Call center FCR First Call Resolution explained

First Call Resolution or FCR as it is commonly known in call centers has evolved as a key parameter to measure the efficiency of a process.
Some companies call it FTR or First Time Resolution
Let me first give you the basic definition and calculation of First Call Resolution.
FCR is defined as the number of calls answered by an executive which were not escalated or the customer did not have to callback the helpline for the same concern for a specific interval of time. That is customers concern was resolved in the first call itself.

Calculation of FCR
FCR = Total number of calls received only once during an interval / total number of calls received during that interval
I know this is a little confusing so let’s understand it with an example
Suppose during a specific day 3 customers Tom, John and betty call up the helpline of their mobile operator.
Tom calls and enquires about his monthly bill and is given complete details.
John calls and complains that his mobile is not working. The executive tells him to wait for an hour and his concern will be resolved.
After waiting for an hour John again calls back and informs that his mobile is still not working. This time the executive tells him to change some settings on his handset and it starts working.
Betty calls to get some service activated on her phone and the executive helps her with that.

Now in the above example Tom’s and Betty’s call will be considered as FCR but John’s calls will not be considered as first call resolution as he had to call twice for the same concern.
So FCR in this case = 2/4= 50%
Let me change the scenario a little, suppose the executive handling John’s first call had got the settings done and his mobile started working. In this case John would not have called back after one hour and so the FCR would be 3/3= 100%
Keep in mind that FCR is a subjective parameter and different companies calculate it differently. For example some companies do not consider the nature of inquiry while considering the repeat call. Say if John had called twice for two different inquiries unrelated to each other still his calls will be taken as repeat calls. That is because according to some companies the executive should have probed and anticipated the next call. Whereas some companies consider only calls related to the same concern as repeat calls and not unrelated calls even if they are from same customer.
Another variable is the time difference between two calls from the same customer. For considering a call to be repeat or non FCR some companies consider 24 hours from the first call to be the ideal threshold whereas it may vary from industry to industry.

Another critical parameter that you would want to know is Call Center Service Level : Definition and Calculation

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Call Center Service Level : Definition and Calculation

Call center service level is defined as the percentage of calls being answered in a specified time. Service level or SL as it is commonly known is the most basic and essential parameter to track a callcenter’s performance.
Most times you will get a service level target like 80-20 or 90-60 or any similar value which is a combination of two figures. Let’s understand what this means. When you get a SL target of 80-20 this means you are expected to answer 80% calls within 20 seconds, that is 80% calls offered on your callcenter should have a queue time of less than 20 seconds.
Similarly a service level of 90-60 would mean that 90% calls should be answered within 60 seconds.
Now that you understand the meaning of the term, let’s move to the calculation part of it.
Suppose you have been given a SL target of 85-15, that is answering 85% calls in 15 seconds. You will require the following values:
1. Total calls offered during the interval for which SL has to be calculated
2. Calls answered within 15 seconds (You will get this value from ACD report, that is the software you use to distribute calls across callcenter)

Now that you have these 2 values it is fairly simple to calculate SL. The formula is”
Call center Service Level = (Calls answered within said duration / Total calls offered_ * 100

For example in above case if the total calls offered were 1000 and the total calls answered within 15 seconds were 900 then the Service level would be:
Service Level = 900/1000 * 100 = 90%

Since the target given to us was 85-15 that is to answer 85% calls in 15 seconds and we have answered 90% calls in 15 seconds, hence the SL target is considered met.
Suppose we had answered 800 calls in 15 seconds then the service level would have been 800/1000*100= 80%, so the SL target was missed.
Hope this clarifies your doubts about this topic, if not just leave a comment below and I will get back to you with the solution.

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Essentials to grow in callcenter career, an interview with Sean Hawkins

The one thing I have been asked most frequently is the secret to grow in callcenter industry. To get an answer to this I got an opportunity to interact with Sean Hawkins. Sean Hawkins is a Customer Experience and Contact Center expert with over 15 years of call center experience. In that time, he’s worked in numerous roles in the public, private and government sectors.

His many years in contact center leadership have provided a solid understanding of the call center environment. Sean has a terrific pulse on incorporating innovation into the contact center. He’s implemented social, outsourcing partners, new technology, and new products, while maintaining an award-winning contact center.

Let’s know Sean a little better and see what advice he has for us to excel in this field.

How did you come to join call center industry?

After discharging from the US Navy, I worked in an auto plant and went to school. After graduation, I had the chance to work for a company in Stockton, CA. as a one man IT department/Support Team. I was under qualified, uncertain of myself and deathly afraid of making mistakes. It was an amazing experience!

It is said that it is difficult to grow in call center field, what has been your experience?

I would disagree. Growth and advancement abound in the contact center. I think leadership has to do a better job of professional development with their staff and helping them create a career path. Lack of growth is generally due to these reasons.

When and how did you get your first promotion?

My first promotion occurred a few months after I started in my first call center back in 2000. I was promoted to a Technical Lead responsible for taking escalations from our Tier 1 team.

What are the 5 essential skills that one must have to make a successful career in call center?

That can vary based on the call center you are in, and what you are supporting. I’d say the most important are a high EQ, an ability to understand data, understand basic metrics, a great work ethic, and love for the job.

What terms/matrices should be known to all successful call center professionals?

Well, there are so many terms and matrices, to try to remember them all could be quite difficult. Furthermore not all are used in any given center. I’d say first learn what is used in your current center. There are some common metrics such as CSAT, Handle Time, Custom Effort, Score, Net Promoter Score, TSF, and ASF that are certainly worth knowing.

Who have been your inspiration/mentors and what key lessons did you learn from them?

I’ve had many in my career from Joyce Nyhaug, Erie Luces, Sarah Stealey-Reed, and John Tedesco. From a personal standpoint, my wife (Yvette Hawkins), parents, grandparents, and in-laws have influenced and inspired me as well.

I’ve learned that effort, determination, aspiration, a thirst for learning, and kindness will take you very far in life.

Tell us a little about Call center weekly

That is a blog I created with Jeremiah Methvin and Brooks Webb. We had a desire to provide a forum for call center agents and managers to share their stories, offer their advise. So often it is the those on the front lines who are responsible for successes, but they rarely have opportunity to receive recognition. The blog was a way to give voice to the front line staff.

What other resources do you recommend for people in the field of contact center?

There are organization such as ICMI, CCNG, HDI that specialize in contact center training. If possible, attend conferences, seminars, and webinars. I’d also take advantage of social media. Connect with people, companies and organizations and begin to engage them.

What advice do you have for call center professionals who feel that they are stuck in a single profile?

I’d encourage them to seek out mentors, ask questions, and find resources to help you. There are so many opportunities available to you

So readers this was Sean sharing some insights into fast tracking your callcenter career. Do let me know if you have any queries. You can write to me at ashish@callcenterdecoded.com or just leave a comment below.

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Agitated Customer : Tips to handle them

There is nothing serious in a business than an agitated customer, and a successful business is one which has a manpower possessing the special skills to handle such customers.
The author has tried to jot down an overview of some of such useful skills which might be referred to as customer cooling skills (CCS) for such an hour.
Top skills to be possessed could be as follows:

  • Listening – Listen very patiently and react very empathetically, if at all required. The last thing an agitated customer would want is any interruption while reporting a grievance and the first thing which they admire and which undoubtedly would help them cool down a bit is lending them an ear.
  • Consideration – Be considerate to offer the customer a seat and a drink or a snack in a very courteous manner. The customer will definitely feel and appreciate the courtesy, with or without expressing the satisfaction directly.
  • Accept and Apologise – After listening to their grievance completely and understanding it, do not waste time to accept negligence and apologising for the fault. The anger would certainly cool down a bit more by now.
  • Reassurance – After accepting and apologising reassuring the customer for not to repeat the incident in the future would go a long way making customer a regular client.
  • Compensation – Compensating a customer with a grievance could be a step forward in a business. The compensation could be for a customer’s fuel being used to come back and report, it could be an on the spot free gift or a free service offer. You will see a cool customer by now. After all taking leads and referrals might be in the store by offering this service.
  • Argument– A biggest no to any argument at any point of all the discussion with any agitated customer please.
    Hope to convert an agitated customer to a cool customer referring more customers at the end.

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Top mistakes to ruin callcenter career

A call centre career is not the easiest of the jobs as perceived. The professional must be of a very confident and passionate to succeed.
Prominent mistakes one can avoid or get rid off to be successful in callcenter career are,
1. Not in time – Knowing and understanding the importance of being in time goes a long way through ages with a professional. Customers need your services all the time. So, with a considerate approach to a customer’s needs than anything else, one must be at your desk and on call in real time.
2. Non- communicative- Communication skills are undoubtedly a skill to possess and to succeed. It can be for communicating with customers as well as with bosses and colleagues. So, if you fail to convey and report what is needed then there are more chances of you to have a skill to look for another job.
3. Lack of product knowledge and updates- You must have a thorough knowledge of the product or service for which you are interacting with your organisation’s customers and prospective clients. Otherwise, the profile may be the same as it was before you joined your job, i.e., jobless.
4. Incompetent listening skills- Listening skills are on high demand when interacting with the stakeholders. If you are not an excellent listener then you are not a good call centre professional. So, skills of listening would need to be on top priority in a call centre.
6. Omitting steps from a set of processes- Every professional organisation has its own set of processes for a job profile. Now, if you as a professional are trying to or omit some steps of a process, then the purpose gets defeated. For example- After closing a call the professional must record and file the necessary information and then the process is complete.
To conclude, the call centre career is a homogeneous mixture of skills like, communication, reporting, listening, learning and timeliness.

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE quitting the job

Getting a job is not difficult but getting a good job is.
Sometimes it becomes difficult to cope with the pressure of job. It may be due to difficult boss or conflict with the colleagues or monetary issues where you are not paid what you were promised or promotional issues. Now let’s see what to do in what circumstances.

Monetary

: When your job is not paying you adequately and you are in need of more finances you can look for other options for increasing your monetary benefits like taking a part time job. If you are not able to spare time to go and work part time you can take online jobs too. Also when in need of finances you can take permission of the organization and work overtime in that organization.

Promotion issues

: You can talk to management regarding it. But it will be good if you don’t act as a cry baby. You can send an email to the management regarding why you feel you deserved promotion more underlining your achievements.

Conflict with the colleagues

: This is very common in the organizations. The best thing you can do is to first talk with that particular person and clarify all the misunderstandings if this doesn’t work then you can talk to the management regarding it.

Conflict with the boss

: You should be calm regarding it and act with an open mind. Things can go worse in other organization you join. So before quitting on this issue you should think carefully regarding all the pros and cons.

Other issues

: These include transfer or family issue where you have to look at someone in your family. You can look for other options in for this but again I would say that you should share your point with the management and look for any other solution before quitting the job.

Most issues resolve themselves if given some time to settle. Having suggested that nothing is more important than your own mental and physical health. Keep in mind quitting the job is not the end of your career and sooner or later you will find a better source of income.

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Most common callcenter interview questions and recommended answers

Here are the top 5 most common callcenter interview questions asked by recruiters

Q.1 Tell me about yourself?


This is a typical question that is asked in every call centre interview. Never start the answer with myself. Always start with “I am XYZ”. You have to speak for 2-3 minutes about your family background, about your qualification and experience, about your hobbies. You have to show your confidence and fluency while speaking.

Q.2 why do you want to join the call centre when you can go for any other job?


You should be prepared for this question as to why exactly you want to join a call centre. You can say that you see a great scope for this growing industry or it is best suited for your skills like team work or interpersonal skills. You have to show your intent regarding it.

Q.3 how would you handle a typical problem?


This will test your skills and knowledge about your field of expertise. You have to answer to the point about the particular issue. Never give lengthy answers unless and until you are asked to do so. Just be brief and to the point.

Q.4 The next question can be to test your skills regarding handling of pressure. The interviewer may give you a question where you have to fulfill a particular deadline e.g. How would you deal with some urgent issue?


You should be calm while answering this question. Never lose your sense while answering this one. It would add to an advantage if you keep a smile on your face. This will show your calm mind.

Q.5 What if some customer irritates you or misbehaves with you? How would you handle him/her?


Answer to this can be that you will first request that person to be polite and then warn him/her regarding his behavior and then you will cancel his call.

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How to build a connect with customer over phone call

Building a connect with customer over phone call is very necessary in providing a good customer service. It becomes even more significant in call centre where you are tested for it every minute. To build a good connect with the customer following things must be looked into:
1. Listen: Listen to your customer carefully and try to understand their problem that what exactly do they want. Be a good listener. Avoid assuming things.
2. Voice modulation: Customer should not feel that he/she is being ignored. For this you have to modulate your voice to show the concern that you are listening to him/her. You shouldn’t be too loud or too slow.
3. Repeat important details: Repeat the important details that customers give you about them. This will show that you are listening to them carefully.
4. Apology: When customer expresses some problem, be prepared to apologize. This is very necessary when you listening to customer grievances.
5. Be calm: Never rush out for things and listen to your customers very calmly. This calmness creates a big impact on building a good customer rapport.
6. Respectful: Show respect towards the customers even if they are irritating you. Every customers wants and deserves respect. This is by far the most important aspect of customer dealing.
7. Empathize: Empathize with your customers. Let them feel that you are with them regarding their problem.
8. Never make them wait for long: Never hold your customer for too long. This irritates them the most. Act swiftly.
9. Focus: Never divert the attention of the customers. Be focused on the issue in hand while solving it.
10. Positive: Always be positive towards the issue. This will help in easing the trouble of your customers who call you.

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Pros and Cons of outsourcing customer service/BPO

Before we come to Pros and Cons of outsourcing let’s first try to understand what actually is outsourcing? Outsourcing means sharing some of your work with the outside parties. It is mainly through separating a particular unit of the organization or hiring third party organization for that job. Now let’s look at its advantages or disadvantages.

Pros

:
1. Risk reduction: Outsourcing helps the organization in shifting responsibility towards the third party. In a customer service risk of data loss is very high which when shared with the third party is reduced to a significant extent.
2. Cost Control: The operational and recruitment costs are reduced to a large extent.
3. Focus on other issues: When customer service is outsourced the management can focus more on other major issues in hand.
4. Swiftness: The work can be carried on more swiftly when it is outsourced as expertise is present in that particular organization regarding that work.

Cons

:
1. Choice of right party: If the work is outsourced to a party which is not an expert in that particular field then it can affect the image of the organization in a big way. So the outsourcing partner should be chosen with care.
2. Sharing of confidential data: When the work is outsourced, some of the confidential data of the organization is also shared with the third party which may prove to be risky for the organization.
3. Customer focus: The customer focus of the outsourcing partner may not be that high if that particular work is carried on by the organization it-self.
4. Other issues: There are other problems concerned with outsourcing which include the lack of securing levels in the outsourcing level or untrained staff or legal costs in an agreement.

But all these cons can become pros if outsourcing partner is selected with utmost care.

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Tips to handle difficult bosses: Easy, practical & fun

“Boss is always right”
Some bosses take this phrase too seriously. Many of you would have handled or must be handling such difficult bosses at our workplace. How many of you actually thought of quitting that job? Quitting a job is not always the solution. Things may go worse at other job you take.
Let’s find out some of the tips to handle such difficult bosses:
1. Keep quiet and listen: Difficult bosses often like Yes MAN. So in front of them only this you should do is to keep quiet. Let them speak what they want to and always reply in affirmative. Let them speak as much as they want to. Be a good listener.
2. Patience: This is the most important tool to handle the difficult bosses. You have to be patient all the time. They may use harsh words, unnecessarily taunt you but then take a deep breath and calm down.
3. Crack a joke: You won’t believe it but this makes a huge difference. You can bank on my experience for this. To keep an office atmosphere healthy you need to be jolly. But take care if threes any serious issue in hand. I mean you can’t joke when your boss is making a serious presentation.
4. Talk at his back: Yes it works and works big time. Take everything out of your heart. Talk to your close friends about him at his back. This will take out your stress. You will certainly feel better. Although talking at back is not considered ethical but every one of us does this. Don’t we?
5. Quit: I am sorry if the above tips can’t help you then quit the job. You are surely at a bad place then.
Better luck next time!!!

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