Call centre agents are on the front-lines of your customer service, they are the point of contact between you and your customers. When a customer query is dealt with on the first time of asking everything runs smoother and customer satisfaction rises. First call resolution (FCR) is a key performance metric that clients value highly when choosing a call centre to outsource to. By having a high first call resolution rate a company can cut costs and save time. By resolving cases as they come in a company can shorten the queue for the next batch of calls, therefore raising customer satisfaction levels.
Understanding the Issue
Listening is the most important communication skill a call centre agent possesses. This leads to accurate note taking and a greater comprehension of the issue being raised by the caller.
Sometimes callers may not be the best at explaining the issue. This is when an agent can utilise open and closed questions to mine for information.
- Is this a reoccurring issue?
- Can you elaborate on your second question?
Average handling time is another important metric in a call centre but taking an extra few minutes on one call can save dozens through escalations, repeat calls etc. Patience comes with experience, a veteran call centre agent can identify when a call needs a little something extra to resolve the matter. Putting someone on hold can frustrate but in the long run, if you come back to them with the issue resolved they will quickly forgive.
This appears obvious but it is not quite as simple as it seems. There are two types of product knowledge. There is ‘knowing just enough to get by’ and there is ‘comprehensive understanding’. Again this comes with experience and of course training. First comes research through documentation etc. then comes practically handling calls and experiencing the issues first hand. Over time this will lead to higher FCR.
Concluding the Call
It is a good idea for Call centre agents to end by asking if there were any further queries. This again reduces repeat callers dramatically. I have often had the ‘Oh I forgot to ask the other question I had’ moment when I have finished speaking with customer service. It shows that you want to help instead of doing ‘just enough’.
Ask the customer about their experience. By obtaining information like this a company can look back and review tangible information when seeking improvement.
Improving/raising FCR snowballs into high customer satisfaction levels by eliminating unnecessary repeat calls. This also frees time for the next customer, and the next, and so on… When you take the steps to improve FCR you will greatly improve the interactions that agents have with customers and improve your reputation while cutting costs.