Perhaps one of the most important, yet least measured (and also most difficult to measure), customer service metrics is first contact resolution (FCR). According to a new global consumer study commissioned by NICE, half of the study’s respondents cited the ability to achieve first contact resolution as their number one reason for contacting a live agent rather than choosing, or continuing with, an online self-service method. No customer wants to have to ask twice when it comes to customer service, so how can organizations deliver first contact resolution more often, across more service channels? Here are 6 tips for consistently getting it right the first time:
1. Provide at least one live agent service channel. While the telephone stands as the tried and true live service channel, more cost-effective personalized service channel options include live chat and offering dedicated live customer service on Facebook (even if it’s only during a set number of hours each day). Always give customers that option to “talk” to someone directly if they need to.
2. Collect and Use Customer Data and Feedback. Personalized service is a growing expectation across all customer service channels. Forty percent (40%) of the NICE survey respondents said they expect agents to be informed of their customer service history and experiences upon beginning a customer service interaction.
Companies must make a concerted effort to break down siloed customer information and to collect and centralize customer information, histories and feedback from all channels. This is key in moving from simply providing customer service to providing a customer experience, where the customer feels the brand or organization knows and values them, and the customer never has to repeat their service issue or their past experiences.
3. Don’t penalize CSRs for longer support times if they are achieving first contact resolution. Sometimes slow and steady will win the race, or at least greater customer loyalty. If customer retention and satisfaction metrics are going up at the cost of speed or number of customer interactions per day, organizations must decide between what really matters at the end of the day.
Consumers participating in an annual ClickFox Customer Tipping Points survey listed having to speak with multiple agents, starting over, and not achieving a service resolution on the first try as three of their biggest customer service frustrations. Give the CSR that accepted flexibility to take a few extra minutes if it means he or she can answer the consumer’s problem or question on the first try.
4. Use routing to match customers with the best CSR. Customer-centric organizations would be wise to take a lesson from companies like Match.com and eHarmony. These matchmaking masters take total strangers who enter data on their website and pair them with the individual whom they believe they would best get along with.
The same goes for customer service using software that features routing capabilities. Customers submitting a help desk ticket, engaging in live chat, or posting a question on social media can successfully be matched with the best customer service representative for them based on select criteria such as customer support tier, the CSR’s product or service expertise, department-specific issues, the need for a time-sensitive response and more – increasing the chances for first contact resolution.
5. Give your CSRs the training and knowledge they need. What has worked in your organization or another to consistently achieve first contact resolution? Collect tips and methods and incorporate them into CSR training.
In addition, keep your company’s knowledgebase current and make it easily accessible and searchable for your customer service agents and your organization’s entire staff. The NICE survey referenced earlier notes that one third of all respondents report high customer satisfaction after interacting with knowledgeable service representatives.
6. Give your customers the knowledge they need. Beefing up your online self-service content helps customers achieve first contact resolution and provides an extra level of satisfaction from being able to solve the problem themselves.
Great customer content also plays a key role in efficiency. Not only does self-serve first contact resolution help the organization by deflecting a majority of daily calls, emails and other high-touch interactions; it gives the customers the answers they need in a timeframe that is convenient to them. Sixty-six percent (66%) of consumers in the NICE survey say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good online customer service. In addition, 45% of U.S. online consumers will abandon their purchase if they can’t find quick answers to their questions.
First contact resolution doesn’t have to be a fluke. Delight your customers more often, across more channels with an efficient and effective customer service experience using the six tips above.
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