According to a recent survey by Talkdesk, First Contact Resolution is the most important metric by which managers assess the success of a contact centre. Important for both efficiency and profitability, FCR is also crucial for good customer experience – in fact research carried out by the Service Quality Measurement Group found that the highest customer rated contact centres had an average FCR rate of 86%.

With its ability to reduce contact volume, increase service level and quality, and improve customer experience and brand loyalty, it’s no wonder FCR is such a hot topic amongst industry experts. Here are some top tips on improving FCR in your contact centre.

Measure FCR

First things first, you’ll need an idea of the FCR rate in your contact centre and what, if anything, is causing problems. Measuring FCR is the first step towards understanding how it needs to be improved and the benefits are many; according to The Ascent Group, 60% of companies who began measuring their FCR saw up to a 30% improvement over a year. Once you’ve identified that your FCR needs to be improved, use speech analytics or call recording to monitor how and why calls go wrong and what leads to customers needing to make repeat contact.

Improve training and simplify systems

Research conducted by Frost & Sullivan showed that 60% of repeat enquiries to contact centres were caused due to a failure in process or training. A poorly trained agent is unlikely to be able to help a customer resolve their query without assistance or a second call, not to mention increasing customer frustration and negatively impacting CX. Make sure all of your agents are properly trained and that this training is refreshed and kept up-to-date with the implementation of any new systems.

Of course, there’s only so much an agent can do if a system or process is unwieldy and overcomplicated. Simplifying the scripts and processes used by your agent to deal with calls will ensure your agents are able to access the information they need quickly and efficiently, enabling them to assist customers to the best of their ability.

Minimise turnover

Problems can also arise when a contact centre has a high agent turnover, as new agents may need time to settle in and adjust to your processes. Again, simple systems and good training should go some way towards ensuring new agents are up to scratch as soon as possible but minimising turnover and keeping experienced agents will be much better for FCR.

Offer incentives

One way to both hold on to experienced agents and improve FCR is to offer an incentive program that encourages agents to work harder to resolve customer issues within their first enquiry. Ensuring your agents understand the importance of FCR is a good idea but a proper incentive program is much more likely to encourage them to try their best.

Minimise hold times

Simplifying your systems will also help when it comes to minimising your hold times. Putting customers on hold repeatedly or for long times often leads them to lose patience and hang up, leading to repeat calls and decreased FCR.

Listen to social media

Customers often revert to social media when they’ve not been able to resolve their issue with an organisation via a contact centre. Monitor your social media accounts to see whether any repeat issues or difficulties are mentioned that you can then review and resolve.

Use multi-channel solutions

One way to improve FCR is to ensure that the only customers calling are the ones who really need agent help. Giving your customers the option of a variety of channels through which to contact you means that many will be able to find answers, complete payments, or resolve queries without having to wait to speak to an agent at all. From IVR payments to SMS and web chats, having a variety of options open to your customer is more likely to increase their satisfaction and brand loyalty, while also guaranteeing that the customers who do end up using your contact centre are the ones who will most benefit from agent interaction.