You are Doing First Call Resolution Wrong

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You are Doing First Call Resolution Wrong

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There’s not much worse than being the subject of a “You’re Doing It Wrong” meme and it goes viral.

It’s easy to find many examples of doing it wrong in our everyday life, including how we do our job and, fortunately, there’s no meme.

What’s worse than doing it wrong?

Worse than doing it wrong, however, is not knowing that you are doing it wrong. You’re innocently unaware. But even if it’s not your fault, it hurts when you find out.

There are many moving parts in a call center and a good checklist for things that you need to do in order to be successful. So you work your way down the list – check, check, check – and rest easy that you are doing it right.

The problem with so many of our checked items is that we think we are doing it right. Make the check mark and move on to the next item on the list. I’ve seen this every day in the last 25 years working with call centers.

The check mark trap

This kind of check marking trap became even more obvious recently when I served as a judge of the Finalists for an international customer service award program.

Finalists? So you’d think these centers would be the best of the best – but in 48 of the 52 submissions that I scored, the fallacy of doing it right was present. Some who thought that they were doing it right had some aspects that could be improved. But the majority had no foundation with which to build upon.

And yet, all thought they were worthy to win an award. That hurts.

An obvious checklist item for your call center is Resolution since you exist to resolve customer problems. The farthest that many centers go is to simply ask “did I resolve your problem today?” without much sincerity and without much quantification.

How do you measure FCR

How do you quantify First Call Resolution (FCR)? Do you recognize the difference between an internal declaration of FCR and one which comes from the customer?

It’s still not enough to simply measure the perception of whether the issue was resolved on the call today. Does this surprise you?

In order to be more proactive with resolution issues/barriers and to stop chronic repeat calls which are a major dissatisfier and very costly, it’s necessary to understand problems beyond the simple resolution equals “YES” or “NO”.

Was this the first time for the specific issue? If not, how many times? Was the reason for the call a problem or inquiry/question (as per the caller)?

In order to systematically determine what to do so that agents are better able to handle the majority of the call types, the measurement of resolution must be more robust than most all are currently doing. Those checking the item that resolution is measured are generally far from the mark.

How to avoid being in the “Doing FCR Wrong” meme

It may be surprising to you that you are doing it wrong and the idea of becoming effectively focused on the root cause of resolution seems difficult. It’s not. You can get better than how you are doing now. And you must.

You can significantly advance the success of your call center by infusing the deeper understanding of resolution causes into your coaching, training and continuous improvement. You can make the connection to the callers’ decision based on emotion (low score in confidence affects repeat contacts, score high = lower repeat contacts).

Resolution metrics are tackled at the team level

Success using this strategy works. Over the past year, one contact center committed to changing the way in which we managed their hosted post-call IVR survey program.

Upon my recommendation, they changed the focus from passively receiving the results into proactively coaching to the customer surveys results. The analysis from the previous month is now used to plan specific agent coaching sessions in the current month all the while monitoring how the customers are perceiving the improved service delivery.

The four resolution metrics that we generate are monitored at the team level with incremental improvement goals month over month. All cases in which the caller reports an unresolved status are dissected to uncover patterns of call type and low performance evaluations. And many of them generate real-time alerts for immediate attention.

Overall, customer comments to explain the scores provide invaluable interpretation for the numbers that are analyzed.

Generating ROI on FCR

The resolution metrics are reported at the center level, the team level, and for the main call types. Your goal is to link (check out communicating result to executives) the improved resolution (and reduction in repeat calls) to the financial implication as well as to global service metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and a measure of Effort (to do business with the company).

With this proactive use of the post-call IVR survey program, the company has achieved a 5.4% improvement in FCR in the past year. At a $12 cost per call, the impact to the budget alone covers the survey program…and more.

And the call center can report to the C-suite an increase in NPS of 11 points!

You’re in the know – let’s go!

How do you engage agents with your customer experience goals?

The agents in this center are excited to have specific improvement coaching and then real-time feedback to show progress.  All agents do. They now feel like they own and can impact First Call Resolution.

Now you know. So now it’s your turn to earn your “doing it right” meme!

About Dr. Jodie Monger

Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics and a pioneer in voice of the customer research for the contact center industry. Before creating CRMetrics, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.

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By | 2017-03-31T14:24:53+00:00 March 31st, 2017|Customer Experience, FCR, IVR Post-call Surveys|0 Comments