In contact center lingo, there are numerous three-letter acronyms that almost every center uses: Service Level Agreement (SLA), Average Handle Time (AHT), After Call Work (ACW), Average Speed to Answer) ASA, Abandonment Rate (ABA). However, the one I want to focus on today is especially critical – FCR: First Call Resolution.

Each call center business has its own method of attaining optimal FCR rates. Some say it is enough that a call doesn’t get transferred. Others would insist that the absence of complaints or demerits would also matter. What is certain, however, is that FCR should entail that a problem was solved in the first instance it was raised. In order to improve on your agents’ ability to resolve problems quickly in the first instance, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Improve Agent Autonomy

More often than not, the reason why agents cannot properly solve an issue is that they are not allowed to think outside the box. Being bound to a script and other restrictive policies limits the agent’s ability to handle issues effectively. Your agents must be trained to carefully listen to what the person at the other end of the line is saying and finding effective solutions for their problems, even if said solutions might deviate from their script. By removing certain limitations on agents, you can decrease the number of transferred calls and complaints to a considerable degree.

2. Train Your Agents Properly

A survey shows that 51% of customers would never do business with a company after one poor experience. There are many factors that could affect a particular person’s call but the one that consistently shows in all calls would be the agent’s competence. As such, you have to provide extensive training for agents on using your software, your policies, and every product that is currently available in the market or is about to be shipped. However, it is also important that you should train your agents to build a strong relationship with their clients by identifying what they truly need and successfully meet those.

3. Improving Internal Communication

The biggest hindrance to a successful First Call Resolution is when the agent feels that they have to make a decision with input that only another department can provide. As a result, that call gets transferred, which lowers FCR ratings for that call center. You also have to consider the fact that 72% of customers blame bad customer service to having to explain their problem to multiple people.

You can make this less of a problem for your agents and your customers by streamlining the communication process. By making your communications more focused on answering queries and making sure that all departments are in sync with each other, your customer’s satisfaction rates could increase considerably.

4. Employ Total Contact Ownership

86% of customers say that agents knowing their full-service history is crucial in their interactions. This can be made possible by implementing a Total Contact Ownership (TCO) program where an agent will monitor a problem until it is solved.The TCO can instill a sense of professionalism in your agents and makes them more trustworthy to customers. Plus, it opens opportunities for finding more mutual solutions and even negotiations, which positively affects customer relations.

5. Database

It can often be frustrating for both agents and customers when they can’t easily access valuable information. You can make this easier for everybody by giving them access to a database of product information, company policies, and other relevant information. With a database, agents no longer have to rummage through different screens and tools. This speeds up handling time. Also, it allows them to better understand what a client needs to solve the problem.

Industry trends show that by 2020, customer experience will matter more than price and product. What this only means is that you must start implementing changes in your system that should enhance the way your agents resolve client problems the moment that they are raised. Granted, not every tip above can give the assurance that every call will be resolved at the first instance. However, they do ensure that the solutions your agents provide will be more effective in dealing with a problem. This, of course, should lead to higher customer satisfaction ratings.

CH Consulting Group provides unparalleled expertise in the Contact Center and Customer Experience (CX) verticals. We have a nationwide team of industry veterans that can assist you to achieve exponential growth, manage change, and generate profit. For a comprehensive Contact Center and CX assessment and strategic plan customized for your unique business needs, connect with us here today.