Agent Onboarding

5 First Call Resolution Best Practices You Need to Know

Research has shown that customers are more likely to spend more money with and be loyal to brands that offer positive experiences and, conversely, customers with poor experiences are more likely to switch to the competition and tell more people about their negative interactions. That’s why following first call resolution best practices is so important.

After all, when first contact resolution (FCR) — also known as first call resolution (FCR) — is low, customer experience, customer lifetime value, and customer satisfaction (CSAT) all suffer as a result. And it only makes sense.

We’ve all been there before.

We’ve been the customer, frustrated after being passed around from agent to agent. Tired of placing countless calls, emails, and posts on social media pleading for help. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are five first call resolution best practices your team can follow to ensure customers get the answers and help they need, the first time they reach out.

5 Simple First Call Resolution Best Practices to Start Improving Your FCR Rate Right Away

#1: Minimize Transfers as Much as Possible

Empower your agents to make decisions and take actions that can help customers the first time they contact your company. Not only will this minimize the overall customer effort involved, agents who have autonomy have higher levels of engagement and will be more motivated to make sure customers are less likely to reach out again. 

#2: Arm Agents with the Right Data

It’s the technology age, and a majority of tech leaders say their top reason for investing in digital transformation is to enhance the customer experience. In fact, we at Stella Connect have gone so far as to declare that data can make or break your customer service team

Democratizing access to data can not only help teams optimize processes and performance, but also keep customer service agents engaged and drive the value your company is able to provide your customers. 

When it comes to boosting your FCR rate, the right data can go a long way in helping agents resolve customer issues the first time. So what do agents need? Access to a ticketing system that provides a full view of every customer interaction, that is each individual’s complete history with your brand. Having this clear picture can help minimize the unnecessary (and frustrating) back and forth that lowers FCR rates and CSAT scores.

#3: Put Average Handle Time (a.k.a. Average Reply Time) on the Back-burner

If your goal is to see your first call resolution rate increase, then your team’s new priority needs to be focusing on the quality of interactions — not speed. 

#4: Confirm the Problem Has Really Been Solved

An agent on your team successfully addresses a customer’s issue. That’s great. But their work isn’t finished. Not quite yet. Their next step? To improve your overall FCR rate, your team should adopt the best practice of staying on the line with customers to ensure they fully understand and are able to move forward with the specific resolution your team has provided.

#5: Be Sure to End Every Call with This Final Question

Before they close out any ticket and celebrate another successful interaction, be sure your agents wrap up every conversation by asking the customer, “Do you have any other questions?” This will help get ahead of other potential yet unknown issues that could lead to another call back or ticket. 

Next Steps: Develop Your Service Recovery Plan

While achieving a perfect 100% First Call Resolution rate is a great goal to work towards, the reality is that most companies land somewhere in the 74 to 78% range when it comes to first call resolution. In some instances, customers may have to reach out a few different times to get the support they need. And in other instances, certain customers may never feel fully satisfied.

Some negative interactions are inevitable, but letting unhappy customers slip through the cracks is something that all businesses can and should avoid at all costs. 

In fact, do you know what sets high-performing CX operations teams apart from the rest? Having a service recovery game plan to guarantee every customer who has a poor service experience gets the proper follow-up and care they deserve. Since implementing Stella Connect’s service recovery solutions, our clients like Birchbox see gains in CSAT, customer sentiment, and more. 

See first hand how Stella Connect can help your team strengthen your FCR rate, service recovery strategy, CSAT scores, and other important customer service KPIs. Schedule a demo today