Among all success metrics first contact resolution rate, or FCR, is considered one of the most important key performance metrics indicating the quality of the customer experience and a company’s overall operational efficiency.
Why is first-contact resolution so important?
A Consumer Pulse Research Study revealed that globally, 82% of customers that switched their service provider in 2013 could have stayed with a company if their issue had been resolved in the first contact.
Meeting consumer expectations and increasing customer satisfaction are one the main reasons contact centers around the world strive to achieve higher FCR rates.
Besides that, a better FCR helps to reduce company’s operating costs, improve employee satisfaction and increase cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
What tactics can a live chat agent employ to maximize the chances of a customer’s issue being resolved in the first contact?
1. Be proactive
Proactivity is an important and indispensable quality of good customer service. It contributes to the speed of interaction, it’s efficiency and ultimately, customer satisfaction, because it shows care and engagement on the part of the agent. First contact resolution largely depends on how proactive a live chat agent is.
Being proactive involves a lot of little things:
- Analyze the customer’s profile before you even jump into a chat. Using real-time visitor monitoring, take a look at his location, browser, operating system, his membership details. This takes only a second’s glance, but gives you a much broader understanding of the customer and the right angle to look at his problem. With all these additional details at hand you will often know the exact cause of the problem and a solution to it before the customer gives you any details. If you take a few seconds to “prepare” for a chat, this time investment is paid back with minutes of time saved on long explanations, possible misunderstandings and troubleshooting. A greater awareness and speed of interaction lay a solid foundation for achieving first contact resolution.
- Check up with the customer regularly if they are gone to try or test something. If you leave the customer unattended, there is a good chance they will forget about the chat or disconnect just to call back later with the same problem. You are interested to get the problem solved there and then.
- Be totally involved in a conversation. Show your attention. Avoid giving generic answers or copy-pasting canned responses unless they are precise instructions for something and the customer has asked for it. Generic answers and canned responses can not only confuse the customer, but they also create a broken conversation, which you are not in control of. They leave the chat hanging in the air, putting successful first contact resolution at stake.
- Be personally interested to help the customer and resolve their issue. Don’t try to send them to another customer service channel or another person. The more transfers there are, the lesser is the chance for a first contact resolution. The customer will get tired of repeating his problem to multiple people, will cut out his explanations confusing another agent, or just simply hang up. Additionally, by truly caring, investing your time and energy into the conversation, you will get immense satisfaction from being able to help someone, maybe even make their day. That in itself is worth a lot, so don’t be greedy to share yourself.
2. Properly set customer’s expectations
In many live chat interactions first contact resolution does not mean fast resolution, although sometimes it may be so. If a client calls in with a complicated issue that needs testing, verifying something, it may take you a while to get the problem sorted. An important detail here is to tell the customer how much time this is going to take so that they are prepared to wait, not frustrated with their experience and don’t exist the chat session trying to reach you from another customer service channel or a day later.
First contact resolution does not always or totally depend on the live chat agent. It also depends on the customer, to what extent he is involved in a chat, patient and willing to cooperate. You can win the client’s cooperation by properly settings his expectations and letting him know when and what you are doing to help his problem.
3. Utilize live chat software to its fullest
Are you using all the features that your live chat tool offers? Many of us underutilize the applications we have purchased. Have a closer look and see how you can extract more value from something you already own. For example, such as already mentioned above, real-time monitoring allows you to get a quicker grasp of the client’s problem. There is a very powerful functionality, which allows you to pass additional information about the customer available in your website database to the operator chat console. The ability to see at a glance some key membership details will enable you to offer a solution tailored exactly to the customer’s problem and maximize the chances of a first call resolution. You can read more about this feature in our post here.
There are a bunch of other features, such as file transfer, which enables you to share more detailed information with the customers, co-browser, which you can use to see the customer’s browser and navigate him between the pages. There is proactive chat, using which you can directly act on the first suggestion to be proactive and prevent questions and problems from arising. All these tools will help you to achieve a better first contact resolution rate, so explore them in depth and be sure to make use of them.
If the live chat tool you are using right now does not have that many cool features, consider switching to a more powerful tool. At Provide Support we’ll be happy to have you.
In conclusion, first contact resolution rate depends on three things: agent’s performance, customer cooperation and the power of technology. Any steps toward achieving a higher FCR will involve improvements in one of these areas.
The industry benchmark for FCR is roughly between 55% and 75%, 68% being the average. Would you dare to strike a higher number? What methods do you employ to achieve a better FCR?