In 2012, SupportIndustry.com released a survey which concluded that every time a customer called in to get support from customer service lines, it cost the receiving company between $10 and $24 dollars. This did not differentiate between second and third calls from the same customer or on the same issue, which means that literally every single call received in a support center can cost your company.
What is the solution? Emphasize, train for, and empower your agents to achieve a first call resolution (FCR) every time they receive a call. You’ve probably heard this before, but what are the brass tacks of accomplishing good numbers in such a metric? Here are some pointers that may change your perspective.
Don’t just hire someone who can fill the position, hire someone who can fulfill it. Customer support agents receive a lot of training, but there’s only so much that a textbook can do. Filtering your applicants to find the best-suited personality for your customer support positions includes taking into account the person’s fiscal intelligence, emotional intelligence, and stress management skills. Spending your resources on the right person for the job is the first step in decreasing the number of callbacks you get.
Once you’ve chosen your agents, give them the right information to set them up for success. Make sure you impart to your new hires the basics of customer service and support — what questions to ask, what information to elicit, how to troubleshoot, when to escalate, and when to just listen. Ideally, an expert customer service agent can take any call and resolve it in one go. While that may not always be feasible, it’s a good goal to have in mind.
Now that your agents are trained, you’ll need to make sure they have all the customer support tools necessary to succeed. One single person can’t be expected to memorize all the company information and every potential customer service scenario — but your knowledge base is there for that. Creating an all-encompassing, fully searchable knowledge base will allow each agent to access the answers they need at any given moment during a call. Among other necessaries, you will want to ensure that your agents have access to other self-service tools like customer support forums, downloadable resources, and quick communication between agents so that they can collaborate with other team members as well.
Finally, once you’ve given your agents everything you can, the next step is to give them your trust. Empowering your representatives to make the choices they need to make and follow through with support decisions is the bottom line when it comes to FCR’s. If your agents know they have your support behind them in their decision making skills, it improves confidence and morale at the same time as allowing the agents to close a call and resolve a concern without having to hang up and get permission first, resulting in a second call to complete the transaction.
Although FCR is not the true indicator of successful customer service, it is one of the main components to be sure. Keeping your agents up to snuff in this department is sure to have a positive effect on your company this quarter!