As technology advances, simple inbound calls that used to be handled by contact centers are now handled through automation, leaving the most challenging issues for agents. As a result, first call resolution is a key KPI our customers work on to lower costs and resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently.
Yet, I find it interesting that the industry remains fixated on reducing handle time as a metric for success.
I think this is a mistake — and here’s why.
In my experience working with top contact center leaders, call handling time can be a poor measure of how well agents perform since it focuses on the duration of the call rather than how effectively the agent solved the customer’s problem. From our personal and professional experience, we know customers want their issues resolved with a single call. This is why agents must be highly skilled and capable to “make it right” the first time they engage with a customer.
The increased focus on first call resolution, and the fact we’re dealing with more complex issues that require immersive learning, have decreased the effectiveness of traditional and outdated training methods like PowerPoint and classrooms. It’s also why we see natural language AI Simulation Training gaining such strong traction, and our AI Coach has become the leading choice to transform how agents learn and better engage with customers.
The term first call resolution says it all, as it measures the ability of an agent to solve customer issues quickly and effectively in a single engagement. By focusing on this metric when planning your training strategy, you can prioritize customer satisfaction and loyalty over call-handling times to great effect.
My issue with the call-handling time metric is it often results in rushed and forced shorter calls, leading to unresolved customer issues and lower customer satisfaction. Customers sense when they’re being rushed, which leads to an unpleasant experience. In contrast, focusing on first-call resolution, even if it takes a bit more time, ensures your customers’ issues are fully resolved while reducing the need to “call back.”
Our experience shows that first call resolution makes customers happy and reduces contact center costs. It’s simple, fewer repeat calls allow your agents to handle more calls overall. And most importantly, when customers do have to call in, they can feel that agents are supported and less stressed as they have the green light to spend more time addressing and resolving the issues that matter most.
Finally, it’s important to recognize that prioritizing the first call resolution demonstrates a tangible commitment to quality and competence. It’s not just a slogan, but a best practice that sets the best contact centers apart.
How Zenarate AI Simulation Training Helps First Call Resolution
Our mission is to transform how customer-facing agents learn and perform for good. Our Zenarate AI Coach develops confident top-performing agents delivering consistently superior customer and prospect experiences through AI Simulation Training. Think of AI Coach as the “flight simulator” for customer service and sales agents. In training, agents are immersed in life-like conversation, screen, and chat simulations to master high-impact topics they will face with live customers and prospects.
Our experience runs deep as we’ve delivered over 16 million agent simulations in 15 languages to name-brand clients in financial services, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications, technology, retail, and travel industries.
Here are some of the ways AI Simulation Training helps improve first call resolution:
- AI Simulation Training develops contact center agents with the skills to improve their first -call resolution. Agents can role-play with their personal unbiased AI Coach using their own words without scripting. Through life-like simulated human-to-human role-play and realistic scenarios for handling complex customer issues, agents can master difficult customer interactions at their convenience and practice resolving issues quickly and effectively.
- AI Simulation Training also develops agents to effectively learn how to handle new or unfamiliar situations that they may not have encountered before. For instance, a simulation could involve a customer who has a unique problem that requires a specific set of skills or knowledge. Your agents can practice using scenarios your top performers have used successfully to solve a particular problem, building their confidence and competence in the process.
- Finally, AI Simulation Training helps agents feel connected as they learn the best first-call resolution practices from the knowledge of their peers. We encourage creating training simulations based on a team of agents working together to resolve a complex customer issue. Once the agents have practiced their simulations, they can also practice communicating with each other, sharing information, and collaborating to learn in the most effective way possible.
Common use cases for first call resolution include when agents struggle to resolve customer billing disputes or when they are presented with detailed questions about new products and product recalls. By prioritizing first call resolutions, you can improve overall performance, develop confident top-performing agents and, most importantly, deliver superior customer experiences.
Thank you for taking the time to read this Zenarate Insights blog. I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts with you!
Ready to develop top performing agents with Zenarate AI Coach? Book your Demo today!