First Call Resolution – introduction to Quality Management
By Editor & Publisher Niels Kjellerup Ashgrove
rev. September 2003.
–First Call Resolution has been found to be the single most important key
challenge to improving Customer Satisfaction. The absence of First Call
Resolution has been found to account for a minimum of 30% of a call centres
operational cost. So by focusing on this issue you will get the best of both
worlds – improved productivity and improve customer satisfaction.
the past 9 months research conducted into 4 large Call Centres has led me to
believe that focus on Quality Issues is not only Nice, but Needed, if the
Call Centre Industry is to move beyond the vicious circle of cost cutting &
decreasing Customer Satisfaction. The Idiotic Vendor Metrics (IVM) inevitably
resulted in high staff turnover & Customer dissatisfaction. Instead of
providing senior management with measurements which captured the Value Created,
all they got were reports on call volume, call length, call abandon rate,
wrap-up time & a service level, which at best proved the centre was
understaffed. No wonder senior management has a hard time understanding, how the
Call Centres add value to the business model. MEA CULPA (we’re the guilty
party for blindly adopting the IVMs, which were all the vendors could provide).
A whole cult of benchmarking developed to prove to management that we’re
weren’t any worse than the average of the Call Centre Industry. Forget World
Class & Best of Class – these meaningless comparisons will just further
alienate you from your senior management.. It doesn’t make business sense.
The 90-90 Benchmarks
months ago, I defined two benchmarks for the Call Centre, which in my experience
could give us a handle on reality and which reflected really successful Call
of all calls answered by a person in 20 seconds
of all calls handled to satisfactory completion
(to the customer) at entry point, also called First Call Resolution.
couple of months later a third benchmark came along – Staff turnover <5% p.a.
more we worked with these benchmarks, the more they grew on us. Suddenly the
importance of process integration became clear. The importance of integrating
the Call Centre with Sales, Marketing and other departments , such as risk
assessment, claims evaluation became clear. It became crystal clear that
benchmark 1 was a function of benchmark 2, i.e. we couldn’t get the staff
numbers to man for the high call volume periods, because we couldn’t document
the value we created.
First Call Resolution Model.
is what the customer want – no wait and somebody with the authority to handle
matters for me quickly and personally.
does the service rep need to
which allow a single view of the Customer
Education in the companies culture, procedures, rules and products &
Training in how to engage the customer, establish communication, build a
relationship, identify the real need and fulfill
Authority to go with the responsibility of dealing with the customers.
That means a full understanding of the
organisation and how cutting across functional areas influences these issues.
The authority to cut red tape, i.e. set aside rules because they in this
specific case are junior to service policy. This is the hard part – Rules are
created because someone ‘knows best’ what is in the organisations interest.
Most of middle management functions are created around managing the rules.
Team leaders and supervisor, who are constantly in touch with the rep and
encourages call resolution.
Quality Call Evaluation scoring each rep with a scoring system set up to
encourage First Call Resolution.
An awards program which encourages First Call Resolution behaviour and
attitude for the rep.
are the gains for the Call Centre ?
are the preliminary results from the Case study of 4 large (+200 seats) Call
fall in Call Volume – a minimum of 20% of all calls are repeat calls
from customers needing an answer or help, they didn’t get..
cost of a complaint call not handled at point of entry escalates by 500% when
cost of a claim call
which is deferred to a senior manager cost 650% more than if handled by the rep.
un-handled query cost 350% compared to First Call Resolution.
simple identification problem, where the customer needs
to fax documentation cost 280% compared with an over the phone procedure.
are all minimum escalation costs. My estimate from the case study is that 25-
30% of a Call Centres operating cost is spent on dissatisfying the customer,
i.e. no First Call Resolution and then rectifying it.
an added bonus Customer Satisfaction improves immediately resulting in actual
Value Created for the business Model.
towards First Call Resolution.
people will tell you, it’s easier to pull a tooth on
a Rhino, than getting First Call Resolution authority to the customer service
rep. Not true, in one recent case, we ran a campaign encouraging Call Centre
staff to identify rules which got in the way of First Call Resolution. 16 such
major stumbling blocks were identified and within 2 months 15 of these rules had
been documented, queried and resolved.
The key starting point for success is a detailed of map of ALL processes and a single view of the customer CRM system.
you will need a Quality Management system in place. This is an extension of
existing Quality Monitoring & Call Evaluation. Without such a system you
will find it very hard to provide senior management with the documentation of 1)
The existing situation as regards First Call Resolution and 2) Actual Value
Created for the business.
to Datamonitor report 02/02 (ref bftc0678) ” Investing in quality management will
help to turn call centers from a cost to a profit center”. Datamonitor outlines 3 trends for
the future of interest to Call Centre Managers
1. Quality management in call centers
will be analytics driven;
2. Quality management in the call
center will not be limited to the agents’
3. There will be a shift from point
solutions to upgradeable packages in the
quality management area;
this means to you, is that Call Recording & analytical software to analyse
the outcome of calls is already available and allows you to monitor not only the
individual rep, but get an overview documentation of what Values are being
created by the Call Centre for the enterprise.
Using Quality Management tools allowed me to identify First Call Resolution as the single most important area for improvement in any service call centre. The idea that we can learn from what the customers tell us about ourselves is not new, but rarely practiced.
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