One of the most important services SQM offers is to help our contact center clients develop and implement a plan for improving their FCR performance. In order to develop a plan to improve FCR performance, SQM will conduct customer and employee surveys and an FCR operational survey, if not already completed by SQM or another vendor. After all surveys are completed, SQM will conduct a comprehensive analysis of your FCR, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, operational performance and contact center operating practices for opportunities for improving FCR performance.
Every client that has participated in SQM’s FCR Improvement Plan consulting service has improved their FCR. On average they have improved their FCR by 7% within one year and saved approximately $286,000 for every 1% FCR improvement.
The 4 Steps Needed for FCR Improvement Plan
Step 1 – Conduct Surveys and/or Analyze Data
Conduct customer surveys on contact center FCR delivery – This study measures your contact center FCR delivery and provides insights on reducing repeat calls from a customer perspective. Typically, SQM will conduct a minimum of 400 post-call surveys, or use your existing data, to analyze your repeat call reduction opportunities.
Conduct employee surveys on contact center FCR business practices – This study measures your contact center FCR business practices and provides insights on reducing repeat calls from an employee perspective. Typically, SQM will conduct a minimum of 100 front-line employee surveys, or use your existing data, to analyze your repeat call reduction opportunities.
Complete FCR operational survey – This study measures your contact center FCR business practices. We collect data on key aspects of the contact center operation from an FCR and financial perspective.
Analyze customer, employee and operational survey data – SQM and your organization’s FCR improvement team will conduct a deep-dive analysis of all survey data sources to properly understand opportunities for improving FCR, operating costs, customer satisfaction and retention by reducing repeat calls.
Note: If any of the survey data sources above are available, then conducting surveys for that source is not required.
Step 2 – Review Business Practices and/or Analyze Data
Analyze quality assurance – SQM and your organization’s FCR improvement team analyze your quality assurance business practices to determine its impact on your FCR performance and to provide insights for reducing repeat calls.
Listen to calls – SQM and your organization’s FCR improvement team listen to calls to evaluate the effectiveness of call flow and desktop applications for resolving customer calls.
Review operation – SQM and your organization’s FCR improvement team will review and discuss the findings of the customer, employee and operational survey data with senior management. This review is used to gain a clear understanding of operational business practices and agreement on the opportunities for reducing repeat calls.
Conduct focus groups – SQM will conduct focus groups with frontline CSRs and Supervisors to get insights on FCR practices from their perspective.
Step 3 – Develop FCR Improvement Recommendations
Based on gathering and analyzing data and sharing current performance with senior management, SQM’s consultant team will develop an FCR Improvement Plan. The development of FCR Improvement Plan can be a collaborative approach (SQM consultant team and organization team) or use only the SQM consultant team. The FCR Improvement Plan will focus on the top 10 best practice areas for improving FCR. The top 10 best practice areas will be assessed for FCR improvement opportunities. The FCR Improvement Plan will be developed based on the top 3 to 5 best practice opportunity areas for improving FCR. Listed below are the top 10 best practices for improving FCR:
Call Routing – determine if your call routing (e.g., call type, line of business, segment, contact center) practices are conducive for providing FCR.
Customer Surveying – determine if your VoC metrics (e.g. FCR, call resolution and Csat) and targets are appropriate. In addition, we will provide options for capturing VoC metric data through different survey methods (e.g. IVR, phone, email and SMS).
VoC Performance Management System – determine if your Performance Management System holds employees accountable for their performance and motivates them to improve their FCR and call resolution performance.
FCR Improvement Process – determine if your organization has a process in place for reducing repeat calls.
Concierge Service – determine if your organization has an effective practice for handling calls that require other organizations or departments for resolving the call.
Customer Quality Assurance – determine if your organization’s quality assurance program has a positive impact on improving FCR and call resolution.
Hiring Customer-Centric CSRs – determine if your organization’s hiring practices are helpful for improving and sustaining FCR and call resolution.
Handling Escalation Calls – determine if your organization has an effective call escalation practice for resolving calls and creating high customer satisfaction.
Focused FCR Training – determine if your organization has an effective training program for helping CSRs and supervisors provide high FCR and call resolution.
Technology – determine if your organization’s technology (e.g., knowledge management tool, customer quality assurance, call routing, unified desktop and customer relationship management) is effective for providing high FCR and call resolution.
Step 4 – Assess Implementation of the FCR Improvement Plan (Optional)
Completion Assessment – SQM will assess what percentage of the FCR Improvement Plan has been implemented effectively.
Re-calibration – SQM will re-calibrate expected FCR gains based on completed implementation progress.
Implementation – SQM will provide recommendations on how to implement FCR effectively.
Top 5 Reasons to Improve Your FCR Performance
Reduce operating cost – for every 1% improvement in FCR, a contact center reduces its operating costs by 1%. If a contact center is performing at the FCR contact center industry average of 70%, it is important to understand that, potentially, 30% of customers will have to call back because their issue was not resolved on the first call. It is also important to note that for the contact center industry average, it takes 1.5 calls to resolve a customer’s inquiry or problem yet for customers who do not achieve FCR, it takes on average, 2.5 calls to resolve their call. This is an enormous opportunity to reduce a contact center’s operating costs as repeat calls represent 23% of the average contact center’s operating budget.
Improve Csat – for every 1% improvement in FCR, there is a 1% improvement in Csat (top box response). Clearly, FCR is highly correlated to Csat. In fact, of all the contact center internal or external metrics, FCR is the metric with the highest correlation to Csat. The absence of FCR is the strongest driver of customer dissatisfaction. In fact, as previously mentioned, Csat (top box response) drops, on average, 15% every time a customer has to call back to get their initial call resolved. In other words, if a customer had to call in three times to get their call resolved their Csat (top box response) would be 30% lower than a customer who had their call resolved on the first call.
Improve Esat – for every 1% improvement in FCR there can be a 1% to 5% improvement in Esat. Contact centers with high FCR tend to have high Esat. Conversely, contact centers with low FCR tend to have low Esat. The level of stress is very high for the CSR who handles the second or third call from a customer whose issue was not resolved on the first call. Increasing FCR improves both Esat and Csat. The bottom line is that when customer calls are consistently resolved on the first call, Esat can increase substantially, especially for low FCR performing contact centers. Most contact center managers connect to the concept that high Esat can provide high Csat/FCR, but it also goes the other way in that high Csat/FCR can provide high Esat.
Increase opportunities to sell – when a customer’s call is resolved, it increases the customer cross-selling acceptance rate by up to 20%. SQM’s research shows that the customer’s needs must be resolved before the CSR has earned the right to move on to any type of sales activity. If the CSR cross-sells before the inquiry or problem is resolved, the customer typically becomes irritated and feels that the organization is pushing its needs, rather than serving the customer’s needs. As a result, the fundamental customer relationship is undermined.
Reduce customers at risk – only 2% of customers who have their call resolved on the first call expressed their intent not to continue to use the organization’s products and services as a result of their contact center experience. However, if the call is unresolved, 19% of customers expressed their intent not to continue to use the organization’s products and services as a result of their contact center experience. The cost of customer defections as a result of their contact center experience tends not to be understood by contact centers because it is not often measured. For many contact centers, retaining customers represents the biggest opportunity to add true value to their organization. Resolving calls is the key to reducing customers at risk. In fact, for every 2% improvement in FCR there is a 1% improvement in call resolution which results in helping the contact center retain customers.
The total investment to have an SQM consultant and support team conduct and facilitate the development of the FCR Improvement Plan is approximately $25,000. There is an additional cost if SQM needs to conduct surveys (i.e., customer, employee or operational). There will also be additional charges to cover applicable taxes, travel and accommodation expenses for an SQM consultant.