Article week 16 – 2024

An Effective Way to Increase the First-Time Resolution Rate (Part 1)

The first-time resolution rate has a decisive impact on customer satisfaction. Any form of willingness on the part of the customer to recommend them depends on not provoking service contacts in the first place or, if unavoidable, ending them in the first contact.

To achieve these goals, various methods are used in customer service. In the following, we will try to get to the root of the challenge of avoiding contact.

1. Basics of contact avoidance

Sensible approaches to contact avoidance are based on the systematic use of contact data mining. In order to determine contact rates according to contact reasons, contacts must be documented in the necessary granularity in the existing agent front ends and CRM systems.

In practice, at least three contact classes are shown in the evaluations:

a) Contact rate/reason around one (1): Frequently contact reason „Change of customer data“

b) Contact rate/reason around two (2): Often „I want to become a customer“ or „Termination“

c) Contact rate/reason greater than two (2): Often customer reasons (reminder, reminder, deferral/installment payment and collection).

The measures for avoiding contact are often based on these classes.

2. Contact Class Methods (a)

The contacts of this class are often shifted to customer self-service or chat-bot processing. Therefore, there is no avoidance of contact, but the focus is on reducing costs.

3. Contact Class Methods (b and c)

For the contact rates around the two (2), the approach should be to avoid the third (3) contact at all costs. In essence, this means avoiding the second contact at all costs. Why is that?

Second contacts for the same reason for contact often arise because the solution requires a certain level of security in processing. This „security“ is often not yet available for new employees. The reality: With fluctuation rates of 30% p.a., the probability that my more complex issue will not be solved in the first contact is at least 10%. If the resulting second contact ends up with a new employee, the path to the third contact is not far away. By the way: The willingness of these affected customers to recommend drops to less than 50%.

The method to reliably avoid the second and third contact lies in the organization of the routing in the multi-channel system or the PBX. The organization of the „skills“ should correspond to the level of the skills of the agents, e.g.:

  • New employees up to the fourth (4) month.
  • Employees from the 5th month onwards with predominant skills to handle service requests without a sales focus.
  • Employees from the 5th month onwards with predominant skills for processing enquiries with service skills and additional sales focuses.
  • Employees with in-depth skills to handle complex cases with a service background.
  • Employees with in-depth skills to handle complex cases with a service background and/or a sales background.
  • Employees with in-depth skills to process special customer groups (e.g. commercial/business customers/VIP customers).
  • Skill Routing Prerequisites

Basically, before the actual routing begins, the following must be determined:

  • Which customer (via customer number)?
  • What type of contact (simple, medium, complex)?
  • How many contacts to the same type of contact?

The above information must be requested in a language portal (or classic IVR). Simplifications are possible if:

  • the customer can be identified with the help of his telephone number (determination via ANI). In this case, the customer does not need to provide his customer number. It goes straight to the reason for the call.
  • the customer has previously received information (e.g. letter, e-mail, etc.) (e.g. invoice, reminder, campaign, etc.). There is a high probability that the customer will come forward about the matter. In these cases, there is no need to ask for the reason for the call.
  • the customer does not disclose any information. In this case, the customer should be routed directly to a first-level employee.

To derive the number of contacts that have already taken place, reference must be made to the customer history in the agent frontend or CRM system. In order not to burden the systems with the real-time load of requests, a special database can be used. The database is supplied with the necessary information on a daily basis:

  • Customer number (often customers have multiple customer numbers)
  • Customer value from sales definition (to determine different service levels and sales offerings)
  • Date of last contacts (to determine if there is a follow-up or new contact)
  • Type of recent enquiries (to deduce whether the same reason for contact exists)
  • Request status (Open, In Progress, Closed, Forwarded to, etc.)
  • Contact channel (for determining the VOICE, NON-VOICE routing destination).
  • Information sent with date.
  • Last Processor (can be used as a so-called „last-agent routing“).
  • Other Useful Information

This information was used to determine the optimal routing destination for each customer request, depending on the previous contact(s) and/or a communication measure. You will learn what a suitable skill structure looks like in a second part of one of the following TTW.

Hans-Joachim Grün – Senior Consultant


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