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Is FCR the Miracle Metric for Improving the Customer Experience?

Resolving a call first time is a vital part of the customer experience, making First Contact Resolution (FCR) a crucial way of measuring customer service success. To find out more about how to understand and improve FCR, Enghouse ran an in-depth webinar with Steve Morrell, lead analyst and Managing Director at ContactBabel. Click here to watch a replay – or read on for the key highlights from the session

The benefits of FCR and why the message isn’t getting through

Steve Morrell calls FCR the miracle metric as high FCR rates is a win-win for both the customer and the business. Customers are happier when they don’t have to call back while businesses make savings as they don’t have to deal with multiple contacts about the same issue from the same customers. There’s also a negative impact on agent morale if they’re having to field multiple calls from increasingly frustrated customers.

Demonstrating this, in ContactBabel’s survey of 1,000 consumers, they rated FCR as one of the top three most important factors in the customer experience. FCR beat short queue times,  UK-based agents and even politeness and friendliness.

However, businesses don’t always value FCR in the same way. ContactBabel research with C-level business leaders found just 5% rated FCR as being more important than metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and CSAT.

This focus means businesses miss vital information. While NPS and CSAT show what customers are feeling – it doesn’t answer why they feel that way. FCR fills in these gaps. That means improving your scores will have a direct impact on levels of customer satisfaction and NPS. So, senior management must start to take it more seriously, such as by incentivising staff around the metric.

Measuring FCR the miracle metric

Companies use a variety of techniques to measure their FCR. These include post-call IVR surveys or automated interaction analytics. If you want to run a project to improve FCR, establish a measurement calculation method and stick to it, Steve Morrell suggests.

Why low FCR can be better than high FCR

Contact centres need to deliver efficiency and customer satisfaction. So, you may have a high FCR, but only because most of your calls concern simple queries, pushing up your costs. Given that customers are normally happy to avoid calling for these basic questions, invest in self-service to deflect them from the contact centre. Obviously, this makes your FCR lower as the remaining calls are more complex, but it does increase both satisfaction and reduce costs.

It’s therefore less important to focus on the percentage rise or fall in FCR. Instead look at the actual numbers of contacts resolved first time – and drill down to find out why repeat contacts are occurring so that you can fix the issue if possible. For example, you can use CSAT surveys, monitor call recordings or use customer journey analytics to identify specific processes where people feel they must make contact to move forward on their journey.

What are the main solutions for improving FCR?

While the reasons that customers make contact multiple times are varied, they normally boil down to either agents not having access to the right information or breakdowns in processes within the business. For example, if an agent can’t give an accurate answer first-time or they hand the interaction onto another department that then doesn’t take a specified action.

Implementing a comprehensive knowledge base gives agents access to accurate, up-to-date information. That means they can confidently answer customer queries first time, avoiding repeat calls. Sharing this information across all channels, such as self-service, maximises ROI, ensures consistency and avoids unnecessary customer contacts. However, ContactBabel’s research suggests only 39% of UK contact centres currently use any sort of knowledge base so the industry has some work to do in this area

Alongside knowledge, technology can help better support agents, such as through AI and automation. Real-time analysis of calls can automatically provide agents with the information and actions they need to answer a query. Robotic Process Automation reduces agent-specific errors by automating post contact processes such as delegating actions onto other teams and updating multiple databases with call information. And skills-based routing and customer profiling can help drive up FCR by making sure the most qualified agents are matched to specific customer queries.

Ensuring collaboration is vital to ensuring that there’s no breakdown in processes. Unified communications solutions such as Microsoft Teams help here, seamlessly linking agents to their colleagues in other departments. That means they can get their input in real-time, such as through internal chat, while speaking to a customer and hand over actions with greater certainty that they will be dealt with.

Increasing the focus on FCR the miracle metric

As Steve Morrell stressed in the webinar, FCR is closely tied to the overall customer experience. Yet it’s not rated as highly as metrics such as CSAT and NPS. Changing this will deliver real benefits to both customers and businesses. By tracking and measuring FCR across all channels, and then analysing and fixing any issues, customers benefit from a faster, more satisfying experience while contact centres are more efficient and have a better understanding of customer needs. That’s what makes it the magic metric that every contact centre should focus on.

Watch the full webinar, with Steve Morrell of ContactBabel and Steve Nattress of Enghouse Interactive here.

Knowledge and FCR