Solving a customer's issue during a single phone call saves staff time, money and extra effort. Therefore, one phone call per issue increases your company's profits. First call resolution concepts try to empower representatives to solve problems on the first communication with a call center. Sometimes all it takes is giving customer service agents a little more freedom to get first calls right.
Companies often track first call resolution data and even penalize customer service agents for not correcting a conundrum on the initial try. Sometimes this occurs with new agents who simply do not have the experience of those who have been in the business for years. Other times, operators simply do not have the tools in front of them to help the customer. Companies must enable front line operators to become all-in-one problem solvers to ease first call stress.
Increase visibility with agents to help solve this issue. If a customer calls with a technical issue that requires a house call, allow operators to view schedules of techs so they can input new appointments. First call resolution in this case prevents an extra call to another department and keeps an extra agent off the phone with an unnecessary task. Making this simple act more automatic always saves time later. Consider that 25 of these repeat calls per day for scheduling equals 9,000 calls per year. At a cost of $10 per call, your company saves $90,000 with this scenario.
Override power seems like a messy concept, yet front line agents must have override authority to change orders at any time. If a customer places an order and then has a change of heart a few minutes later, operators need to alter things quickly before shipping and handling becomes more complicated. First call resolution includes empowering agents to change orders, billing information, quantities and shipping times as soon as a customer realizes something went wrong and places a phone call.
Training your agents properly is a vital step. The sooner you tell operators they have the panache to solve a problem with one phone call, you give them the confidence to succeed. Every new employee has a learning curve, so don't go overboard with first call resolution metrics for the first 90 days. It takes time and experience for new people to learn the system. Let new employees know that making mistakes is part of the job, but improvement over time must be made. Clearly, an employee should have corrected certain mistakes after six months. Admonish operators later, but not at the beginning.
Prepare to receive feedback and constructive criticism. Review data, pertinent calls and how certain situations were handled. Let customer service reps go off the script for some calls if they feel comfortable enough to do so. Alter your strategy if data seems to indicate problems on the front line. Keeping loyal customers through great service is a key metric to more profits.
First call resolution improvement does not have to be a gut-wrenching operation. Talk with relevant employees and managers during this ongoing process. Ensure your company has open lines of communication to keep employee feedback relevant and practical. Happy customer service reps make for happy customers.
Photo courtesy of CWCS Managed Hosting at Flickr.com