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How to improve first call resolution in contact centres

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In any inbound contact centre the ideal scenario would be to effectively and efficiently handle calls the first time around thereby eliminating the need for customers to call back and decrease call volumes. Here are some tips to achieving this state.

"Start the process by measuring first call resolution rates,' says Jonty Pearce editor of the Call Centre Helper. Once staff performance has been calculated investigate the primary cause for customer complaints.

Knowing and understanding why the customer has called is central to addressing customer concerns. It is essential to properly identify the problem and endeavour to resolve it, as opposed to pacifying irate customers.

"As much as 50 to 70% of incoming customer contacts may be generated by a failure within systems and products.'

Organisations need to work backwards to identify the root cause of customer complaints. Pearce provides two basic steps managers can take to ascertain the problem.

A simple but often neglected practice is to "start listening to calls yourself'. A convenient way of doing this is to collect some sample calls, burn it onto a CD and listen to it while driving.

Another key source of information is your frontline staff. Speak to agents about daily calls in order to deepen your understanding of customer needs.
According to Jonty Pearce there are also two areas that often lead to incompetence in dealing with customer complaints.

The first is a lack of product knowledge. It is common practice for employee training to start and end at the induction phase. In addition employers have a tendency to "fix gaps in product knowledge typically by getting managers or team leaders to act as a first line help desk.' This hinders individual development and growth in the company.

Broken processes in the organisation could also hamper capabilities in addressing customer complaints. This issue can be harder to identify and resolve but its impact on business efficiency is immense.

Pearce talks about other pertinent issues facing the call centre sector such as the relevance of ACD stats and the advantages of turning agents into customer advocates in his vide 15 tips to improve first call resolution in the call centre.

By Cindy Payle

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