Should Average Handling Time be a Contact Centre Key Performance Indicator? 3/3

4th Jun, 2015
Read time: 2 minutes

Within the first two blogs in this series we looked at some of the factors that could affect your average handling time (AHT) and explored the possible benefits of a unified agent desktop and implementing a multichannel strategy. Within this blog we will explore the importance of first contact resolution (FCR) and how getting it right can positively affect your bottom line.

Hopefully you would agree that while average handling time (AHT) is potentially a good measure of efficiency for a contact centre, it does little to measure the effectiveness of the engagement. Customers want their problems or queries addressed the first time they contact you and the faster they are resolved, the lower your costs are going to be. Equally important and what must be remembered, is that your most frustrated customers can turn into your biggest advocates when their problems are effectively resolved the first time.

Netcall recently completed some qualitative research and one of the key findings was 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, which is the most expensive channel of communication. Additionally 42% will immediately escalate the issue to someone more senior, prolonging the interaction and adding further cost. We also found that 8% will share their negative experiences on social media and 10% are likely to take their business elsewhere. To find out more about these results, please download a summary of these findings here.

So, what are some of the things you need to consider when thinking about FCR? Here are our top tips:

  • The customers view is extremely important. It doesn't really matter whether you think you are achieving FCR, it is more important that the customer believes it.
  • Have the tools and systems in place to track and analyse enquiry types. This may need to be consolidated across multiple entry points such as phone, mobile, web forms, web chat, IVR, SMS and social.
  • Identify the reasons for repeat calls. Unless you know why customers are calling back, it is really difficult to take the necessary action to reduce calls.
  • Get a breakdown of individual FCR performance by agent, team or area. Try to understand which teams or agents are doing better than others and learn from them.
  • Make sure your agents are skilled to the appropriate levels. Spot knowledge gaps that drive repeat contacts and plug them using training.
  • Provide intelligent call routing to match customer issues with appropriate agents.
  • Give your agents access to the internal systems that will help enable them achieve a resolution on the first contact, ideally through a unified agent desktop with single sign on.
  • Don't penalise agents for longer calls if they are achieving first contact resolution.
  • Where appropriate drive channel shift. Enable your customers to move from one channel to another in order to reduce cost and improve your service; in particular moving face to face and phone channels to web self-service.

In summary, having first contact resolution as one of your key performance indicators is a positive thing. Our research has shown us that customers with positive experiences are twice as likely to purchase additional products and/or refer friends. On top of this, FCR can also reduce your call volumes by up to 15%.

For more industry specific information and tips related to contact centres, check out our blog and follow us on social media on our Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts.

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