Today, customers are becoming an extremely critical element of every business. Considering this, call centers are introducing a lot of metrics that are needed to measure the performance at a different level. One such metric is AHT or average handling time. This metric is known to be a key performance indicator or KPI that is becoming out-of-date to assess the performance of a BPO firm.

A call center service provider in India, Philippines, or China is quite focused on following the score of the KPIs. The metric AHT is focused on the cost instead of customers. But, the main gist of a call center is to match the requirements of the customers. Also, the main area of concern for the customers is to not the speed with which their queries are handled but if the problem is actually solved or not.

Hence, assessing the performance of the agents by closely watching how efficiently they are able to provide a solution is a much better tracking metric. Incomes the FCR or first call resolution. This metric mainly focuses on offering precise solutions with the least number of call-backs. Because it’s not an encouraging sign if the customer has to reach you twice for the same issue. Let’s see and compare the two metrics in terms of call center performance and see which is much better.

AHT versus FCR

If a call center service provider in India, Indonesia or some other nation is focused to keep the customers call short, it is expensive. This may lead to agents hanging up the calls soon, maybe before a solution is provided to the customers. Agents may use some of the lousy practices mentioned below to lessen the call time significantly:

  • They utilize scripted answers.
  • Worse, they keep on transferring the call from one agent to another.

The result of this is agitated and frustrated customers who keep calling back to the call centers resulting in more frustration. This makes AHT a time consuming and extremely costly KPI to go with.

On the other hand, FCR is more of a long-term expenditure. If you ensure that your customer’s complaint, grievance or issue is solved on the very first call (even if it consumes a bit more time), the number of callbacks are significantly reduced. This also saves time and makes your customers more satiated.

Although it is not possible to resolve the customer’s issue every time on the first call itself, mentioned below are the few reasons that show why focusing on the FCR makes more sense for a call center than AHT:

Many contented customers

Since the cost to acquire a new customer is around 10 times more than keeping an existing one, so FCR proves to be a better metric. Since cross-selling and up-selling can be more easily implemented to the customers who experience FCR as they are more open to hearing the proposition than agitated customers. When you offer a sterling level of service to the customers, they become more flexible with your brand.

Reduced agent turnover

Being a call center agent is not an easy job to do. The amount of pressure that comes from the sales team and communication with frustrated customers lead to higher discontentment among the agents.

So, when you keep your full focus on FCR, agents will be completely focused on rendering a first-rate customer experience, the conversation ends on a good note. When the customers are happy, the employees are too. This leads to a significant reduction in the employee turnover rate.

Curtailed operating cost

It is assumed in the call center sector that more time an agent spends on the phone with the customer, the operational cost increases. This is absolutely blundered.

In fact, it’s vice versa!

The first reason is that when the agents focused on resolving customers issue on the first call it positively impacts the agent turnover rate (as discussed in the above point). Along with this, since the issue is resolved properly, the number of callbacks sees a downfall that also reduces operational cost.