Serve the Customer, Not the Channel

What does the acronym FCR mean to you? Is it known in your organization as “First Call Resolution” or “First Contact Resolution?” Lately, some might even refer to FCR as “Frenzied Customer Report.”

Why? Because as new communication channels have emerged, customers’ entry and exit points into your organization have become more difficult to predict.  Resolving customers’ issues at first-touch—in a consistent manner across multiple channels—can be an exhausting dilemma if the services and resolutions offered to customers are not the same on every channel.

Though the idea is to increase the customer’s access to service providers, multiple channels can create unforeseen frustrations. If customers receive inconsistent information or can’t do what they want on an elected channel, satisfaction takes a hit. FCR is all but impossible to achieve when the customer realizes, “if at first you don’t succeed….try it again on another channel.” It seems that in the rush to accommodate new channels, many have forgotten that Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is specifically designed to achieve first call resolution. The IVR channel is easy to analyze, configure, and align with a customer’s transaction goals. IVR customers’ needs are very transparent: at the point of entry their primary transaction goal is obvious. For example, a bank customer uses the IVR to activate a new card or learn their balance, or a cable customer uses it to add services to their package or report an outage.

Higher-touch service transactions that were previously only possible with live agent assistance—such as requesting a payment extension or a balance increase—can now be achieved within an IVR system that is integrated with other business systems of record. The same business process rules that aid agents in serving customers can be applied in the IVR channel as well.

With examination of IVR activity, businesses can learn what transaction-types are selected most, when customers abort an IVR call, and when callers choose to speak with a live agent. A well-scripted and finely-tuned IVR can do wonders for first call resolution. Furthermore, when it is integrated with other communication channels, business systems and customer data, the propensity for FCR is even higher. As more and more customers adopt smartphones and other, burgeoning channels that enable immediate service and a full-range of capabilities, companies will begin to adopt the mantra of serving the customer and not the channel. And this will dictate tight integration between service channels, where insight, information, and service options are consistent and focused on the customer, not individual, selective channels.