First Call Resolution,
First Contact Resolution, or
First Conversation Resolution?
A traditional FCR would be a direct-dial or IVR call by a customer to a call center agent. Ideally, the customer would state the problem to the agent and the agent would provide information to the customer that would solve the problem and/or satisfy the customer’s need for resolution. Conversely, in the social media world, using a tradition definition of FCR doesn’t apply. For example, if the customer seeks resolution on your website’s FAQ, you have no cookie or tracking method in place to follow the customer, and the customer leaves your website without resolution, does your customer’s search effort count as a first contact?
Clearly, ‘FCR’ is no longer a ‘one size fits all’ abbreviation.
With smartphones, customers have global access at all times, as long as they have an Internet connection. Because reaching a customer at any time over a 24-hour period is possible, redefining and/or tailoring FCR according to your company’s philosophy of resolution is paramount. If your company is using a website and doesn’t have a FAQ page on it, you might want to publish a phone contact number to route those questions.
Of course, this idea begs the question: will the customer who went to your expensive website to seek a simple resolution to a general question on an FAQ that doesn’t exist actually take another step and call your call center at 2:00am? Probably not. If s/he is under the age of 35, s/he will probably chat. Do you have a chat capability on your website??
Does the customer still need an answer? Probably, else s/he wouldn’t have bothered to seek an FAQ in the first place. Since s/he went to your website first, and didn’t find the answer on a chat line or a non-existent FAQ, does that mean that no FCR took place? Yes, if the customer was routed by you to a dead-end, without resolution. Arguably, if you have a procedure in place that keeps the customer engaged throughout the resolution process over multiple channels, leading the customer to a satisfactory resolution, you have met a FCR, no matter how you define it.
If the customer needs resolution and privacy is a concern, FCR is easier to enforce. Industries like mortgage banking and healthcare deal with sensitive, personal customer information daily. Protection laws are in place to protect customers/borrowers, i.e. HIPAA in healthcare and RESPA in mortgage banking. Consequently, the more complex the issue, i.e. your customer’s health or home purchase, more strategic planning for resolution is required. So, ultimately, position your agents in a manner of customer perception that puts them on the customer’s side of the problem, not in opposition. Make the perspective clear to the customer that in order to keep his or her information private, having a chat line conversation is inappropriate and unsafe, for example.
(The only exception would be to engage in a chat conversation within the customer’s account, protected by a login name and password that is set up by your customer in advance.) Directing the customer to a direct, phone line for a verbal conversation, after security questions (again, set up in advance) are asked and answered accurately is the best way to address privacy concerns for an FCR. The bottom line is to route customers according to the complexity of their problems, within the constraints of confidentiality laws and procedures.
?Look, traditional FCR is great for phones. Channels must be understood; traditional First Call Resolution metrics are insufficient for social media, obviously. Study how you route your customers’ resolution processes and tailor your metric needs accordingly.
Don’t make FCR too complicated. Remember, only the middle word is in question here: call, contact, or conversation. Keep the priorities in check and have a mindset of finding a resolution for your customer first.
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