3 Ways to Improve First Call Resolution in Your Contact Center

You’re looking to improve the customer service being offered by your contact center and you are wondering where to focus your attention first. Which metrics should you be tracking? Which ones will have the most positive effect? While those answers do exist and are incredibly helpful, the best improvements are going to happen by taking a moment to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and to consider your call center’s performance from their perspective.

We’ve all been the customer on the other end of the phone line. The one that has been passed around from agent to agent, explaining our problem from start to finish over and over again; each time with a little more frustration building in our voice. We know the feeling of wanting to throw in the towel and find a new product or company to work with. Well, this isn’t just a feeling, it is a fact. According to the Huffington Post, 67% of customer churn is preventable if the customer’s issue was resolved at the first engagement. By implementing the following three methods in your call center, you can increase first call resolution.

Connect Your Incoming Calls to the Right Agents

In an ideal world, each time a customer contacts your call center, they would be instantly connected to an agent prepared to solve their problem swiftly on the first try. Unfortunately, as the number of agents at your contact center grows and the customer service requests become more diverse, it becomes increasingly difficult for each agent to have in-depth knowledge on every facet of the business or product. This is when it becomes important for you to make data-driven matches between customers and agents.

There are two ways to optimize the matching of customers and agents. One is to have select agents as the front-line of defense when a call comes in. These agents can quickly get to the root of the customer’s problem and transfer them to the most applicable agent to solve the specific issue. Another option is to invest in a software solution that can make these connections for you based on past customer behavior and a few (only a few, so as not to exhaust the customer before they start) preliminary automated questions to assess their needs and make the most appropriate match.

Set Your Agents Up for Success

If your agents are not set-up for success, they will begin to feel defeated and ultimately, unsatisfied with their role in your contact center. Feeling capable to do one’s work increases job satisfaction. When your agents feel confident, they are more likely to take pride in their work, and to take ownership over their inbound calls, resulting in a quality customer experience.

There are two places to start setting your agents up for success. First, you want to make sure that all of your agents are taking detailed notes during their interactions with customers. If notes are kept from past calls, emails, or chats with an individual customer, the next agent picking up the phone will have better insight on the customer’s journey and how they could be of help more quickly.

The second way to set your agents up for success is to create an internal customer service knowledge base that is organized intuitively and can be easily accessed when an agent’s immediate knowledge falls short. The knowledge base should be filled with frequently asked questions, common scripts and any other reference materials applicable to your product or service. This shared resource between agents saves time when sourcing an answer to a question that has likely been asked many times before. It also lessens the chances that the customer will need to be transferred to an additional agent for help, improving your fist call resolution rate.

Don’t be Derailed by Your KPIs

To say KPIs are not important would be false. In fact, we put together an entire whitepaper on which 5 workforce management metrics grow your bottom line and how you can use WFM analytics to achieve maximum success. While these metrics should absolutely be tracked, you should never overlook a positive customer experience as your agents’ top priority. It is possible to have the lowest average handling time and the best service levels while still losing customers. If the customer is not satisfied, losing their business will matter more than any other trackable KPI.

At the end of the day, the most important thing your contact center can do is ensure that your agents bring calls through to a satisfying resolution and that your customers get their problems resolved correctly the first time without having to repeat themselves. If you begin connecting calls to the most applicable agents who are set up for success and you maintain a healthy relationship with your call center KPIs, you will be on the road to maximum workforce management success.

To learn more about which KPIs you should be tracking while keeping the customer experience central to your strategy, you can download our whitepaperWorkforce Management Metrics: Unlock the Secrets to Growing Your Bottom Line.