• March 1, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Chasing Down First-Call Resolution

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Chase Card Services, the unit responsible for the more than 154 million credit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase & Co., handles a large volume of customer contact--more than 80 million calls a year reach its contact centers. Combine that busy pace with the fact that the issues agents are tackling relate to customers' money, and there's a high value placed on having customer service representatives (CSRs) get it right the first time. While the best banks are known for their precision, that degree of care didn't always appear in the contact center. "We do a tremendous amount of benchmarking," says Deb Walden, executive vice president, customer care, Chase Card Services. "But we didn't understand enough about why calls were coming in and how they were solved. Why do we receive so many calls?" Call volume conflicted with reported first-call resolution (FCR), which raised questions. Chase had tried to launch an FCR initiative some years past, but it was considered a failure because the data couldn't be trusted. The reason for this, according to Walden, was that FCR was entirely self-reported. "The team member does the job [the customer requires], and checks off a box at the end of the call marked 'First-Call Resolution.'" But the agent didn't know how many times that customer had called in, or how many stops along the way the caller had made. Determined to make FCR a reality, Chase called upon Enkata to provide a tracking and reporting system that worked. "We focus on rework and repeat calls, specifically reducing them," says Dave Stamm, the vendor's president and chief executive officer. "Enkata identifies repeat-call sequences and makes the information actionable." Enkata provided Chase with a contact center management application that systematically identifies why a call comes in, records whether it's resolved, and reports the results to the CSR and the manager. The rep also sees handle time--if it's too far away from the average for talk time with a customer, the rep knows that he needs more training, or has been rushing. Walden was impressed with the vendor's hands-on approach to solving Chase's service issues. "Enkata didn't sell us an application and walk away," she recalls. "They were with us every step of the way." Walden started Enkata with a pilot program at Chase's Orlando contact center, running just a few of the financial institution's teams. "We made [the CSRs] part of the process," she says. "They helped plan and design the version we rolled out, and gave great feedback." Enkata linked to Chase's NICE Systems deployment so CSRs could listen to calls that were (or were not) resolved, and use those recordings as teaching tools. "Most of the modifications made in the early pilot were in the reporting," Walden says, because the reps and their managers wanted to have as much post-call information as efficiency would allow. The pilot program was highly successful, and word quickly leaked to the rest of the organization. "We had a schedule for rolling out the final [application] slowly, but our other sites wanted to use it before the official rollout," Walden says. The results stood out, industrywide: The initiative won an award from analyst firm Ventana Research. The Payoff By employing Enkata in its contact centers, Chase Card Services: g achieved 90 percent first-call resolution, equal to 7 million calls per month; g saved $8 million in the first year; g significantly reduced turnover and call volume; and g has seen uptake driven by the CSRs, without weighting or job pressure.
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