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When a customer is calling into a company, they know what they’re calling for, and they want it to get done. Whether they are trying to reach accounting to ask about a bill, trying to reach sales to inquire about a new product, or trying to reach support to ask a question or fix a problem. Auto attendants and call queues can help them get to the right place, but can who they reach actually fix their problem? Most customer will feel perturbed if they have to keep calling back in with the same issue or question. They want the correct answer after the first call. A company’s First Call Resolution (FCR) rate is a metric or measurement of how many contact center calls are resolved on the first attempt.

What Is First Call Resolution?

First Call Resolution is a term used mostly in call and contact centers. It measures the number of customer support queries successfully resolved the first time around. Organizations commonly use it as a metric alongside Average Handling Time (AHT). Together, these metrics can be very valuable in determining the performance of contact center staff. “FCR is often a favored metric due to the statistical link between follow-up calls and customer dissatisfaction rates,” (My Customer). You can use this number to predict how satisfied/dissatisfied your customers are. It gives you insight on what you need to focus on, and what some of your agents may need more training on.

Strategies for First Call Resolution

Improving your team’s first call resolution could mean training your staff to understand a few specific best practices. This will help in communicating clearly with the customers that are calling in.

Some key points are:

Make sure to understand the needs of the customer. If you are unclear of what the customer needs and why they are calling, you won’t be able to help them. Make sure to take the time to really understand what their needs are.

Ask qualifying and clarifying questions. This goes hand in hand with the above point. By asking qualifying and clarifying questions to the caller, you’ll be able to really dial into their needs. This will make sure they are serviced correctly and everything is resolved.

Keep the customer informed throughout the call. Let them know as you are doing things, or making notes, so that they know when action is being taken. This will make them feel more comfortable about their problem being solved.

Don’t commit to something if you’re not sure you can deliver. There is nothing worse than someone on a sales or support line giving a customer promises that they cannot deliver on. Be open and honest with your customers. If you can do it, let them know that. If you’re not sure, be truthful in that as well. They would rather have you get back to them after you figure out if you can give them something. No one wants to be expecting something that will never happen.

Follow through on any promises that you make. Make sure your team is following through with any promises they have made. Sending a follow up email with all of the things you will be doing is a great way for both parties to have a little visual list of what needs to be done.

First Call Resolution Tips

Company’s should include all of the above key points in training for any employee that answers phones. They are great starters for customer service, no matter what industry your organization is in. If you’ve noticed that your first call resolution rate is lower than you would like it to be, your first step should be to investigate the reasons why people are calling back and figure out what’s going wrong during that first call. Look at calls to see if there is a specific category that is attracting repeat calls. Utilizing call recording can be extremely useful in tracking your progress when it comes to FCR and customer service. Check out our blog article about why your organization should utilize call recording here.

With the right analytics tools, you can easily identify the areas where your first call resolution rate is being pulled down. You can then invest in training your customer service agents, improving call screening and routing, and upgrading your CRM tools to allow your staff to do a better job.