How empowering your frontline team increases first contact resolution

Written by Joseph Cooper
31 Mar 2023

When a customer contacts a supplier to complain, the best journey they can experience is for their issue to be resolved there and then. It is also the best option for the supplier. Complaints not resolved immediately tend to drag on and cost significantly more to service. It is in everyone’s interests to resolve the issue on that first contact.

What are the problems?

Analysis of supplier complaints performance shows that on average less than 60% of complaints are resolved on the day they are raised. This means a very significant proportion of customers are left disappointed. It also implies extra time demands on the complaints departments. The impact of this failure is lower customer satisfaction and higher service costs due to the lengthy complaint processes.

What are the solutions?

Give skills and access to front office teams

Nearly all complaints not resolved on first contact are escalated to specially trained complaints teams. In order to prevent this, it would be advisable to identify the most common causes of escalation and give appropriate training to the people that can prevent escalation from being needed, predominantly frontline Customer Advisers. Ensuring the complaint stays with the frontline team can be supported further by providing extra resources at the frontline. For example, senior team members can become virtual floorwalkers, helping their colleagues to problem solve cases.

Have localised triage in place

Some customers like to hear the reasons behind a particular resolution twice before accepting it.

Therefore, it is beneficial to have a triage service embedded in the frontline to support a reduction in escalated complaints. This can also act as an invaluable source of insight when individual advisors have knowledge or objection handling gaps.

Don’t accept mediocre

Suppliers often have targets for the first contact resolution of complaints. These targets are sometimes set at a level that deliver some defined business outcomes, but are too low to meet the legitimate expectations of customers. Customers want their complaint resolved on the first contact, therefore looking into understanding why you are sometimes not achieving this needs to be thoroughly investigated to bridge the gap.

First contact resolution ratios have not much improved across the industry for some time, at a huge cost to suppliers. As shown above, there is much that can be done, relatively simply, to make better progress.

There are more ways to reduce the number and impact of complaints which will be covered later in this series of articles.

If you would like to find out more about our complaints consultancy service, contact Joseph Cooper or Wade Robertson.

Joseph Cooper

Joseph supports our Retail clients to improve their operational processes and business performance.

View Profile