Article of the week 2 – 2023

If you had to choose just one KPI in customer service …

… which one would it be?

I regularly ask this question in interviews with potential new consultants at junokai to see how candidates approach this question. The answers vary greatly. Sometimes reachability is mentioned because many clients would complain about it. Most often, customer satisfaction or NPS is mentioned.

With these KPIs, however, the question arises as to which control impulse should be set if the satisfaction expressed by customers or the NPS are below the target values or fall. In such situations, you first have to find out what the causes are for the lower values. When analysing the causes, one quickly gets closer to the core. Satisfaction and NPS are the result of various factors, of many different parallel influences.

The question behind this is: What is the main factor that leads to high satisfaction or a high NPS in customer service? To answer this, one should consider why customers usually contact customer service. The answer is: Because they have a problem that they want solved. And preferably immediately at the first contact about the issue.

And there we have the KPI that is probably the most important parameter for customer satisfaction: the First Contact Resolution Rate, FCRR for short, or simply FCR in customer service jargon. This measures the proportion of contacts out of all contacts in which the customer’s problem was solved from the customer’s point of view right at the first contact about exactly this problem. This usually involves measuring the customer’s subjective evaluation, which can be collected via a post-contact survey. This can also be carried out automatically directly after the contact. The value determined in this way is then extrapolated to all contacts.

As a KPI, FCR not only has the characteristic that it is probably the most important parameter for customer satisfaction, but also pays off in terms of efficiency in customer service. Because if this value is high, only a few contacts are spent per problem, which automatically has a positive effect on costs. So if the FCR is low (i.e. there are often multiple contacts from a customer about the same problem), you know that you need to work on the problem-solving skills of your customer advisors. The parameters for this are again very diverse and could be found, for example, in: staff selection, initial training, knowledge management, usability of the customer system, expert support, leadership, motivation … just to name a few. By the way, FCR can also be measured in self-service and processing by bots.

A more detailed consideration of the analysis and development of measures to increase FCR would certainly go beyond the scope of this article. For most of the influencing factors mentioned, however, you will find a variety of articles, advice and approaches to solutions in our articles of the week from the last few years.

I would like to return to the beginning of this article: Of course, other KPIs in customer service are also important. If, for example, customers cannot reach anyone in customer service (because reachability is poor or waiting times are unbearably long), their problems will not be solved either. On the other hand, it is also useless to reach the customer service but not have the problem solved. Practice shows that customers subjectively rate waiting times as shorter the higher the FCR. If the problem is not solved, customers are even more annoyed if they had to wait a long time. However, they are all the more reconciled even with a longer waiting time if their problem is then solved immediately. 

FCR should therefore be regarded as a lead KPI in customer service, as it plays a significant role in both customer satisfaction and efficiency. 

Jonas Leismann –  Principal


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