Why FCR is more powerful than a genie in a bottle

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Why FCR is more powerful than a genie in a bottle

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A contact center manager was walking along a beach and found an old lamp. She picked it up and rubbed it and out popped a genie. The genie said, “Okay, you released me from the lamp, blah blah blah. This is the fourth time this month and I’m getting sick of these wishes so instead of three, you only get one wish!” The manager sat and thought about it for a while and said, “I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii but I’m scared to fly and I get very seasick. Could you build me a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over there to visit?”

The genie laughed and said, “that’s impossible. Think of the logistics of that! How would the supports ever reach the bottom of the Pacific? Think of how much concrete…how much steel!! No, think of another wish.”

customers-grade-the-callsThe contact center manager said OK and tried to think of a really good wish. Finally, she said, “I want all of the executives at my company to understand what we do all day, how we protect the relationship with our customers, how the metrics that we track are incredibly valuable to them.”

The genie asked, “Do you want that bridge to be two lanes or four?”

I think that is too funny. But after I laughed, when I heard this joke, I began to empathize with the woman. How would it be possible to get closer to having her wish granted? How could you work your magic to make your metrics mission-critical to your company? I think the easiest place to start would be to focus on making FCR part of corporate objectives. This makes sense to us call center people and it’s easy for it to make sense for executives outside of the contact center too.

FCR is more powerful on both sides

Corporate objectives include the requirement to maintain current customers. Delivering a customer experience that generates a high level of First Contact Resolution (lowers customer effort) largely contributes to maintaining current customers. The difference in Net Promoter Scores for first contacts versus second and third contacts is tremendous. NPS for first contacts that are 60% will be 30% for second contacts and 10% or less for third contacts.

Another commonly stated objective is to provide a seamless customer experience regardless of the channel. Well, that’s obviously FCR – First Contact Resolution. Attract new customers they say. The contact center has an important pre-sale function within every organization. Those which are answering questions are producing a high FCR. A high FCR yields a high sales conversion rate, 63% higher than the conversion for those potential customers that did not get a satisfactory answer on the first contact.

first contact resolution instead of Hawaiian road tripFCR has a greater cost impact than speed

The underlying theme of most corporate objectives is to complete each customer interaction at the lowest possible cost. It’s easy to quantify reduced costs through increasing FCR. Not even considering indirect costs, every repeat contact has direct cost implications. Let’s focus on calls. How much does each call cost your company? Multiply that times the number of calls taken that are repeat calls and the number gets very large very quickly.

Impacting FCR for the greater good of the organization can only be accomplished by effectively measuring the metric. Does your contact center estimate FCR by counting the number of closed cases by the agents? Don’t use that because that’s rarely the customers’ perspective.

Let me ask you. Do you ask your callers if their call was resolved on a post-call survey? Do you drill down for insights when it wasn’t? Do you attempt a service recovery process when the call was not resolved? These are critical questions for me to ask you because you have to be aware that just asking about resolution is not enough information to understand and manage First Contact Resolution.

What the most successful contact center managers do

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The most successful Contact Center managers take responsibility for communicating the importance of FCR on corporate objectives. They do not rely on some genie to do it for them. You can more easily construct a strong case to make FCR a corporate objectives than most all other contact center metrics, including your NPS and CSat. The reason is that it more clearly impacts both sides of your financial statement – revenue opportunity and cost.

Load ’em up

You can try other ways of getting of getting corporate executives to understand what you do, but you are better off preparing for your Hawaiian road trip.

QA Self-assessment

This topic is being discussed because of Question 26 in the self-assessment and ebook 29 Mistakes to Avoid with Quality assurance programs. Click the image or the link to get your complimentary copy.

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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