When today’s customers call, they expect customer service & support teams to effortlessly resolve issues with speed and accuracy.

At Clarity Voice First Call Resolution(FCR) is an essential indicator of our businesses health. We know your time is valuable and we try to resolve any concerns with you within the first call. Regardless if your call is about a new staff member that needs training on your office phone system or a technical issue that you may experience.

To build an award-winning customer support team like Clarity’s, it starts with understanding how you’re doing today. Once you have your baseline, you should implement policies to build upon your results. Here are 10 ways you can improve first call issue resolution for customers.

Use these tips to help you improve First Call Resolution (FCR) within your company and give your customers the service and support they demand.

Number One: Understand and address issues

After you have conducted your First Call Resolution analysis, it is important to conduct a Root Cause Analysis on calls that were not resolved on the first contact. A good Root Cause Analysis will help you identify trends and pinpoint inefficiencies so that you can make data-driven decisions for the future of your business.

You can identify Root Cause Issues by looking into:

  • Why was the call transferred?
  • Who was the call transferred to?
  • Why was the call escalated to a manager?
  • Who was the call followed up with?
  • Why did the interaction span different channels? (eg. phone, chat, email, walk-in, etc)
  • Why was the caller not satisfied with the solution?

Once you have isolated specific problems, you should consider what factors may have contributed to those issues:

  • Are there specific products, bugs or issues that are frequently cited?
  • Are company policies or procedures negatively impacting employee performance?
  • Are there outlier issues that should be addressed because what was once a rare occurrence is becoming regular?
  • Do your employees have significant knowledge, training, and resources?
  • Do your employees effectively utilize your knowledge base/resource manuals, follow procedural protocols and work within your company policy?
  • Is your office operating with obsolete computer software or hardware that impacts their ability to quickly answer questions or resolve concerns on the first call?

You can answer these questions by simply speaking with your employees, review call logs, listen to the call recordings, analyze customer survey responses and examine other business metrics.

Once you identify common issues, knowledge gaps, training opportunities, inefficiencies in processes, and problematic policy procedures, you should engage in a reparative action and take preventative measures to help improve First Call Resolution for future callers. Make sure that this process happens on a regular basis and that you are consistently looking for ways to streamline and support processes.

Number Two: Analyze customer contact behavior to anticipate their needs

The more you know about your customer base and why they reach out to your company, the more prepared you will be to address their needs. Doing so will increase customer satisfaction.

Analyzing Customer Types Based on their Contact Behavior
You can approach this from a few different angles:

  1. Created customer profiles.
  2. Analyze customer demographic data.
  3. Group customers by reason for their call.

Number Three: It is essential to equip your team with the right tools to increase First Call Resolution

The right tools are essential for your team to increase First Call Resolution. When your employees have a place to reference answers to common calls or past caller history, they will be able to meet customer needs with more skill and professionalism.

Some businesses supply a customer management system that provides a way for support personnel to document discussions, but for those that don’t, daily stand-up meetings where teams share situations that were unresolved from the past day, work well in ensuring customers concerns are known. These short morning stand-ups provide managers insight into issues and opportunities that creatively solve situations.

Putting critical product/service information at their fingertips and discussing challenging customer cases each morning, will ensure your employees are better prepared to resolve customer issues- without having to transfer or call the customer back.

Number Four: Optimize your support structure

Once you have a better understanding of the customer behavior and the situations that led to decreases in First Call Resolution, and you have implemented the right tools for your team to reference, you can begin to change the structure of your support systems to better accommodate the needs of your customers.

For example, you can have frontline employees who are skilled at solving basic problems while your more tenured and knowledgeable staff answer more complicated or technical issues.

To accomplish this effectively, you should know what types of calls your front-line support employees can resolve, without having to transfer callers:

  • Know what types of calls are typically escalated and to which internal departments.
  • Know which employees are best suited to handle certain caller types/issues.
  • Know which employees are best equipped to handle specific issues/caller types.
  • Provide targeted training and supervision to employees who perform new tasks and handle new callers until you feel they’re proficient.
  • Provide employees with access to resources, knowledge bases and life support.

Number Five: Engage in total contact ownership

Total contact ownership” is a process that can dramatically increase First Call Resolution. It is a system in which the employee who takes the initial call follows the call from start to finish. When you implement this policy, employees will be less likely to transfer callers just to pass the problem on” to another employee, as they will still be required to follow the issue until it’s closed. The employee will be more likely to recruit resources such as senior employees, management, technical support, etc. and they will increase their own company knowledge along the way.

Employees who are not able to resolve caller issues alone can now work cooperatively. This approach not only increases First Call Resolution, it increases the professionalism of your company experience and ultimate customer satisfaction.

Number Six: Streamline your internal processes

Once you have pinpointed inefficient processes, policies, and procedures, you can start to alter or eliminate them. Streamlining your internal processes, eliminating unnecessary red tape, and empowering your employees to solve issues that are within their capabilities, goes a long way to improving First Call Resolution.

Some policies that you should consider allowing your employees to handle without transferring the call to a manager are:

  • Issuing credits, returns, and refunds.
  • Removing shipping charges.
  • Adjusting billing cycles and timing.
  • Removing late fees.
  • Applying promotional discounts.
  • Solving warranty or service issues.

Number Seven: Increase automation and self-service options

An obvious, but often overlooked, change that many companies can make to increase First Call Resolution, is to invest in a more automated self-service option. An easy way to do this is to configure your Auto Attendant (IVR) to provide basic information (such as your business hours, driving directions, etc.) and to put FAQ knowledge base and training manuals on your website. This will not only help to increase First Call Resolution, but it will also significantly reduce call volume so your employees can focus on assisting callers who truly need their help.

Number Eight: Optimize your content

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. In the case of First Call Resolution, this is especially true. If your employees can provide information that is accessible online or via email, that helps to guide customers through their issues, customers will be less likely to call back about the same issue.

It is important that the information on your website and any emailed instructions are up-to-date, helpful, and easy to understand. The effort your team puts into making sure your content is optimized and accessible will pay off in the long run.

Number Nine: Improve employee performance

Improving employee performance may be the best way to help increase First Call Resolution. Here are some tips to help with this process:

  • Train well: your employees must be equipped to handle the diverse needs of callers. This means they should be proficient with your software, procedures, and be comfortable communicating with all types of customers.
  • Increase motivation: employees must be motivated to improve their performance. This can be accomplished through regular performance reviews, creating fun contests/gamification and other management techniques.
  • Empower agents with the right resources and information: allows technical support agents to listen in on calls to offer support when needed, and make sure managers are available to answer questions.

Number Ten: Increase employee autonomy

Cut the canned scripts and the red tape. Autonomous teams who are not bound by restrictive customer service scripts and restrictive policies are more capable of effectively meeting customer needs by being flexible, responsive and personal.

When you remove unnecessary restrictions on capable employees (eg. the power to give refunds, make changes to account information, etc. ) you will dramatically increase First Call Resolution.

BONUS: Number 11: Enhance internal communication

Have an open-door policy when it comes to suggestions from staff about how to improve efficiencies, procedures, etc. It is important for increasing First Call Resolution. Managers should regularly solicit information from inexperienced and seasoned agents alike about their experiences and how to improve company policies and procedures. Managers should also monitor for employee effectiveness, track First Call Resolution and provide feedback to employees daily. When internal communication is a two-way street, the company and the customers win.

Your customers expect an effortless experience when they interact with your company. Give them what they want in the form of the best phone support possible.