In many customer contact organizations, the concept 'First Time
Right' plays an important role. However, this approach is very
often confused with 'First Time Resolution'. Even more confusion
arises when the issue of the distinction between the first and
second tier is raised. So, what do these terms mean exactly, and
what is the best approach?
First Time Right
The 'First Time Right' principle originates from Six
Sigma, a methodology aimed at gaining more control over processes.
Instead of being confronted with errors afterwards, Six Sigma
focuses on avoiding errors: 'do it right the first time'. This is
important, because each error made causes costly 'rework' and
directly affects the degree of customer satisfaction.
In practice, many organizations experience considerable failures
in this area. A problem might only be partially solved, or a lot of
effort is invested in something that is not even a problem. It is
therefore of the utmost importance that a call center operator
makes a correct analysis of a customer's inquiry the first time.
Based on this, he can directly initiate the right processes.
Managing the quality of those processes is an important part of
'First Time Resolution' involves something else. Based on this
principle, we assume that we can satisfy the customers during the
first attempt. There is no need to approach them again to request
information and customers themselves definitely do not need to
contact us a second time. Research has shown that each time a
customer is forced to call again about the same question, customer
satisfaction drops 15%. 'First Time Resolution' therefore not only
directly affects the number of satisfied customers, but also the
level of the contact volume.
First and second tier
Do 'First Time Resolution' and 'First Time Right' mean that the
first-tier operator must necessarily do all the work? No. It only
means that we try to avoid burdening the customer with steps that
should in fact be taken internally. Sometimes, a first-tier
operator can take care of this, but it is equally possible that it
makes better sense in terms of efficiency to pass the work on to
the second tier, or to move it to a quieter moment in time. What
about tasks that are to be carried out in the future? None of this
is relevant to the customer. The operator ensures that he or she
obtains all necessary information during the first contact; the
customer remains unaware of the necessary steps that follow.
Analysis and processes
In order to apply 'First Time Resolution' and 'First Time Right'
properly in practice, it is crucial that a customer service
department correctly analyzes a customer contact and that the
business processes are organized adequately. The process
improvement program Lean Six Sigma provides the tools needed to
accomplish this. Lean Six Sigma consists of two combined
methodologies: Lean Thinking and the aforementioned Six Sigma. Lean
is designed to reduce waste by reducing the number of steps that
make up a process. Six Sigma, on the other hand, places a great
deal more focus on the quality of the processes. In other words,
Lean Six Sigma combines speed and efficiency with quality
improvement by means of adequately managing the processes.
So, how could this be applied in practice? Workflow systems like
Morphis' ProcessRunner make an important contribution. They
guarantee that processes can be executed easily, promptly, and with
the right results. The ProcessRunner application, which consists of
several modules, therefore makes a distinction between more and
less frequently occurring customer events. For the first category,
the so-called volume processes, the emphasis mainly lies on
efficiency. Processes must be completed quickly and correctly. For
the second category, the non-volume processes, efficient processing
is of a lesser importance. Here, the main concern is quality. An
example of this is the filing of a complaint. If this occurs, then
it is not so relevant whether the processing takes a few minutes
more or less, as long as the complaint is resolved to the
Efficiency and quality
As discussed before, one concept applies to all processes: 'do it
right the first time'. In keeping with this objective, Morphis has
developed the ProcessRunner Interface module: a cockpit that allows
staff to see effortlessly which questions customers have exactly
and what information is required to solve these inquiries. After
that, it must still be determined who will execute the tasks.
ProcessRunner Organizer can be employed to do this. It can be used
to rank tasks in the correct order and assign them to the right
staff. In addition, the ProcessRunner Organizer module is suitable
for defining and managing workflows, and for measuring and managing
workloads and service levels. All of this is in the interest of an
efficient, high-quality supply of services.