• Ian Barker

How empowering your frontline team increases first contact resolution

Updated: Nov 27, 2021

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. Keep an eye on our LinkedIn page for our next article entitled ‘How to reach a pre-agreed resolution with a customer’. This article describes how you can reach an agreement with the customer so that their case can be closed without further contact.

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

Read the whole series:

  1. Save time and money by reducing your contact to complaint ratio

  2. How empowering your frontline team increases first contact resolution

  3. How to reach a pre-agreed resolution with a customer

  4. How managing a customer’s complaint effectively can lessen the risk

  5. How to prevent a customer going to the Ombudsman with a complaint

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