“The Worst Question a Service Rep can ask”
Repeat contacts are the single biggest driver of customer effort.
First Contact Resolution (FCR) is used to help assess performance. CCompanies regularly boast FCR rates of 70-8-% or higher. But when you ask customers how well companies are doing, you get a completely different answer (about 40% resolution in the first contact)
So, it turns out that the concept of FCR fails to account for the host of other related issues that cause customers to call back.
Implicit issues transcend the original customer-stated need. These repeat contacts happen fir two main reasons-
Adjacent Issues – downstream issues that might seem unrelated at first, but are ultimately connected to the main issue.
Experience Issues – emotional triggers that cause a customer to second-guess the answer given, or double check to see if another answer exists.
Going Beyond First Contact Resolution
Next issue Avoidance – Companies need to arm reps with shareper diagnostic skills and tools that can help them “forward-resolve” the next likely customer issue.
Companies trying to improve next issue avoidance (not just FCR) should track callbacks- any repeat contact by the customer, within a specified time period.
Rules – to balance the simplicity of forward resolution with effectiveness and avoiding confusion that forward resolution of adjacent issues might create-
Rule #1: Down One, Not Two – Trying to forward-resolve more than one step at a time might overwhelm the customer. Stick to one – only the immediate adjacent issue.
Rule #2: Pick Winners – Adjacent issues have to occur at least 20% of the time to qualify for forward resolution.
Rule #3: Don’t forward-resolve complex issues on the phone – For more complex issues, instead of confusing customers trying to explain over a phone call, follow up over a simple e-mail with details.
Measuring Next Issue Avoidance
Simple Metric – Track repeat calls from any customer within a seven-day period.
Points to Remember:
- Don’t just solve the current issue, head off the next issue.
- Measure callbacks, not just first contact resolution (FCR). The best companies also assess whether the rep solved the stated customer issue, as well as forward-resolved adjacent and experience-related follow-up issues.