First Contact Resolution (FCR) is the defining metric of 2018. Customer service needs to be precise and low-effort and adhering to these principles helps to attract and retain customers. By giving customers the correct information quickly at the first point of contact, companies can make their customer service operation stand out amongst competitors, driving better commercial performance.

So why do businesses struggle to achieve higher rates of First Contact Resolution?

Problem: Inaccessible Information

Customer service advisors often lack access to the correct information and resources. As customer details are stored in disparate systems, and many organizations have multiple CRM (Customer Relationship Management) resources or corporate databases, it can be difficult to fully understand the customer, which limits the ability to personalize the customer journey.

Solution: Integration and Unification

Most enterprise-grade contact center offerings can now integrate to best-of-breed CRM systems such as, Microsoft Dynamics or SugarCRM. This integration will proactively present your advisors with more information on an incoming contact and support them in handling their inquiry. Alternatively, some vendors now offer their own lightweight CRM systems to capture and consolidate customer information within a single architecture.

Integration and unification solutions both have multiple benefits. The single customer view and proactive presentation of customer details provides a 360° view of the customer to help you deal with their inquiry effectively. It also allows you to personalize the customer journey. Knowing a customer’s name is just one way that your advisors can help them feel valued by the business.

Problem: Inconsistent Communications

Customers contact your organization through a range of channels, from email and SMS to Facebook messenger and webchat. As a result of this inconsistent communication, the agent who answers the phone may not know about the web chat conversation the customer had a few minutes prior to the phone call. This can fuel customer frustration, as they are asked to verify their identity and repeat their request.

Solution: Omni-Channel

The lack of consistency stems from siloes created by the many systems used to manage individual channels. Agents switch between multiple applications, each with their own templates or knowledge bases, which must be updated and maintained. By deploying an omni-channel solution, businesses can communicate with their customers through any number of channels, with all interactions taking place on a single platform and on one screen. This unified knowledge base is far easier to keep updated and it enables the automation of responses.

Problem: Insufficient Resources

Much of an agent’s time is occupied with responding to routine inquiries and dealing with repeat calls relating to unresolved issues. This leaves little time for agents to deal with the more complex issues where customers now expect an immediate response, resulting in lower agent productivity and dissatisfied customers.

Solution: Automation

IVR’s shift towards digital self-service means that your customers no longer need to speak to an agent in order to achieve FCR. Many customers do not require human interaction to have their queries answered and, as calls can be grouped categorically, intelligently automated responses can be used instead. By fielding these inquiries, a large proportion of customers receive instant, automated customer care, freeing agents to deal with more complex queries and increasing customer satisfaction.

Why is FCR such an important metric?

For years, Average Handling Time (AHT) has been the core measure of contact center efficiency, which gains importance as contact centers become larger. However, AHT is fundamentally a quantitative measure of customer service and is agent-centric, leaving the customer in the margins. While, AHT focuses on the time taken to deal with an inquiry, it provides no insight into call resolution and provides little information about the customer. First Contact Resolution, by contrast, is a qualitative metric, focusing on the outcome of the customer inquiry and placing the customer at the core of contact center effectiveness.
Underpinning your contact center with a forward-thinking customer engagement strategy empowers you to maximise FCR and drive agent and automated efficiency, resulting in higher rates of customer satisfaction and retention.