First-Call Resolution (FCR) is a key performance indicator of a contact centre’s efficiency, and with good reasons.

Handling calls requires staff time, so when customers have to call more than once to resolve an issue, it may be necessary to hire more call agents, therefore increasing operating costs – which is never welcome. In addition, it can also have a detrimental effect on customer satisfaction, as repeat interaction tends to reflect poorly on the business concerned and their ability to meet their clients’ needs. Indeed, research has shown that 10% of customers will go somewhere else if they are disappointed by a company.

Yet, you can increase your FCR percentage by adopting a “contact avoidance” strategy and significantly eliminate the need for repeat calls. While identifying their root cause should be the foundation of your action plan, there are also proven methods which you can implement easily to rectify low first-call resolution rates:

  • Make sure that your call agents ask customers if they have any other questions before ending the call. If they do, this will prompt callers and provide the opportunity to eliminate a follow-up call.
  • Repeat calls often stem from unmet expectations, which have two causes:
    1. The call agent hasn’t clearly understood the needs of the customer. It may be time for some refresher training in listening skills. The CLOSE technique is worth considering (Contact, Listen, Object, Solve, Evaluate).
    2. The call agents don’t agree with customers what their expectations are and what would constitute a successful resolution from their point of view, which led to unmet needs (and dissatisfaction). If your staff isn’t in a position to deal with all the aspect of the query, remind them to give the customers the necessary information so that they can achieve that goal – for example, transfer them to another department which can help them.
  • Listen to escalation calls to understand what made them so and analyse the cause of the escalation. Revise your processes accordingly and brief your call agents on any new procedures.
  • Review your results regularly with customer satisfaction surveys to improve on any less satisfactory aspects of your service, and share findings with your staff.

Acquiring new customers costs 4 to 10 times more than keeping existing ones, so you want to make sure that you foster brand loyalty by providing a superior quality of service. Investing into improving first-call resolution will increase customer satisfaction and retention.