Monitoring levels of FCR provides managers with the opportunity to rectify process breaks or provide support in areas needing additional attention. Delegates at our recent rise of the multichannel consumer webinar told us that 53% of them asked their customers “have we answered your query today?" at the end of any contact, whereas a significant number, 48%, of organisations do not check. This omission increases customer effort; see our blog on customer effort in the contact centre and some tips to support your customer journey improvements. Unsatisfied customers will call back, and most will demand supervisor attention which reduces team productivity. In another poll, 39% of contact centres say they don't measure FCR. It's a simple question to ask so consider the immediate call reductions you may experience and consider the potential payback in customer satisfaction and agent engagement.

Data accuracy and longer than necessary handling time

More than 50% of contact centre agents use four to seven applications at any one time, while more than 15% use eight to ten applications. Screen tabbing is time consuming and increases training demands. Streamlining the agent desktop improves the quality of the customer experience and reduces the likelihood of errors and missed responses. 51% of delegates agree that using a unified agent desktop reduces average handling times. Netcall case studies reveal that you typically save 30% of handling time when you simplify the user interface together with the processes your agents use.

Solving problems on the customer journey

The majority, 65%, of delegates said that joining up processes and information between departments would have the highest impact on solving problems on their customer's journey.

A tip from one webinar delegate, “an effective start is to simply begin a points of improvement discussion with department heads. What 'one thing' could be done to make an improvement this week and reduce rework and waste?" They found that they made significant progress using small successful steps.

Another helpful tip from a delegate explained “gain buy in - we informed the rest of the business about the agents' FCR target, so now when the agents call another department they try to give them answers there and then. Previously they often said they were busy and to send an email."

Empowering agents improves results

Scripts are out, empowering is in. 55% of delegates confirmed that agents have boundaries within which they can support customers. We found this delegate suggestion interesting, “FCR is directly proportional to empowered staff and properly thought out internal processes for query resolution." How would this statement apply to your environment?

Agent boundaries and flexibility

FCR is a complex topic of diverse views that demands our time and attention, often defeating any manager's best efforts. Perhaps this is due to the nature of the customer satisfaction required, summed up by a delegate as, “The only FCR definition that matters is from the point of view of the customer. Other definitions e.g. 'resolved' or when the agent has passed it on to someone else are artificial, internally focussed and irrelevant."

Success through improved FCR is a journey of continual improvement. It impacts on business productivity and customer experience shows that it is not a fad that will initially have high importance but then disappear amidst the pressures of day to day work.

Read the 1st part of this series of blogs for a quick refresh on why FCR is so critical to your organisation and the competitive advantage you can achieve.

Watch out for our continued series of tips and best practice to support you by following our blog.

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