How the Most Customer-Centric Companies Improve Their First Call Resolution Rate

Dana Youngren
Dana Youngren
4 mins

Never go to bed angry. Not with your partner, and definitely not with your customer. Ending the day with unresolved issues is nobody’s cup of tea, which means as a customer service team, improving your first call resolution rate, or FCR, is paramount to keeping your customer satisfaction high. FCR is exactly what it sounds like: a metric that measures your team’s ability to resolve a customer’s problem the first time they call, with no follow up required.

Improving your FCR rate has ample benefits to your company, including improving customer satisfaction, reducing operational costs, and increasing customer loyalty. Use these six strategies to reap the benefits of a high FCR rate:

1. Know Where to Begin

We all have to begin somewhere. Before you embark on the journey of improving your FCR rate, assess the overall conditions of your customer service experience, both for the customers and employees.

You can identify common pain points through several different sources, including post-call surveys, interviews with NPS detractors, and notes uploaded to a shared platform by front-line customer service reps.

Is there a never-ending flood of customer inquiries regarding one (or several) issues? Or does your customer service team get the same question multiple times per week? Find the common pain points for your customers regarding your products and your customer service and determine what changes may need to occur within and beyond the customer service department.

2. Segment Customers in Meaningful Ways

Different types of people are more likely to encounter different types of problems with your product. Better understand the pain points and needs of your customers by dividing them into meaningful categories (age, location, industry, use case, etc.) and track what problems are most often reported by each customer segment.

If you’re using a knowledge sharing platform that lets you create your own categories, you may want to set up categories for common segments (such as use case) so that your reps can easily navigate to the information that will be most relevant to a particular customer.

When you treat your customers like the multi-faceted human beings they are, you are better able to provide them efficient service. Which leads us to our next strategy…

3. Anticipate the Needs of Your Customers

At this point, you’ve segmented your customer base into meaningful groups with their own unique needs, you have an idea of what those needs are, and you know how to solve those needs with speed and quality. So how do you combine these three pieces of knowledge to better anticipate your customers’ needs? Two of these three pieces of knowledge are moving variables: who is your customer and where are they in their customer journey? By asking the customer a few simple questions at the beginning of their call, you will already know who they are and what they need, and you’ll be prepared with the information and resources you need to resolve their issue.

4. Document Everything

If all of these techniques occur in a vacuum, you won’t see any improvement to your FCR. There isn’t a single issue you’ll have to resolve only once, so document, document, document. The next time a repeat issue comes around, you’ll know exactly how to handle it. If your team couldn’t resolve the issue on the first call last time, now is your chance to correct that.

If you have a knowledge sharing platform with a Q&A component, add questions from your customers as they come in, and then answer them in the platform (or have an expert on the subject provide an answer). That way, team members can search for customer questions by keyword and quickly find the information they need. The more questions you add to the platform, the more likely a team member is to find an answer to their customer’s question, increasing the likelihood that they’ll be able to resolve the customer’s issue on the first call.

5. Capture Tacit Knowledge in Your Knowledge Sharing Platform

You can use your knowledge sharing platform to store more than just process documents and FAQs. A knowledge sharing platform can help you capture the tacit knowledge of experienced employees, enabling your employees to learn from each other.

For example, maybe you have a representative who, based on her years of experience, has become very skilled at de-escalating frustrated customers. You could have this representative record some of her calls, or make a video where she talks about her strategies, and add those resources to your knowledge sharing platform. Other reps could then listen to the recordings or watch the video to get a better understanding of what works well for their experienced co-worker. And that sets everyone up to deliver better customer service and resolve issues as quickly and effectively as possible.

6. Learn From Your Mistakes

A poor FCR rate doesn’t just happen for no reason. Usually, repeat customer calls indicate that something isn’t working, either with the product or your process. Once you’ve identified common customer inquiries, start asking questions to determine why this issue is the cause of more phone calls than others. Is there a lack of customer-facing content surrounding the issue? Is the customer-facing content confusing or hard to find? Learn from your mistakes to improve the customer (and customer service representative) experience.

No matter what industry you’re in, customer satisfaction should be your top priority. Improving your first call resolution rate will show your customers you care, save everybody’s time, and save your company money. With the right knowledge sharing platform, your customer service representatives will be empowered to document processes, learn from each other, and find the information they need to provide speedy service.

June 19, 2019

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