Do you offer customer support to your clients? If not, would you like to do so, but do not know how to best implement that function in your company? If either of these scenarios apply to your business, this article is specifically for you. With the help of the right customer support software, which should include help desk groups, it’s simple to create a powerful support presence.
If you offer world-class customer support, you will boost customer satisfaction and dramatically improve the customer experience. One of the most important components of delivering world-class customer support is the ability to resolve customer support issues as quickly as possible. It is ideal to resolve support tickets on the first attempt, which is called first contact resolution (FCR).
The percentage of help desk tickets that you resolve of the first attempt is called first contact resolution rate. Below we’ll dig into this topic and provide guidance on how to increase your FCR rate using customer support software with help desk groups.
First contact resolution explained
Simply put, FCR refers to support tickets that your team resolves during the first interaction with the customer. It means not having to end the initial conversation, search for the answer to their query, and get back to them.
When someone submits a support ticket—whether it’s via telephone, email, or live chat—you need customer support reps who are experts in your offerings and can resolve the issue on the first try. That’s where help desk groups come in (more on that below).
Why is first contact resolution important
When a business shows customers that it values their time, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty rise. Research conducted by Forrester tells us that 77% of consumers say that the single most important thing a business can do to deliver world-class customer service is to value their time.
Solving support tickets on the first attempt sends a clear message that your customers’ time is important to you and you don’t want to waste it.
To drive home the importance of maintaining a high FCR rate, check out these statistics from SQM Group:
- For every 1% increase in your FCR rate, you increase customer satisfaction levels by 1% (using the customer satisfaction score (CSAT) model—one of the most commonly used methods of measuring customer satisfaction).
- On average, a business’s CSAT score drops by 15% every time a customer with a support question must take the initiative to call back and get a pending support case resolved.
- The industry average FCR rate is 70%, meaning 70% of support cases get resolved on the first attempt.
- Considering the bullet above, on average, 30% of customers must call back to get their issue resolved, which can have detrimental impacts on your FCR rate.
Ultimately, maintaining a high FCR rate is directly tied to customer satisfaction. And if you can’t maintain satisfied customers, your business will suffer, revenue will drop, and your brand reputation will take a huge hit. However, by using help desk groups, you can ensure that your FCR rate remains consistently higher than the industry average.
Creating help desk groups to increase your FCR rate
To truly increase your FCR rate and deliver excellent support, you need a help desk software system—that includes help desk groups—to automate processes related to support.
Many businesses are now opting for an all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) solution to get the job done. That’s because an all-in-one CRM offers traditional contact management features, as well as fully-integrated sales, marketing, and customer support automation solutions, all on the same platform.
Not all customer support solutions offer help desk groups, so when shopping around, be sure to look for a solution that provides that functionality.
How do help desk groups work?
Once you have your help desk solution in place and can leverage help desk groups, you need to understand how they work. Here’s a quick explanation of what they are and how to use them:
Help desk groups are sub-teams within your overall customer support team. They specialize in one product or service, rather than focusing on every product or service you offer. They become experts in that one product and know it inside and out.
You configure help desk groups in your customer support solution and assign each support rep to a specific group. Then, ensure that each member of every help desk group receives extensive training on the product or service they will be supporting. They need to be able to answer any question related to that offering, whether it’s a technical question or a use case-specific, benefit-oriented question.
When a customer submits a help desk ticket, your system knows for which product or service they need support. Then the system automatically routes that ticket to someone in the help desk group that supports that product or service.
How do help desk groups boost FCR rates?
The correlation between help desk groups and increased FCR rates may seem obvious at this point, but let’s lay it out for good measure.
When a company’s customer support reps are responsible for resolving issues related to various products, their knowledge of each product is more limited than if they only focus on one product. They have a broad, shallow understanding of each product but could not be considered experts in each one. This limits their ability to provide deeply nuanced and relevant answers to customer support questions. Help desk groups, on the other hand, allow you to assign each ticket to an expert.
Let’s use a few examples to illustrate the connection between help desk groups and FCR rates:
Example 1: Support without help desk groups
Company A sells five different software products, and each one is unique, built for a specific purpose that does not overlap with the other products the company sells. But Company A does not use help desk groups, so every support rep supports all five products.
A customer calls support with a question, and that support ticket gets sent to a rep that supports all five products. The question is too complicated for that rep to resolve, so she must tell the customer that she will call them back later to provide the answer. That’s because she does not know the answer and must go search for it. In this case, she did not resolve the issue on the first attempt, which lowers Company A’s FCR rate.
Example 2: Support with help desk groups
Company B sells five products, but rather than all its reps supporting all five products, the company uses help desk groups. A customer calls with a support question regarding Product Z. The system immediately knows that this customer uses Product Z, and that support ticket gets automatically routed to someone in the help desk group solely dedicated to supporting Product Z.
The customer’s question is highly complicated, but because the rep supporting the issue is an expert in Product Z, there is no question she can’t answer. She fully understands the issue and can offer a resolution on the first attempt. This leaves the customer feeling satisfied, gives them a sense that Company B is truly invested in the success of its customers, and illustrates that Company B places a high value on its customers’ time.
That, in turn, boosts the company’s FCR rate, increases customer satisfaction, delivers a much better customer experience, generates loyal customers, and improves the company’s brand reputation.
In today’s highly competitive business landscape, the customer experience is more important than ever before. If you can’t deliver a world-class customer experience and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction, you will quickly see customers leaving you for your competitors.
Considering the increasing importance of the customer experience in consumers’ buying decisions, you can’t afford to ignore it. A great customer experience leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction. In turn, higher levels of customer satisfaction ensure the long-term survival of your business.
And a critically important element of generating and preserving world-class levels of customer satisfaction is maintaining a high first contact resolution rate. When your customers have an issue that needs to be resolved, they need it resolved as quickly as possible. Otherwise, they will wait hours or days for a resolution, which will slow them down and have a negative impact on both their productivity and their ability to successfully use your product or service.
Just one bad customer support experience can be enough for a customer to leave you for a competitor. If customers routinely experience long wait times when submitting a support ticket, you’ll start to lose them in droves. You simply can’t afford to ignore the importance of FCR rate.
Many businesses make the mistake of focusing too much time and allotting too much of their operating budget to sales, while not realizing the importance of delivering world-class customer support and investing more heavily there.
You can convert new customers all day, but if your support is sub-par, don’t expect them to stick around for long.
Implement a customer support system with help desk groups, follow the tips above, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of a high FCR rate. That will generate more revenue for your company over the long-term than signing new clients and losing them months later.
Are you using help desk groups to increase your FCR rate? Do you have any related tips that would further educate or help our readers? Please share them in the comments section below!