First Contact Resolution (© boonchok / Fotolia.com)
First Contact Resolution (© boonchok / Fotolia.com)

The term ‘first contact resolution’ is a very important principle in the world of marketing and advertising, but even more important when it comes to CRMcustomer relationship management. In this article, we will be exploring the first contact resolution (FCR) as it relates to both of these approaches. We will get into why the first contact resolution is important and how you can use it as a tool in business.

 

The Rise of CRM and FCR

Customer service is more important than ever, and businesses that make customer service their number one priority are going to be the ones that survive the coming decades. Technology may improve, marketing methods may change, but one thing will always be consistent – people will want their problems solved right away.

That’s exactly what first contact resolution is based upon. This term, sometimes swapped out with “first call resolution,” is a philosophy that when a customer calls in with a problem, that problem should be resolved on their very first phone call whenever possible. This requires not only a major commitment from the customer relationship manager, but it also requires that the company has policies in place to take care of those problems – particularly a set of tools that CRM’s can use to solve those issues when someone calls in with them.

The Customer Relationship Manager

The CRM, or customer relationship manager, is an important position within a company. Many people confuse this term with a regular customer service representative, but there are many differences between the CSR and the CRM. A customer service rep is simply someone who works with customers when they call in, such as a software company that provides technical support.

A customer relationship manager, on the other hand, is someone who specializes in first-class customer service. A CRM is usually someone assigned to big clients, and unlike the CSR, who usually help anyone who calls in, the CRM will have only a few clients assigned to them – and in some cases just a single client.

However, that doesn’t mean that the CSR is never in a FCR environment. In fact, many call centers have an FCR policy in place and want every phone call to resolve the customer’s problem quickly, easily and within one single phone call.

How to Ensure First Contact Resolution is Happening

FCR is not an accident. Sometimes, a client may call in with a simple request that can be resolved in a single, five-minute phone call. But consistent FCR that makes it a policy that customer complaints get resolved in a single phone call takes an enormous amount of work – both by the company making that policy and by the customer relationship manager themselves. Let’s go over some of the things that need to happen in order to make the first contact resolution a reality for your company.

  1. Customer profiles should be created so that you understand customers and their problems better. The more that you understand a customer, the more easily you can anticipate their problems, and anticipating problems is key to doing first contact resolution. You may need tools and information to solve a customer problem, and the only way that you can do that is if you know in advance that the problem could exist.
  2. In addition, contact resolution that required multiple phone calls must be analyzed throughout the entire company. You absolutely need to understand why you could not fulfill a customer’s needs with a single phone call. Of course, there are going to be times when this is impossible, but these are isolated incidents and you can simply review them and discard them from your audit. The main things that you will be looking for are patterns in customer needs and shortcomings that your company has from different areas.
  3. Finally, you should look at all of your policies to determine where potential problems could occur in the future. You aren’t just interested in ensuring that past problems aren’t being repeated, you want to have a contingency plan for all potential problems in the future. Being able to solve a customer’s problem requires that you have prepared for it, and analyzing your company policies can reveal things that will make this much more difficult.

Why is FCR so Important?

So, why is FCR so important in business? There are several reasons why businesses should be implementing FCR in their policies. First of all, customers will not be loyal to your business if they are continually having problems that you have to address. If you cannot solve their problem in one phone call, there is a good chance that they will go somewhere else and not come back. In addition, you should be aware that if you do not solve a problem in a single phone call, and they have to call back, then you have just doubled your cost. If they have to call back a third time, then you have tripled your cost – and so on.

Conclusion

The bottom line with FCR is that it should be one of the top priorities of every business out there, no matter what products or services they sell, and no matter where they are located. First contact resolution is absolutely vital in the era of Amazon, who excels at this. If you want to compete online then you have to do what other companies are doing to excel.


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