In the first part of our First Contact Resolution (FCR) blog series we discussed whether FCR is a business case or a fad? The next in the series we consider the key steps that enable you to continually improve harnessing your technology, to join-up your systems and interdepartmental processes, whilst empowering your agents to more quickly and effectively answer and resolve any customer's query.
Step 1 - Contact avoidance
Continually evaluating contact avoidance is essential, you need to keep up-to-date with the changing reasons customers have to contact your organisation. Define and analyse the type, complexity and volumes of contacts made. Research from the Call Centre Management Association (2015) reveals that customers are willing to utilise self-service options, identifying that 57% of calls to contact centres were from people who had already tried the organisation's website before making the call.
Contact can be avoided through the use of well-designed self-service automation. Use as many appropriate formats of self-service as possible whilst increasing access and choice; this can be achieved by using tools such as Intelligent Voice Response (IVR), Speech Recognition and web forms.
Proactively provide information before a customer needs to ask for it. 'Push' information to the customer by email, SMS or automated voice message to update customers with progress updates, cautions or concerns. This will reassure the customer, therefore increasing satisfaction while preventing inbound traffic.
Finally, actively monitor feedback by using customer surveys; stay current and be aware of any concerns or trends as they happen.
50% of customers who do not gain satisfaction with their initial contact use the telephone to escalate their query (The Rise of the Multichannel Consumer, 2015). This can be an expensive and time consuming increase of inbound demand. Be sure to test and use your analytics to monitor and continually track success rates by contact method. Then ensure every method is modified, eliminating any faults and answering customer questions as promptly as possible, even if it is to reassure that their query is being handled. Care should be taken to identify and provide personalised attention for any complex contacts to ensure that possible failure is reduced.
Step 2 - Identify reasons for repeat calls
When a contact centre manager is armed with the following information, they can deploy step-by-step improvements:
- Assess differences between peak and average times
When analysing peak and average demand, first contact resolution measures (FCR) will provide perspective on the right agent, the right place and the right time.
- Route customers to agents with the relevant skills
Using skills based routing successfully steers customers towards the information they need, which may be either the most appropriately skilled agent or self-service automation.
- Schedule appropriately trained agents to meet demand
Using Workforce Management tools will enable you to schedule a sufficient number of suitably trained agents to meet expected demand.
- Implement an agent focused quality monitoring system
Most agents want to succeed. It is useful and motivational to focus on assisting them to reflect on where and how they can make small improvements for optimal gain.
- Highlight areas of repeat data entry or system delay
Test the experience, and then fine-tune the IVR or speech recognition menus and queue structures.
These cost effective suggestions can be implemented quickly and support you as you drive to improve customer engagement, processes and outcomes for First Contact Resolution.
Look out for the next in the series discussing the final steps to improve customer satisfaction, looking at how to empower your agents and improve customer engagement.