Learn how to measure and improve First Call Resolution in your Contact Center

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FCR

The First Call Resolution (FCR) metric is just what it sounds like – it reveals the percentage at which companies are able to resolve customer issues on the first call, or first interaction with a customer. Companies who practice First Call Resolution also practice Next Call Resolution (NCR), which is the ability for a company to be proactive and answer a customers next question or solve a customers next challenge before it happens. Next Call Resolution can help increase FCR scores.

Of all the metrics call centers use for measuring customer satisfaction, the FCR metric is the most telling. Customer satisfaction goes up when needs are met more efficiently and effectively. Conversely, if multiple calls or interactions are needed to solve a customer’s issue, frustration builds and customer satisfaction goes down.

FCR is the most difficult customer care metric to measure, as it looks at how customers perceive their experience – information that’s not always easy to collect. However, FCR should not be overlooked.

Companies that track FCR see major performance improvements. For example, research conducted by the Service Quality Management Group shows that for every 1% improvement in FCR, companies see a correlating 1% improvement in customer satisfaction.

Defining FCR for Your Company

Before companies begin measuring FCR, they need to define what FCR means for them and establish criteria for measuring it. Here are initial steps you should take if you’re just beginning to track FCR:

1. Define what FCR means for your company

For some companies, First Call Resolution might mean resolving a case on the first call, regardless of whether the call needs to be transferred to another agent. For others, First Call Resolution might mean resolving a case on first contact. Companies should also define what constitutes an “escalated call,” a “callback,” or a “repeat call,” as these all affect FCR.

2. Establish criteria for measuring FCR

Companies need to establish a standard criterion for measuring FCR. Think about what standards must be met before marking a call as resolved, and what variables might impact FCR. For example, is FCR affected if the caller contacts the wrong department? Does a callback include callers who reached out via email or a live web chat?

3. Define a Contact Window

A Contact Window is the allotted amount of time companies gives customers to follow up on a case before calling it closed. For example, if a Contact Window is 36 hours and a customer doesn’t follow up on a case until a week later, the follow up call won’t affect FCR.  Companies should ensure that they are providing customers with enough time to follow up before closing the window.

4. Define Your FCR Formula

In order for first call resolution to be consistently measured over time, a concrete formula should be used every time. Formulas may differ between companies since FCR definitions may vary.

A basic FCR formula would be:

FCR = (# of issued resolved on the first call ÷ divided by total number of issues) × 100%

Measuring FCR

A multi-source approach for measuring FCR is best, as it’s more flexible and offers more opportunities for identifying areas that may be affecting FCR.  By gathering as much information as possible, companies can arrive at a more accurate score.

Here are 4 primary methods companies use when measuring First Contact Resolution:

1. Repeat-call Tracking Technology

This technology tracks whether or not a customer calls the contact center about an issue more than once. However, some customers may reach out via email or a web chat, and some might not call back at all, even if their issue wasn’t resolved. For these reasons, companies should monitor all channels when tracking FCR.

2. Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Once an agent thinks a case has been closed, companies can implement post-call customer surveys via IVR (Interactive Voice Response), email or live agents. The survey simply asks the customer whether the issue they were calling about was fully taken care of.

3. Quality Monitoring Results

With this technology, Internal Quality Monitoring Staff monitor calls and rate them as either  “resolved” or “unresolved.” They also must confirm that it was the caller’s first attempt at resolving the issue at hand. This is a good method for understanding how agents are performing, so that companies can take steps toward improving communication and helping customers reach resolutions quicker in the future.

4. Internal Call Statistics

This method helps companies understand who called and why and when they called. With the right call center software, companies can track data about who is calling and record specific information relating to the case at hand. Companies can then analyze recorded data to understand how the call center as a whole is performing, as well as how individual agents are performing.

Top FCR Benefits

Companies with high FCR scores witness a number of benefits that come with increased efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction:

1. Lower Operating Costs

When customer needs are resolved via the first call, that means no callbacks are needed. Companies consequently save money, as fewer agents are needed to field calls.

2. Higher Employee Satisfaction

Fewer callbacks prevent agents from becoming overworked handling difficult, time-consuming cases.

When agents are able to help callers immediately, they gain confidence and feel motivated for future calls. Equipping employees with the tools they need to resolve customer cases efficiently is imperative for preventing both the customer and agent to become frustrated.

3. More Brand Advocates

Companies with high FCR scores naturally have more satisfied customers. These customers are likely to spread the word about how great the service was to their family and friends and send more new customers your way.

Although FCR is difficult, time-consuming and expensive to measure, the results are well worth it. Now that you know what First Call Resolution is, it’s time to start tracking and improving it. Learn tips for improving it here. Or, learn how to implement a Next Call Resolution strategy here.