holiday ornaments in a mall
As the holidays approach, businesses need to be prepared to provide positive customer experiences to achieve business success. PHOTO: Bronisław Dróżka

As the year-end holiday season kicks into full gear, customer contact center agents will be tasked to maintain customer experience in the face of increasing demand.

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2016 forecast, sales are expected to increase by 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion this year.

With increased retail spending comes the need for businesses to be prepared to provide positive customer experience to existing and new customers in order to achieve business success. Every customer interaction has a huge impact on a company’s overall achievement, and the likelihood to maintain customer loyalty.

A large part of this success comes from the front lines of customer experience, the contact center.

Get It Right on the 1st Call

In an increasingly analytics-driven industry, one of the most important statistics a contact center can measure is first call resolutions (FCR), which is the rate that examines whether or not a customer had his or her issue solved on the first interaction with the customer service team.

Getting a handle of a contact center’s FCR rate can improve customer satisfaction and reduce operation costs — it is just a matter of tackling the problem with the right tools.

In advance of the holiday season, here are five secrets to improve FCR to drive business success through the New Year:

1. Find Repeat Calls and Analyze Them

Call center technology allows customer service agents to establish rules to capture and count the amount of calls from the same phone number, account number, or case number within a specific time frame.

This helps companies to specify how the calls should be summarized and reported (by agent, team, site, etc.). Then, divide the number of repeat calls by total inbound and one should arrive at your FCR.

2. Develop a Survey

Quality surveys can also be a good opportunity to collect responses from customers about FCR.

If a caller indicates he's phoned in before about the same problem, give him a list of common issues to choose from that may be causing the issue. That can help you identify some common threads in the calls.

3. Pinpoint Calls Requiring Additional Follow-Up

Using technology (and with the help of speech analytics), create categories around frequently-used words or phrases in calls such as “return policy,” “billing problem,” etc. Then, receive notifications when the terms appear and reveal a repeat call.

4. Use Speech Analytics to Discover Repeat Calls

Using next-gen speech analytics tools, customer service teams can help improve FCR. Speech analytics tools can help team members to search for caller keywords like “called before,” “last time I called,” “spoke with before,” etc.

5. Integrate FCR Techniques Into A Coaching Program

When training new hires, make sure they understand the importance of FCR and ways to improve the metric. Coach new agents on call control, new products, and other factors that can contribute to repeat calls.

In summary, increasing first call resolution rate an incredibly important way to provide the best customer service while obtaining new customers and keeping reoccurring consumers.