Fifteen Factors that Affect First Call Resolution (FCR) in Tech Support

October 9, 2009

There are three distinct areas that have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction for technology services customers; Response time, Resolve time, and Status updates.  We define Response Time as ‘the time it takes for a customer to reach a qualified support rep” and Status Updates is defined as “keeping the customer informed about the status of open cases in a timely fashion”.  Although these are simple definitions we can almost always understand what their true meaning is.  Where we run into problems is in defining “Resolve time” and agreeing upon that definition.  One example would be “the time it takes to resolve a customer’s issue to their satisfaction”.  This is not a bad definition but there are so many different interpretations of “resolve”, “issue”, and “satisfaction” that we sometimes get confused about how we can measure resolve time. Read the rest of this entry »


SSPA Celebrates 20th Anniversary: Twenty ways the SSPA has changed our industry

June 29, 2009

January 2009 represents the twentieth anniversary for the Service and Support Professionals Association (SSPA). Wow, what a “long strange trip it’s been!” In fact, when I think back at some of the major ways that the SSPA has changed our industry there were twenty areas that jumped out as critical to the development of the service & support industry. Over the years the SSPA played a vital role in guiding our members through the transitions of service delivery and helping to improve the overall level of service around the globe. Here is the SSPA story. Read the rest of this entry »

Preparing For the Future – Building a Support Succession Plan for Tech Support

June 29, 2009

Running a technical support business is all about taking action and getting things done. It seems like we have very little time to plan and when we do we are focused on support budgets and technology acquisitions. But, there is one future plan that will pay off big if we do it right; succession planning. Simply put, this is the art and science of grooming managers to become top executives and allowing them to become an internal pool of potential executive talent. Succession planning does not just happen, it is hard work but the benefits will be seen the first time you lose a VP and don’t have to go outside the company to find a replacement. What we are talking about here is developing a formal plan that would allow your brightest managers to gain the skills necessary to become VP’s or more. Read the rest of this entry »

Freezing Tech Support…Again!

June 29, 2009

Ever get that feeling that something really bad is about to happen? Your not quite sure what it is but you know that it can’t be good. With all of the economic bad news that we see everyday there is one thing we know for sure…..there will be a freeze on tech support spending. It is true and it happens every time that there is the slightest mention of an economic downturn. Get ready to freeze tech support spending because here it comes again. You can be sure that there will be a hiring freeze, a travel freeze, and an overall spending freeze in your not-to-distant future. So what can we do about it? How do we continue to deliver top-level services when we are financially hamstrung? Read the rest of this entry »

The Importance of First Call Resolution(FCR) in Tech Support

May 5, 2009

As the Founder & VP of Services Research for the Service & Support Professionals Association (SSPA), I have been getting a lot of member requests regarding the true value of the FCR metric. It makes sense that if we can resolve customer’s issues on first call-in then they will be happier but how difficult is this to achieve? Should we be focused on fixing things at all cost or should we be more concerned about making sure that we use some form of triage in the front end of tech support? These are good questions and I have developed 15 factors that affect first call resolution (FCR) that must be considered before we start to push hard on our tech support reps to fix everything the first time. I will start my post of these factors and would love to get your feedback. Bill

Servicing China, Goldmine or Landmine?

May 5, 2009

This afternoon at 4:30pm at the SSPA conference in Santa Clara, CA. I will be holding a session to discuss the challenges and opportunities for North American technology product companies who are servicing customers in China.  Aneel Jaeel from Symantec has tons of experience servicing the China technology marketplace and he will be the resident expert for this session.

This is part of our SSPA Communities of Interest (COI) program where we take an interesting topic and hold open forum discussions where everyone can participate.  I really like the format because most people that attend this session and participate in the follow up conversations all have a common interest, in this case, it is doing a great job of moving into a new marketplace.

After our session today I will update this blog and provide some of the highlights of our discussions.  From what I have seen so far moving into China is far more difficult than Japan and some of the same techniques that we deployed in Japan just won’t work here.  I am very interested in the maintenance revenue and profitability aspect of this move and have heard several members comment about reduced margins for service in China.  So, what is that?  What service methods work best and what should we not be doing in this new space?  Today, our session will start this dialog and open up the floor for a whole lot more questions.  This should be good.

The SSPA Conference is a Blast

May 5, 2009

Yes, we are at the SSPA conference in Santa Clara, CA with over 500 of our closest friends. It is amazing that we were able to bring together this many tech services execs under the current economic conditions and it is a testament to our dedicated member and some great conference planning. In fact, the free airfare and hotel night was a brilliant concept by our events team and several members told me that it was the key reason that they were approved to come to the conference. Great idea!

J.B. Wood, CEO, SSPA opened the show with a very strategic view of where the service business was heading. In my experience the management of tech support is a very tactical role so some folks had a difficult time understanding what this talk was all about. But, if we are going to be leading our companies into the future, we need more strategic thinking in our lives. If you missed this session go to and have a look at J.B.’s vision of the future.

Bill Steenburgh who heads up services for Xerox is my idol and his presentation helped everyone understand why his company is pulling away from the pack and leading our industry in customer sat and loyalty. One thing that Bill has figured out that we can all use more of is gaining upper management commitment to services. Xerox, as a company, trust Bill’s decisions and he pays them back by implementing unique and differentiating service programs. These guys are really good at understanding their customer needs and delivering on their promises. If I was ever going to take a “real job” again it would be with Xerox Services.