All you need to know about workforce management

Workforce management is a term used for an institutional process that maximizes performance levels and competency for an organization. This process consists of all the activities needed to maintain a productive workforce, such as field service management, human resource management, performance and training management, data collection, recruiting, budgeting, forecasting, scheduling, and analytics. In other words, workforce management is an integrated set of processes that call centers use to optimize the productivity of its agents on the individual, departmental, and entity-wide levels. It also includes determining and providing schedules, forecasting, and adherence for a workforce in their future events.

Workforce management
Workforce management

The process provides a common set of performance-based tools and software for the service optimization in corporate management, front-line supervisors, store managers and workers across manufacturing, distribution, transportation, and retail operations.

Workforce management 2
Workforce management 2

The solutions using this management process can be deployed enterprise-wide and through mobile platforms. By using a software solution for demand-oriented workforce management, planners can optimize staffing by creating schedules that obey the forecasted requirements at all times. Moreover, it helps users to observe all relevant legislation, local agreements and the contracts of individual employees including work-life balance guidelines.

Workforce management solutions
Workforce management solutions

These efficient solutions are meant to satisfy the reality of the work that is being presented to agents. These solutions help the agents to inculcate a pool of in-depth and specific talent to be available in order to satisfy customers fully. Some of these talents include:

i) good listening ability

ii) familiarity with keyboard and IT skills and a

iii) knowledge of the business they are working in

iv) familiarity with either specific customers or customer subsets

v) specific technical knowledge

vi) exceptional customer experience and empowerment for the customer

vii) language skills (both in domestic and international markets)

viii) ability to deal with multimedia interactions

ix) Similar regional accent to the caller (where applicable).

Workforce management solutions
Workforce management solutions

 

 

 

Tips to reduce after call work time: II

1. Use repetitive calls as an advantage for wrap time:

Repetitive calls can be advantageous for work time. Consider making a process document of common best practice call text paragraphs. These call text paragraphs can further be classified into the types of calls your agents receive. This categorized process document can then be sent to them electronically so that they can have it open on their desktop and paste across without re-writing standard advice/actions every time. Some of this text may also be useful to paste into emails which would further save their time.

 

Copy and paste call texts
Copy and paste call texts

2. Make the most out of “hold time”:

There are many instances when calls may have to be put on hold to verify some facts or to route it to another agent or to look up for a solution. This hold time can actually be leveraged to increase the efficiency. Therefore, if you train your agents properly, they may be able to utilize this time to make some entries into the call log in order to reduce the ACW load.

Hold time
On Hold 3d words for waiting for assistance, help or service with great frustration

3. Consider getting feedback:

This strategy can be highly helpful in reducing the after call work time. For this, you need to find out how useful the call text is to the people that depend upon it (other departments, levels of escalation, field operatives, etc.). You also need to know if the details that are being entered are correct or not. In case something is essential or not needed let your team know.

Feedback
Feedback

4. Review:

Lastly, review the statistics and quality of call text from a cross section of team members. Identify the good ones that could be shared as best practice. Also, make sure to identify people that continually take longer in wrap or produce poor results so as to coach them and improve their efficacy.

 

Review
Review

 

 

 

 

Tips to reduce after call work time: I

After call work time is a term used to describe the time taken by an agent to complete any transactions or work for a customer after the call has ended. This is considered as an important bit of time in a contact center once a call has ended when the advisor can update the system with the caller’s resolution, next steps, details or order notes. Apart from this, they may also need to make some outbound calls or send emails during this time to progress the caller’s resolution. Once it is done, the agent has to feed the relevant data into the CRM software so that it can be recorded for security purpose and for future marketing needs.

Wrap time
Wrap time

Now, we know the significance of after call work time. Let’s have a look at some of the strategies to reduce it in order to increase the efficiency of the call center:

1. Provide proper training to the agents: 

In order to reduce the after call work time, you need to train your agents clearly on what is required in call text, logs or notes. You can consider employing speech analytics software to make entries into the CRM data sheet or call logs automatically. You need to train your agents appropriately before they can use this technology efficiently. Their minds should be trained in a way that they are able to multi-function. They should be efficient enough to not make typos and spot them quickly. Moreover, they should be able to make some notes and entries while talking to the client without taking the attention of the caller. This would help improve KPIs.

Training
Training

2. Strive to manage time classifications:

The overall wrap times of a call center will be hugely inflated if people are using these for breaks, chat time, drink refills, etc. As a matter of fact, most contact centers do have targets on wrap time, which can vary depending on the type of center, but often around 5% of average handling time is used. Making the time classifications clear at a team briefing can help in improving the metrics to a large extent.

Managing time classifications
Managing time classifications

 

 

 

Your guide to speech analytics software

Speech analytics refers to the process of analyzing recorded calls to gather customer information to improve communication and future interaction. The process is primarily used by customer contact centers to extract information regarding client interactions with an enterprise. Speech analytics is somewhat similar to automatic speech recognition, however, it can also be used for analyzing the topic being discussed, which is weighed against the emotional character of the speech and the amount and locations of speech versus non-speech during the interaction. The technology can be leveraged to know about cost drivers, trend analysis, identify strengths and weaknesses with processes and products, and help understand how the marketplace perceives offerings.

Speech analytics
Speech analytics

Speech analytics applications are capable of spotting spoken keywords or phrases, either as real-time alerts on live audio or as a post-processing step on recorded speech. It can also be used for categorization of speech in the contact center environment to identify calls from unsatisfied customers.

Spotting spoken keywords and phrases
Spotting spoken keywords and phrases

Call centers employ speech analytics software to identify things like the reason for the call, the products mentioned and the caller’s mood. Speech analytics software is capable of quickly identifying a customer’s needs, wants and expectations if used efficaciously. Moreover, it also helps in identifying areas that need improvement for agents and the business.

Speech recognition for call centers
Speech recognition for call centers

Speech analytics software can also be used to monitor and coach agents. It can further be used for assisting in managing customers and their data. In the case of call monitoring, speech analytics software can help identify selling opportunities and track script adherence and regulatory compliance. When inculcated in the training module, this software can help to improve first call resolution and shorten call times. Operational and performance issues can be found and managed effectively through customer as well as agent monitoring.

Training agents
Training agents

 

Your guide to call center schedule adherence

Call center schedule adherence is an important terminology related to call centers. It refers to the common metric used in the call center to determine whether or not call center agents are working the amount of time they are scheduled to work. Schedule adherence can take into account time spent on breaks or do non-call related work.

Call center schedule adherence
Call center schedule adherence

Measurement:

Schedule adherence is measured as follows:

Total time a call center agent is available for call work /  The time they are scheduled to work

The result is expressed as a percentage. Most call centers define a target schedule adherence percentage that allows for some free time beyond the known scheduled lunch and break times. However, there are instances where agents to go out of adherence as call center schedules tend to be complex.

Measurement
Measurement

Importance:

Call center schedule adherence is a crucial call center metric that ensures smooth transitions between shifts assigned to the agents. These days, web-based call center scheduling solutions have become essential to track schedule adherence in real-time with automatic alerts. You can leverage these tools for an appropriate calculation of schedule adherence. Moreover, these tools can be used to track adherence in real-time. Thereafter, these adherence reports can be shared with agents and they can be told how they are doing as it is important to give regular feedback regarding adherence statistics.

Web based tools for workforce management
Web-based tools for workforce management

You need to consider informing and educating your agents before implementing a new program. This is vital in order to reduce negative backlash from your agents in such cases. Agents need to understand the relevance of schedule adherence and how it affects the call center’s performance. Also, providing incentives by rewarding agents that adhere to their schedule through recognition within the team, will further motivate them to perform better and deliver exceptional services.

Rewards
Rewards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tactics to reduce your call abandon rate: V

1. Provide your agents with the right tools:

The tools that you provide to your agents play a crucial role in deciding the quality of their service. In certain scenarios where the agents are provided with complex tools, that they are unable to use appropriately, they take much more time than expected to handle calls. This affects the quality of customer service and boosts the call abandon rates. Thus, instead of using five different tools which are for free, consider having a developer create one tool that incorporates all the five tools and is easy to use as well. This will help increase your agents’ efficiency and ultimately lower the call abandon rates.

Providing the right tools
Providing the right tools

2. Find the appropriate agents: 

Finding the right people to do work can help assure that calls would be handled quite nicely. With all the calls handled well, the time spent on one call should be short and there would be a lot less number in the queue. Thereafter assigning the respective tasks to the appropriate agents will help you be sure that work will be done well and there will be minimal or no delays. This further means that the callers will not have to wait for long time intervals and their calls will be transferred to the agents as soon as possible. Therefore, customer satisfaction would be an added bonus along with a lowered call abandon rate.

Find the right agents
Find the right agents

3. Make use of the right technology:

Though there is no harm, making use of old tools and old equipments but sometimes these can run slow and affect how agents work. This can, in turn, increase the call handling time and also increase call abandon rate. So, you need to find and use the best, fastest and most efficacious technology. An upgraded, efficient technology helps a lot, especially when you are multi-tasking.

Choose the right technology
Choose the right technology

 

 

Tactics to reduce your call abandon rate: IV

1. Know your customers:

This is one of the most important and effective strategies when trying to reduce your call abandon rate. In order to be able to provide your customers with good messages, good music, and everything else that would help you improve your call abandon rate, you need to know them thoroughly. Therefore, you need to go above and beyond to get the information that you would need to further improve your queue message, on- hold music etc.

Know your customers
Know your customers

2. Keep yourself updated with the latest trends:

In order to effectively reduce your call abandon rate, you need to keep yourself updated with new trends being used in the world of customer service. You need to be aware of the new trends in providing service. Moreover, you need to figure out those specific days of the week when there are a lot more calls as compared to other days. Once you have figured out the busiest days, take measures to lessen the burden and increase the call center’s capacity for those particular days. This would help lessen the call abandon rate and give your business more positive reviews from customers.

Keeping updated with the trends
Keeping updated with the trends

3. Train your agents appropriately:

Consistent training sessions should be held to improve the efficiency of training agents. They should be trained to handle even the worst of all customers. This would help you keep them updated with the latest trends and make them learn about the advancements in the technology. Moreover, these training sessions would help them perform better even during times when they are too pressured and stressed out. When trained appropriately, these agents can easily handle calls and provide solutions that are needed by the customers. This would effectively improve the quality of customer service and lower the call abandon rate.

Training your agents
Training your agents

Tactics to reduce your call abandon rate: III

1. Offer a callback facility:

In order to reduce the call abandon rate, you can consider replacing hold time with a callback. According to research conducted by Forrester, providing the customers with an option to hold their place in the queue and go on to do something else is highly appealing, with 75% stating a preference for it. Therefore, instead of asking your customers to wait on hold allow them to request for a callback. This will lead to the customer being immediately released from the waiting list. Thereafter, he can be given a callback as soon as an appropriate agent is available. Apart from lowering the call abandon rate it also leads to an increased first call resolution, thus benefiting the organization.

Call back facility
Call back facility

2. Employ omni- communication channel:

This is yet another tactic that can effectively reduce your call abandon rate. Omni-channel communication channel refers to various channels of support other than the phone. Employing omni-channel communication channel would definitely lower the burden and reduce call abandonment. You must consider adopting omni-channel communication to provide a consistent experience to your customers across channels.

Omni communication channel
Omni communication channel

3. Consider changing your on-hold music:

According to a research has shown that 71% of customers like to listen to music while they are on hold. Therefore, your choice of music plays a crucial role in maintaining the customers’ patience. As a matter of fact, the music played at the time of hold could be causing the callers to hang up the phone. Therefore, you need to check the analytics and see when the maximum drop-offs occur. In case it is after the music starts playing then consider replacing it with the customer’s choice of music. This can be done by asking the customers’ feedback about the on-hold music on social media sites. Based on their consensus, the required modifications can be made.

On-hold music
On-hold music

4. Change your queue message:

Customers tend to learn your queued messages when they call frequently. So, they tend to skip the instructions and directly press the required numbers as they memorize the sequence. This causes problems. Thus you can consider changing your queued messages consistently. This will help buy the agents time to finish up on earlier calls. Therefore, by the time the call goes through, there would be a lot less waiting time for the new ones.

Queued messages

Tactics to reduce your call abandon rate: II

1. Leverage CDR systems:

You can leverage CDRs i.e. call detail report systems to effectively improve the customer experience and lower your abandon rate. The call detail report systems capture information about which line a call came in on, the time it came through, how long the customer was on hold for, and which agent they eventually spoke to. It also lets you know if they hung up before being connected.

CDR
CDR

2. Manage the call queue efficiently:

Managing your call queue is a clever tactic of reducing the abandon rate. You can leverage these call detail reports to gain insight into your calls including the ones that never got answered. By knowing the KPIs such as who abandoned a call, when they called you, and how long they waited before hanging up, you can make informed decisions regarding problem resolution. Since it provides you a detailed understanding of your callers’ patience, so you can actually employ this information to improve the customer service.

KPIs
KPIs

3. Consider changing your welcome messages:

You can consider replacing the generic messages with a short welcome message which informs your customers that they are being held in a queue. As an alternative, you can also include a compliance message such as “all calls are being monitored for compliance purposes”. Also, providing them additional information will keep them on the line for longer, increasing the chance that they will get through to one of your agents.

Welcome message
Welcome message

4. Alter the frequency of queued messages:

As a matter of fact, callers would much prefer to hear music until they get through to an agent. Since in most cases, the callers get occupied with additional while they are kept on hold, every repetition of the message will draw them away from their activity, hopeful that their call has finally been answered, only to find out that they are still on hold. So, you can consider alternating between automated messages and hold music with varying intervals. As an example, you can first play the automated message and then play the hold music for 1 minute. This can be followed by another automated message and then the hold music being played for two minutes and so on.

In-queue messages
In-queue messages

 

 

 

 

 

Tactics to reduce your call abandon rate : I

As a matter of fact, callers do not like to be on hold for a long time and agents do not enjoy talking to callers who have been on hold. Bu8t these things occur quite often. According to a research, call abandonment is on the rise, as call centers are being asked to do more with less while facing increasing call volumes (growing at 20% per year). Moreover, each abandoned call reduces first call resolution (FCR) rates and leads to customer service inefficiency. This further means that a high abandon rate is a sure sign of caller frustration.

Call abandonment
Call abandonment

In order to deliver an exceptional customer service, consider lowering abandon rates as it lowers costs, improves customer satisfaction and experience. Here are a few strategies that can be employed to lower the abandon rates:

1. Consider increasing the capacity:

This is the simplest way to improve your call abandon rates. This will help in reducing or eliminating the number of customers that have to wait. Therefore, you should consider increasing the number of staff that you employ. As an alternative, you can also consider making changes to your scheduling or reducing your average handling time.

Increasing capacity
Increasing capacity

2. Be honest to your customers:

In cases where hold-times are an issue, consider preparing customers by placing a message in the interactive voice response system or automatic call distribution system. This will inhibit a sense of loyalty as you will be honestly informing them of estimated wait times. This will lower their desire to abandon the call and encourage customers to call during off-peak periods.

Estimated wait time
Estimated wait time

3. Increase your ring time:

Another useful tactic to reduce abandon rate is increasing your ring time, rather than clicking straight through to an automated message. This will help you gain vital extra seconds at a low risk. People are less likely to abandon calls at such instances because listening to the repetitive ringing sound is a familiar experience for most people and is less likely to irritate them.

Increase ring time
Increase ring time

 

 

 

Call abandonment rate and its elements

An abandoned call refers to a call or any other type of contact proposed to a call center but ends before any communication takes place. Call abandonment rate better known as “Abandon Rate” further refers to the percentage of inbound phone calls made to a call center or service desk that are abandoned by the customer before speaking to an agent.

Call abandonment
Call abandonment

Types of abandoned calls:

  • Short abandoned calls:
  • Calls abandoned in the IVR:
  • Transferred calls
Abandoned calls
Abandoned calls

Calculating abandon rate:

The mathematical formula to calculate abandon rate is as follows:

Abandonment rate % = [Number of Calls offered – Number of Calls handled] / [Number of Calls offered] * 100

There exists a revised formula for the above calculation which excludes shortly abandoned calls ( occurring due to various reasons):

Abandonment rate % = [Number of Calls offered – Number of calls abandoned in 5 seconds – Number of Calls handled] / [Number of Calls offered – Number of calls abandoned in 5 seconds] * 100

Abandon rate
Abandon rate

Common mistakes regarding abandon rate calculation:

i) Excluding short abandoned calls:

Generally, calls that abandoned in the first 5 seconds are excluded due to two reasons:

  • Customers dial the wrong number and only realize when the call is connected.
  • They dial the right number but think they may have dialled a digit incorrectly and then hang up and redial just to be sure.

ii) Failure to measure calls abandoned in the IVR:

The correct procedure of calculation is measuring the abandon rate from the telephone network side of the system and not the agent queue. But unaware of this fact, many people fail to measure calls being abandoned in the IVR. The reason being that they had chosen to only start the statistics from the moment that people left the IVR and joined the queue proper.

iii) Counting transferred calls as two different ones:

This is yet another mistake that people often make. It is not a correct method of abandon rate calculation if you count transferred calls as calls that have been handled twice.

Abandoned calls
Abandoned calls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to deal with a difficult customer: III

1. Leverage the power of your smile:

Callers would appreciate calm and friendly demeanor. Donning a pleasant expression automatically helps your voice convey friendliness and openness. On the other, staying straight-faced, on the other hand, immediately removes that kindness from your voice. Therefore, try greeting a pretend client as you would on the phone i.e. out loud, first with a smile and afterwards without. This would help you deal with a difficult customer and please him/ her. Moreover you would not be subjected to hear hear more of a strain indicating that you do not really want to be talking to this person right now !

Smile while on call
Smile while on call

2. Understand that nothing is meant to be taken personally:

There are many instances where while dealing with a difficult customer, business owners or customer support agents take it personally. It needs to be understood that customer is being difficult due to past experiences with other companies. It is a fact that customers who have had bad prior experiences with other companies are often hyper-sensitive and read into things too much and often end up becoming difficult over the smallest things.  Whenever any such case is encountered, it is important to calmly and clearly put the situation into perspective for the customer and assure them that their queries will be resolved in the shortest possible time span. This will lead to the customer being calmer and more cooperative.

Dont take things personally
Don’t take things personally

 

 

3. Business owners and customers desire the same thing:

A pleasant, happy and speedy transaction is what both business owners and customers desire. Therefore, while dealing with a difficult customer, business owners can resolve any disputes by letting the customer know they are willing to fully work with them to make them happy. Letting the customer know they are there to help will lead to the customer becoming less difficult and easier to work with.

Contenting your customers
Contenting your customers

 

How to deal with a difficult customer: II

1. Let your customer’s know that you care:

In order to deal with a difficult customer, numerous of strategies can be employed. It becomes crucial to show concern for the customer’s feelings. Your voice communicates your attitude when handling customers on call. People respond more to how you say something than what you say, so, try to be as polite as possible. Your words should be convincing enough to make your customers realize that you care.

Show your concern
Show your concern

2. Let your client vent:

Never try to interject with a solution or even interrupt with clarifying questions when your client is bursting out. In most cases, clients are looking to release their frustration. Since it is a part of the job, so, it cannot be ignored but a clever tactic can be your savior. You can mute your end and let the client vent. As a matter of fact, giving the client full rein over the conversation for the first few minutes helps him or her get out those frustrations, blow off some steam, and eventually, be able to focus on getting to a resolution.

Let your client vent
Let your client vent

3. Exclude the blame game:

Instead of blaming others or your company, use indirect approach or “I” statements when trying to clarify. In order to explain what went wrong, use either the indirect approach i.e. asking relevant questions before refunding or “I” statements like “I need additional information.” as much as possible. Never acknowledge that you or your company is to blame as it could lead to lawsuits.

Stop blaming
Stop blaming

4. Use caller’s name in the conversation:

Interjecting the caller’s name into the conversation is yet another strategy to deal with unfavorable situations and a difficult customer. Addressing your client with the given scripts without using his/ her name sounds a lot more formal and much less sincere. Once you use a name, you are suddenly speaking with a real person who has a legitimate reason behind his or her frustration.

Addressing the caller
Addressing the caller

5. Go above and beyond to solve customer problems:

Try leaving no stone unturned in solving your customer’s issues. Never avoid solving their problems even if solving the customer’s problem isn’t among your job duties. Try to get all the facts you can, and then tell the customer how you can help. This would further help you tackle a difficult customer as well.

Strive to solve the problems
Strive to solve the problems

 

How to deal with a difficult customer: I

In today’s era, quality customer service is a necessity when you are trying to stand out of the crowd. It helps you differentiate your competitors. Businesses with poor customer service risk losing revenues, profits and even going out of business. You need to know that dealing with difficult customers is a part of any business and it is inevitable that you will need to deal with a difficult customer from time to time. As a matter of fact, you can’t control anyone else’s behavior. All you have control over are your own actions. However, you can influence how customers respond to you to some extent. Here are some steps to handle such situations:

1.Listening is the key:

Understand that the customer desires to be listened. So, just tune in to the customer rather than looking for the nearest exit. Strive to acknowledge and understand the customer  Let the person talk, and pay close attention to whatever he/ she says. You may even repeat or paraphrase some of what you hear.

Listening
Listening

2. Mirror your customers and connect accordingly:

In order to prepare yourself for handling difficult customers, you first need to mirror them. Some of your customers may have high technical knowledge and others may need high-level explanations. Some may need extra reassurance that things are going to be fine while others do not want to waste time unless you can offer a solution on the spot. Identifying and categorizing your customers accordingly can help you connect better with them. They will feel more like you truly understand what they want you to. Moreover, this will help them be more open to your assistance.

Mirroring your customers
Mirroring your customers

3. Never argue or show lack of interest:

Make it a point to never argue with customers when they are angry, displeased or complaining. When you allow a customer to push to an extent where you lose control of yourself, you lose control of the situation. Showing boredom, irritation, disdain or displeasure can make you lose a good customer.

Never argue with angry customers
Never argue with angry customers

4. Think before acting:

Dealing with difficult customers requires thinking before responding. Responding when angry can lead to nasty situations. Therefore, responses should exclude personal emotions and be given carefully.

Think before acting
Think before acting

 

 

 

Strategies to improve first call resolution stats: III

1. Avoid conflicting metrics:

Call centers make use of a number of metrics to determine quality and profitability.  Some of these metrics are business oriented and others are customer oriented. In order to boost the first call resolution stats, the metrics provided by the call center should be clear enough in order to avoid any confusion. Let’s take an example of conflicting metrics: If the focus is on reducing the time per call the call centers might find FCR rates falling as agents would be looking to wrap up the call as soon as possible, irrespective of the customer issues. Thus, the call center metrics should be exempted of all sorts of confusions.

Call center metrics
Call center metrics

2. Make use of agent feedback:

Agent feedback is yet another tactic of improving first call resolution stats. This requires instituting a system of soliciting feedback from your agents. Since they deal with customers all day long, they can provide insights on what changes can be made to improve FCR rate. These agent feedbacks can be used to ask about workflow, systems and processes that need to be tweaked or implemented to achieve higher rates.

Feedback from agents
Feedback from agents

3. Ensure the proper functioning of your IVR system:

A properly functioning IVR system is highly recommended for improving first call resolution rates. It exempts customer frustration so that do not hang up. Moreover, this improves the efficiency of the call center system.

Cloud IVR

4. Ensure proper resource access to the agents:

There are instances where given the dozens of applications agents need to deal with on each call, they aren’t able to quickly access that information. This causes customers to be transferred multiple times which further leads to customer dissatisfaction. Another common hurdle to first call resolution is that agents are not given the authority to deal with issues beyond the basic, such as dealing with returns, offering discounts, etc. and then the customer call gets forwarded. Therefore, providing proper access to resources can help your agents work efficiently and hence increase FCR stats.

Access to required resources
Access to required resources

Strategies to improve first call resolution stats: II

1. Minimize call escalations:

In order to improve first call resolution, you need to analyze your call center communications to find out the most frequently escalated calls. Once you understand the issues that prompt these calls, take steps to minimize the escalations. These steps may include more training, larger number of self service options on the website, change in business operations. This would help increase the FCR stats as customers don’t have to call too often.

Call escalation
Call escalation

2. Make use of group chats:

Group chats enable all members of the help desk to add information about issues they might be having and they can post questions about issues they might not be familiar with.  Some of the softwares that can be used for this purpose are Google Hangouts, Lotus Notes Same time and Skype. You can leverage these softwares to boost your first call resolution stats insanely.

Group chats
Group chats

 

3. Avoid miscommunication:

Miscommunication occurs when either the customers or the agents start assuming things. As a result, customers call again as they are not very sure how the matter will be resolved. This further results in a decrease of FCR stats. So, agents have to be very careful to avoid any chance of  miscommunication. For an effective communication, customers must be made aware of all the aspects of the case so that there is no need for them to call again to confirm.

Miscommunication
Miscommunication

4. Offer incentives and rewards:

Offering incentives and rewards is an enticing method to improve the FCR stats. You can have a monthly award for the highest level of FCR and special incentives for the team if they achieve their targets. You can consider instituting incentive programs among employees who hit the requisite numbers. This incentive can be tied in with other perks and can be in the form of bonuses, promotions, recognition and more.

Incentives and rewards
Incentives and rewards

 

 

 

 

Strategies to improve first call resolution stats: I

In our previous post, we talked about the importance of FCR for call centers. You are now familiar with the numerous benefits that first call resolution can provide you once you start using it in your organization. Now, let’s look at the some of the effective strategies that can be employed to improve your first call resolution stats:

1. Leverage knowledge database:

In order to boost the FCR rate, knowledge database can be used as a powerful tool.  Provide updated, highly informative and quality knowledge databases to your agents. Make sure that the articles in the database should be clear and concise, with good instructions on how to fix the issues. The knowledge database should be efficient enough so that the agents do not have to scroll through tons of unnecessary information.

Knowledge database
Knowledge database

2. Train your agents and provide them superior analytical tools:

Invest in training your front line agents in all the necessary elements related to your business operations. Properly trained agents can do little even if they do not have good customer service tools and resources at their disposal. To boost the FCR stats further, you can even consider investing in an efficient live chat solution that identifies where the other person is chatting from. You can deploy tools with superior analytics capabilities  and knowledge resources that make updating your FAQs and knowledge base easy.

Training agents
Training agents

3. Monitor call quality:

Monitoring involves checking call quality, making sure the agents are not being rude and checking that the right processes were followed . In cases where the agents miss an easy FCR, a helpful email should be sent informing them of where they went wrong and what they can do next time. Meetings can be set up in those cases where the agent is making consistent mistakes and the FCR level is far below what it should be.

Monitoring call quality
Monitoring call quality

 

Importance of first call resolution

By now, you are familiar with first call resolution and elements it consists of. FCR is a highly efficient method of improving chat centers’ efficiency. It is a fact that large number of organizations have heard about first call resolution but only a handful of them truly understands its importance. the actual usage of the metric is surprisingly low. The possible reason is their nonchalance towards this powerful mechanism. Here are a few reasons to let you know why you should aim for first call resolution:

1. Increases agent efficiency:

The most common parameter for evaluating the agents’ performance is call duration. It is employed by most of the call centers but it is of no use as it only leads the agents to quickly get rid of customers. Emphasizing on resolving customer issues in the first call, will not only help organizations to determine the best performers and reward that behavior but also increase their efficiency.

Increases agent efficiency
Increases agent efficiency

2. Improves customer satisfaction:

Instant query resolution is directly proportional to customer satisfaction. Therefore, an increase in first call resolution correspondingly translates to an improvement in customer satisfaction. Resolving your customers’ concerns in the first call means efficiently availing the opportunity that they give you to display the quality of service that they expect from you.

Improves customer satisfaction
Improves customer satisfaction

3. Boosts customer revenues:

First call resolution is an effective way of making your customer open to upsell or cross sell activities. But if the issue is not resolved, customers will be frustrated and will be least interested to do further business.

Boosts customer revenues
Boosts customer revenues

4. Deflates operational costs: 

FCR directly impacts the repeat calls. This leads to an increase in the operational efficiency which further reduces the operational costs. Moreover, it takes the pressure off call centers caused by call spikes. According to a research, a 15% increase in FCR results in a 57% reduction in repeat calls.

Reduces operational costs
Reduces operational costs

5. Helps gain customer loyalty:

Resolving customers issues and concerns in the first call makes customers feel that they are being acknowledged and valued by the organization, eliminating the thought of switching companies. This helps gain customer loyalty, improves customer retention and repeat businesses.

Helps gain customer loyalty
Helps gain customer loyalty

 

 

Your ultimate guide to first call resolution

First call resolution is a term related to CRM system. It means properly addressing the customer’s need the first time they call. This eliminates the need for the customer to follow up with a second call. The average time an agent spends on each call is known as talk time and is a common call center performance metric. Moreover, fast talk time averages are desirable. However, fast talk time averages accompanied by poor first call resolution rates are a sign that customer calls are not being answered satisfactorily.

First call resolution
First call resolution

Follow up calls are consistently monitored by the call center managers because in addition to being an indication of customer dissatisfaction, follow-up calls create an overall increased call volume. This further indicates the increased requirement of agents. In most cases, an increase in talk time is acceptable as long as the first call resolution rate increases along with the talk time.

Call monitoring
Call monitoring

According to a research conducted by CFI Group states that FCR has the most impact on customer satisfaction, and therefore, a customer’s loyalty and likelihood to recommend.  It also states that across all industries, almost a fifth of all callers hung up due to dissatisfaction as their issues could not be resolved.  Out of these dissatisfied callers, 68% are at risk of defection, 43% said they would definitely defect, and 25% weren’t sure. Also, it has been reported that for every 1% improvement in FCR, you get 1% improvement in customer satisfaction.  Moreover, if a customer’s inquiry or problem were resolved in the first call, only 3% of those customers would be at risk of switching to a competitor.

Unresolved queries lead to dissatifaction
Unresolved queries lead to dissatisfaction

These days, some of the centers allow agents to determine if the customer’s issue was resolved on first contact while other centers use their QA (Quality Assurance) people to decide whether calls were resolved on first contact. However, this method is based on random sampling and doesn’t reflect a complete picture. On the other hand there are a number of centers that employ post-call surveys and directly ask the customer whether or not their issue was resolved on the first contact.

Quality assurance
Quality assurance

 

 

What is meant by net promoter score?

Net Promoter Score refers to a management tool that can be utilized to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. It serves as an alternative to traditional customer satisfaction research and is correlated with revenue growth. NPS measures the loyalty that exists between a service provider and a consumer. The provider is the entity that is asking the questions on the NPS survey and consumer is the customer, employee, or respondent to an NPS survey.

Net promoter score
Net promoter score

Working of net promoter score:

The Net Promoter Score is calculated based on responses to a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague? The scoring for this answer is most often based on a 0 to 10 scale. Moreover the consumers are also categorized according to the score with which they respond:

i) The ones who respond with a score of 9 to 10 are called Promoters, and are considered likely to exhibit value-creating behaviors, such as buying more, remaining customers for longer etc.

ii) Those who respond with a score of 0 to 6 are labeled Detractors, and they are believed to be less likely to exhibit the value-creating behaviors.

iii) Responses of 7 and 8 are labeled Passives, and their behavior falls in the middle of Promoters and Detractors.

NPS elements
NPS elements

The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. For calculating a net promoter score, passives count towards the total number of respondents, thus decreasing the percentage of detractors and promoters and pushing the net score towards 0.

Companies are encouraged to follow the likelihood to recommend question with an open-ended request for elaboration, soliciting the reasons for a customer’s rating of that company or product. These reasons can further be provided to front-line employees and management teams for follow-up action. Moreover, additional questions can be included to assist with understanding the perception of various products, services, and lines of business.

An example of NPS survey
An example of NPS survey

Net Promoter System also requires a process called closing the loop. It is a process by which the provider actively makes efforts to convert a detractor into a promoter.

Converting detractors to promoters 1
Converting detractors to promoters 1

Proponents of the Net Promoter approach claim that the score can be used to motivate an organization to become more focused on improving products and services for consumers. A customer is able to leave comments in the surveys sent to them which allows a company to use the VOC (Voice of Customer) to ensure that company is meeting the expectations.

Voice of the customers
Voice of the customers