The Customer Service Survey

Small First Call Resolution Change Leads to Big Win

by Peter Leppik on Mon, 2010-12-06 15:28

First call resolution (FCR) is a "have your cake and eat it" metric in the call center: increasing FCR both increases satisfaction (because customers get what they want the first time) and cuts cost (because fewer people need to call back).

A couple years ago, one of our clients began focusing on FCR with the main goal to increase service levels, and a secondary objective of reducing call volume.

Customers were randomly selected to be called back by an interviewer 3-5 minutes after a customer service call.  The survey included standard satisfaction questions, as well as a question about whether the customer got what he or she wanted, and (if the customer's problem was not resolved) what more the company could have done to help.

Analysis showed that a large fraction of unresolved problems were because the customer was not authorized to make changes to the account.  Many customers of this company have shared accounts, where the primary account holder is responsible for the account, but there may be other authorized users (such as a spouse or other relative).

Company policy only allows the primary account holder to make changes to the account.  When some other authorized user called customer service, agents would tell the customer to have the primary account holder call instead.

After doing this analysis, our client decided that this response was not satisfactory: even though it enforced the company's policy, it also led to increased call volume and customer aggravation.

The solution was to have agents offer to put the customer on hold while attempting to reach the primary account holder for authorization.  For many routine customer requests the needed authorization is quickly obtained, allowing the company to resolve the customer's problem immediately.

After instituting this change, our client saw a substantial increase in FCR, cutting the number of unresolved calls by about a third.  Customer satisfaction also increased, making this a classic example of the FCR win-win.

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