Contact Centre Hacks – Improving First Contact Resolution


Our readers share their thoughts on how you can improve First Contact Resolution in your contact centre.

[What is a hack? According to the Urban Dictionary, a hack is defined as “a clever solution to a tricky problem. To hack is to change something in an extraordinary way”.]

Here are some great hacks for improving First Contact Resolution (FCR):

Under-promise and over-deliver to prevent unnecessary follow-up calls

It is important to manage your customers’ expectations.

It is far better to say that the issue will be resolved in a week and fix it within a day, than to promise a day and deliver in a week.

While the first scenario may generate a thank you email from the customer for such prompt service, the second will definitely see several calls coming into the call centre chasing up their unresolved query.

If you consistently under promise and over deliver, you can help to reduce the number of calls to your contact centre.

With thanks to Karl

Make sure your agents C.L.O.S.E. on every call

We found C.L.O.S.E. (Contact, Listen, Object, Solve and Evaluate) to be a great checklist for our agents when trying to improve First Contact Resolution.

With thanks to Karl

Think through your internal processes for query resolution

I think that First Contact Resolution is directly proportional to empowered staff and properly thought-out internal processes for query resolution.

With thanks to Olusegun

Listen to customer calls which have escalated to identify problem areas

We listen to calls where the situation has escalated and determine the breakdown point.

We then put together work aids, programmes and processes to aid agents in these circumstances.

With thanks to Kristine

Train agents to agree ‘resolution requirements’ at the start of a call

Train agents to informally agree ‘resolution requirements’, prior to attempting to address them.

For example, if a customer wants ‘XYZ’, the agent could tell them that they can give them X and Y now, and that they can show them how to sort out Z online.

Subject to agreement, this exercise can significantly reduce the potential for customer dissatisfaction.

With thanks to Joe

Step away from Average Handling Time

clockinbin-185

Pushing agents too hard on metrics such as Average Handling Time can result in them not giving customers the time they really need.

We no longer use Average Handling Time as a goal. Instead, the emphasis is on customer service.

We find that the service level takes care of itself, as overall better service reduces the customer’s need to call back.

With thanks to Dianne and Fons

Wrap up every call by asking the customer if they have any more questions

Train your agents to ask the customer if they have any questions about what has been discussed – at the end of every call!

Agents should also ask the customer if they have any additional queries they would like to discuss.

With thanks to Dianne

Empower agents to offer goodwill gestures when resolving complaints

Our agents are empowered to offer flowers or other small goodwill gestures to our customers.

This helps to prevent the situation from escalating and reduces the need for further communication.

With thanks to Alan

Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers

Happy employees make happy customers.

We randomly give out gift cards to our agents who consistently provide extraordinary customer service.

With thanks to Dianne

Give your agents access to all of the customer’s recent activity

First Contact Resolution can be improved by giving your agents access to all of the customer’s recent activity.

If an agent can see that a mortgage offer was posted recently, a letter was sent about an overdraft or that a TV was recently shipped, they can properly advise the customer of their current situation.

The customer will happy that the organisation is on top of the situation – and won’t feel the need to call back later on.

With thanks to Ralph

Identify the most common queries

We have seen success with identifying our customers’ most common queries and aligning our agents’ skill sets accordingly.

We have also reviewed our internal resolution process to help resolve bottlenecks.

With thanks to Olusegun

Make everyone in the business aware of your FCR goals

One change we made was to inform the rest of the business about our agents’ First Contact Resolution targets.

Now, when a customer calls through to another department, the person on the other end of the phone tries to be as helpful as possible, whereas previously they often said they were busy, or told them to send an email to the correct department.

This change has had a positive impact on overall First Contact Resolution and customer satisfaction.

With thanks to Anna

Encourage ‘passionate collaboration’ with focused training sessions

We are currently going through passionate collaboration training, which everyone in the business has to take part in.

I am hoping that it will have a positive impact on our customers.

With thanks to Alix

Check the customer understands the outlined time frame

It is key to set realistic expectations.

It is equally important to make sure that the customer has understood the time frame the agent has outlined.

With thanks to Debbie

Start with great coaching from day one of an agent’s employment

I think good coaching from the first day of employment, coupled with belief in your appointment trainer, will set the stage for high performance.

With thanks to Karl

An escalation process can help complaints be resolved in a single call

We operate with a standard escalation process in place, which allows the call to eventually be passed to a supervisor.

This way, even if the problem escalates, the customer should have their issue resolved before they hang up the phone.

With thanks to Amy

The only definition of ‘resolved’ should come from the customer

The only definition of First Contact Resolution that matters is from the point of view of the customer.

Other definitions, which could relate to an agent simply passing a call on to another agent, are artificial and an internally focused irrelevance.

With thanks to Colin

First Contact Resolution can be harder to achieve with other channels

Make allowances for the fact that First Contact Resolution is harder to achieve using certain channels.

For example, it can take a number of tweets and emails to properly identify a problem and gather the necessary information needed for resolution.

With thanks to one of Call Centre Helper’s readers

Increased ownership can help ensure the timely resolution of a query

Encouraging agents to take ownership of their calls can help to ensure that issues are properly resolved in a timely manner.

With thanks to Julie

Identify how many calls you transfer out of the contact centre

We identify the number of calls we manage within the contact centre versus the number we transfer out to other areas, as an indicator of how we handle calls.

With this information, we are able to pinpoint where our First Contact Resolution weaknesses are across all query types and platforms.

With thanks to Brett

Put your agents in the customer’s shoes

customer-shoes-185

We regularly put our agents in the customer’s shoes by sending them out on some of the experience days that our company sells, such as racing car driving.

This gives them first-hand knowledge of the product which they can then feed back to the customer.

With thanks to Alix

Regular assessments can help to identify weaknesses

Regular quality assurance and product knowledge assessments have helped us to determine – and act on – our agents’ strengths and weaknesses.

We also regularly review our resolution processes to ensure that they remain appropriate and timely.

With thanks to Olusegun

Your agents should review their performance every day

We have found it useful for agents to review their performance – briefly – at the end of each day, as this allows any developing problems to be nipped in the bud.

Accompanying this activity with deeper, periodic assessments – all agent led – has had a marked effect on improving First Contact Resolution.

With thanks to Colin

Email your customers a post-call satisfaction survey

Once our agents deem a query to be resolved, an email is sent to the customer with a satisfaction survey.

This allows them to rate the service as good or bad – and provides useful insight into whether our agents are properly resolving our customers’ queries or not. This is also a useful training tool.

With thanks to Amy

What have you done to improve First Contact Resolution in your contact centre?

Published On: 5th Nov 2014 - Last modified: 25th Oct 2017
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