First Call Resolution: What is It, and Why Does It Matter?
First call resolution (FCR) is a metric that measures a contact center's performance in resolving the customer's question, problem, or other interaction on the first call. Measuring FCR is essential for monitoring customer service delivery effectiveness and operating cost efficiency. Due to its wide-reaching implications and benefits, it is one of the most critical contact center metrics.
Within the contact center, the term first call resolution is communicated to call center representatives to involve them in active campaigns to resolve every call they can while on the line.
FCR is the percentage of customers who resolve their interaction on the first call. Interactions have different tiers of importance; each type should be defined to measure its FCR rate, revealing significant FCR differences.
The ideal FCR outcome is that no repeat calls or contacts are required for the initial call or reason for that call.
Why is First Call Resolution Rate Important?
Most importantly, FCR is essential due to being linked to customer satisfaction rates. High FCR rates mean excellent customer experiences, but those high rates also mean an efficient organization.
Here are two reasons to always consider FCR to help improve customer service.
Happy customers are loyal, do more business with you, and tell others about their excellent service. The reasons most brands lose customers is due purely to a poor customer service experience. Keeping that customer costs you far less than acquiring a new one, and the income loss is probably more significant than what you could expect from a new customer right at the start.
When customers' issues and problems are solved immediately, their perception of the company increases, and they are satisfied. That customer might go on to evangelize for your company if that resolution experience was friendly and performed promptly. Now you're gaining new customers very inexpensively.
That excellent service is also the conduit for happy customers who spend more money with the company.
Improved agent performance
Every incoming call has a cost associated with it. Reducing repeat calls also reduces expenditures. A customer satisfied after one call won't need to make return calls for the same problem, resulting in fewer calls overall.
Fewer incoming calls to the contact center mean shorter customer hold times as agents get to them faster. Good FCR results in more efficient and productive agents.
Agents empowered and benefiting from good FCR are happier because they do not have the feeling that all they do is clean up messes never finished the first time. Happy employees stick around, preventing costly turnover.
How to Measure FCR
First Call Resolution metrics are very simple and mainly require two metrics for a given period:
- Total resolved cases
- The total number of cases
FCR formula: FCR=(total resolved cases/total number of cases) x 100
How to Improve Your First Call Resolution Rate
There are quite a few ways to improve your First Call Resolution rate, reviewing your processes, your operations, and the technology you use. Let's dig into some of the most important.
Cross train employees
Allowing agents to learn across departments in your contact center increases their skill set and helps them know where a customer might find the resolution they need within the organization. Cross-trained employees can see customer accounts and issues in more robust ways helping them diagnose and solve problems that might have been confusing previously. It further helps to prevent or reduce Contact Center Burnout.
Optimize your call queue
An optimized call queue that gets the customer to the contact point most likely to provide support is the starting point for FCR. The robust routing system can route based on time, call source, or the best available queue.
Call queue routing can consider specific agents' ability to solve problems with skills-based routing, possibly favoring the cross-trained employees for particular issues. The queue can also incorporate competency-based routing, sending calls to more senior team members, especially if it sees the source of the call frequently calls back.
Training improves agent effectiveness, and there is no better training than the ability to listen to a call remotely and then address the issues the supervisor heard with the employee. Supervisors then show them how they could have better solved the problem.
Call monitoring allows managers to hear the common problems and misconceptions that could keep FCR rates low so they may be added to employee training.
Just as call monitoring helps managers analyze agent performance in real-time, call recordings can be very valuable for analyzing agent performance or share examples of successful first-call resolution with teams in training meetings.
Digital support options
Digital chat has proven incredibly effective at FCR and is a must for contact centers. A traditional digital chat starts with artificial intelligence (AI) that helps find the appropriate representative for the customer's need and then routes appropriately.
If the entire transaction can be performed with the chatbot, customers prefer using them for simple service inquiries and requests.
Customer data is valuable when a rep joins a call; make it available. Your customer service agents that have access to notes about customer disposition, common issues, and product inquiries have a window into what best helps the customer.
When agents can communicate with one another over an instant messaging system, they can support each other in quickly answering questions and fixing problems with the customer on the phone.
Interactive Voice System (IVR)
Customers find it easier to interact with a voice system than listen to button options and then hit the appropriate key. Using an IVR, the customer is more likely to get to the correct department on the first call or transact with an AI that can handle their simple requests.
Incorporate a customer call-back system
Long hold times frustrate customers, and that frustration can spill over into trying to resolve the purpose of their call. This frustration comes to a head, especially if the customer feels rushed for time after a long wait. Using a customer call-back system removes the frustrating hold time and establishes a call-back time with the customer.
A customer that receives a call back is happy to have not been held up on the phone, calmer, and more willing to take the time and measures to achieve FCR.
Analyze your trends
Constantly knowing your FCR and other KPIs will help you understand what might impact FCR during different times or if certain events occur. Your VoIP system can provide the essential reports, and if you see that FCR falls when calling times change, it allows you to dig in and find out why.
FCR is the gold standard among contact centers. An excellent FCR rate means retaining valuable customers and ensuring your contact centers are as efficient as possible. The most valuable initiative to have your employees continually focused upon is FCR. Empower them with training and support and use the technology tools that can help you continuously improve this vital metric.