alphabet soupThere is certainly no disputing the alphabet soup of acronyms that characterize the technology sector. After all, from M2M to SBC to IoT, this vertical is inundated with a sea of consonants and vowels. But when it comes to customer service and the contact center space, one acronym steals all the focus: FCR, or first call resolution.

Simply put, FCR refers to a company’s ability to address a customer query or concern the first time he or she calls, thereby eliminating the need for a follow-up call or multiple transfers. A critically important measure in the call center, FCR plays a pivotal role in a company’s customer service and satisfaction levels. But just because first call resolution is so top of mind does not mean all businesses are making the grade when it comes to offering unparalleled service.

What the Numbers Reveal

A recent study of 542 contact center professionals by WhitePages titled “Using Big Data in the Contact Center” found that 60 percent of company contact centers feel they are unable to deliver actionable customer service information to agents due to data overload and a lack of focus on customer satisfaction. In addition, the survey found that:

  • More than 40 percent of customer contact information is manually recorded by agents instead of fed through automated APIs or Web-based systems, which means reps are often not as connected to relevant customer data as they need to be to guarantee FCR.
  • Half of call center agents feel hampered by productivity challenges, such as having to ask customers for basic contact information.
  • More than a third of contact centers do not collect any data around customer satisfaction and 15 percent collect it but don’t use it at all.

While a great number of businesses continue to operate with legacy call center equipment and ignore the importance of immediate customer satisfaction, customers are becoming increasingly demanding—more aggressively comparing prices and more apt to switch to the competition because of a poor customer service experience. Consequently, the schism in the contact center space has left many wondering whether first call resolution is becoming obsolete just as customer expectations become heightened.

Keeping the Customer in Focus

No matter how fast your company grows or how cutting-edge your core competencies become, your focus on customer service has to remain laser sharp. After all, the cost of acquiring a new customer is considerably greater than retaining an existing one and FCR has never been more important with the saturation of likeminded companies growing. So how can you work aggressively to make sure that each interaction with your agents ends with resolution? By considering the following:

  1. Record, record, record: To get a sense of whether your agents resolve customer queries or escalate them, invest in call recording software which can record and archive every single interaction. In so doing, your call center managers can rely on these recordings to identify best-in-class behavior as well as zero in on patterns needing improvement.
  2. Upgrade your technology: Whether you choose to invest in an ACD so that your calls can be properly routed or lend an eye to presence technology so you can identify available subject matter experts instantly, take inventory of your existing call center technologies and determine if your call center can undergo a minor facelift or whether a rip-and-replace is needed.
  3. Consult past records: Before attempting to solve the problem without doing their due diligence, encourage your agents to review past interactions with the customer for clues and indications. Doing so will put your agents in a better place to remedy problems instantly.

For more on how to bring your call center into the 21st century and to see your FCR metrics skyrocket, click here.