An excellent first contact resolution rate is vital for customer satisfaction – and employee satisfaction. Here’s how to improve yours.
Customer satisfaction is crucial for any business. For customers, part of that satisfaction is resolving issues with a product or service quickly. That means your first contact resolution rate is a vital component of your customer service program.
As with many things, however, customer satisfaction doesn’t exist in a vacuum. A good first contact resolution rate also corresponds to happier employees. And you already know that happy employees create happy customers.
But what is a good first contact resolution rate? How do you improve yours? What about those issues that require additional contacts? Here are some things to consider, plus specific ideas to improve your rates.
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What is first contact resolution, and why does it matter?
First contact resolution is exactly what it sounds like. A customer reaches out with a question or concern and an agent is able to resolve the issue right away. This could be anything from a billing discrepancy to a software problem or general question. The point is that the customer only has to contact you once in order to resolve their issue.
According to customer support software company Zendesk, the average first contact resolution rate is around 70 percent. While some of your customers may have more complex issues that require additional time and contacts, it’s important to understand how your resolution rate impacts both customers and your team.
If you’ve ever been on a service call as a customer, you understand how frustrating it is to get shuffled around without getting an answer to your inquiry. And on the other side of that, you also know how much of a relief it is when an agent can handle your inquiry.
Therefore, it probably comes as little surprise that a high call resolution rate leads to higher customer satisfaction. And it follows that first contact resolution also leads to happier employees, since they don’t get as many calls from frustrated customers. It’s a win-win!
Let’s improve those rates
First contact resolution is a win all the way around. Here are some ways to improve your rates.
1. Training. Whether onboarding new employees or providing continuing training for established employees, a necessary part of good customer service is good employee training. Ensure everyone on your team has the knowledge and information they need to feel confident in helping customers.
2. Set your team up for success. One way to make sure your team is successful is to give them the tools they need to do their jobs. That may be a document or flow chart with solutions to common issues.
3. Give your team the authority to provide resolution. You want your team to feel empowered to provide customers with the solutions to their issues. It’s frustrating for agents and customers both when they have to continually move up the ladder to resolve issues.
4. Set up specialized teams for more complex problems. While it would be ideal if your first line agents could handle any call that comes in, the fact is that you do sometimes need to escalate issues to someone with more experience. This may be especially true with software applications or other highly technical products.
5. Beware of your metrics. Call metrics can help you improve performance, and they can give you insight into where you may have gaps in training or competencies. However, it’s important to keep things in perspective, especially regarding metrics and first contact resolution rates. One example is call times and first call resolutions. Some problems and questions require time to resolve. Your agents can’t simultaneously worry about keeping call times short while also providing complete, detailed assistance to callers.
6. Follow up. If you really want to offer impressive customer service, make a follow-up call a few days after the service call. Find out if your customer has any additional questions or if their issue was solved satisfactorily. Even if you don’t have the staffing to do this with every call, at least try to make follow-up calls for the more complicated issues. That extra step can do wonders for customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, and your reputation.
Additional tips to improve customer satisfaction outcomes
Along with helping your agents respond better to customers, there’s a lot you can learn from your customer calls regarding your product or service.
Better onboarding. If you find a regular theme in your new customer calls, there may be a gap in your onboarding material or training.
Update your FAQs. Look for common issues that may be easily resolved through the FAQs section of your website.
Take first contact resolutions seriously and your customers and your team will appreciate it.
Improve your customer service with Call Logic. From real-time reports to customer notes, we’ve got you covered in every aspect of your business. Call for your free consultation today to learn more!