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First Call Resolution call center

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First Call Resolution

We have all made a call to a contact center for some issue or other. And, not all the time do we get our issue resolved by just one call. Sometimes we have to keep on calling to get results. 

This is where First Call Resolution comes to address the issue of repeated calls. First Call Resolution over the past few years has become a game-changer, to provide stellar customer service, in contact centers.

The contact centers are prioritizing the first call resolution to resolve the customer’s issue without needing to call back. Not only does it improve the performance of the company but also the company’s engagement with the customers.

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What is First Call Resolution?

  • FCR is a metric that defines the contact center’s ability to address and solve a customer query in their first call without needing to follow up or schedule another call. 
  • FCR metric can be achieved through whichever channel the customer prefers. Be it a phone call, a live chat session, or a single email, the purpose is to resolve the issue with minimum effort from the customer as well as the agent. 
  • First call resolution rate helps to analyze customer satisfaction and loyalty but also the proficiency of the customer service agents. It is an important factor that determines the customer experience your contact center provides. 
  • Low call duration between agent and customer paired with a high FCR rate is the ultimate goal all contact centers strive to achieve. 

How First Call Resolution Can Benefit Your Business?

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First call resolution is often under argument to be the most important factor and a KPI of determining customer service all across the industry. 

No Repeated calls

  • Without First call resolution, a study shows, the customer satisfaction rates drop by 45% when the issue takes more than one call/chat session. 
  • Customers dread to talk to call center agents unless it is their last resort. And, to have them repeatedly call to get the issue solved results in them receiving poor customer service and often deferring to other companies. 
  • Moreover, a study found that 23% of customers are less likely to remain loyal if their query is not addressed in the first call.

Customer Satisfaction and Agent Efficiency 

  • All contact centers across the globe are trying to bring these numbers down and increase their customer service. And, integrating First Call Resolution is proving to help them in achieving more satisfied customers. 
  • According to a study, with a 1% increase in first call resolution, customer satisfaction increases by 1% as well. 
  • If we see data from the perspective of company benefit and performance, then a study found that when 60% of companies measured their FCR for a year it led to a 30% improvement. 
  • Prioritizing the FCR metric reduces the time needed to solve customer issues and increase customer service. Not only customer satisfaction but also agent efficiency improves as a result of the first-call resolution.

Low Cost

  • Repeated calls made by customers to resolve their issue can drive up the cost of contact center. Shifting the focus of the agents towards first call resolution while improving their performance can bring down the cost of the contact center.

How to Improve First Call Resolution?

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A study shows that 5% of contact centers improve their first call resolution by 5% or more in a year.

First call resolution requires a commitment of the agents as well as the supervisor. The company has to go through trial and error to reach a solution that works the best for them. However, there are certain ways to improve and see improvement in the metrics, and those are listed below.

Gauge and Analyze First Call Resolution Rate

  • Tracking the first call resolution of your call center is the first step. Understand how the difference in the metric of internal and external measurement techniques religiously. 
  • Moreover, also examine the different FCR rates across all the channels used to engage with the customer. A high FCR rate on a phone call and a low FCR rate on chat and email do not result in a good overall FCR rate for the company.

Understand the Reason for Repeated Call

You can try to understand the reason for repeated call using two methods:

  • Recording the live conversation and identifying the caller to correlate the repeated calls to the agents. This will help you understand why the issue was not resolved and also how you can improve in the future. This involves integrating CRM and speech analysis. 
  • You can also use a post-call survey by identifying the repeated callers. You can ask them why the query was not solved in the first call. Also, you can collect feedback after each call by sending them a feedback form.

Target Repeat Call Reasons

  • Once you start keeping track of the repeat caller you may notice a pattern in the reasons for the repeated call. 
  • You can tag these reasons and create categories for them. The reason which has low customer satisfaction and high volume of complaints should be focused on and targeted. 
  • You cannot solve all the reasons at a time so it is always advised to focus on improving 2 or 4 repeat call reasons. 
  • However, you must also be able to determine what kind of queries should be tagged as a repeat. 
  • You cannot consider customers repeatedly calling to ask the opening/closing time as an FCR. Nor can you deem a question that will inevitably need more than one call to solve. 

Develop a Plan 

  • An action plan with 5W’s and 1 H should be developed to improve the first call resolution rate of the center. The above points of identifying the repeated callers and understanding the reason come into play when designing the plan.
  • The plan needs to be reviewed by the management and must involve skilled agents to generate a better result. The training of the agents should also be a part of the plan.

FCR Improvement Goal

  • FCR improvement goals vary from the conservative level of 1-2%, moderate level of 3-4%, and aggressive level of 5% or more. 
  • With an FCR rate of 80% rate world-class level and 75% rate in the 1st quartile of industry class. 
  • To understand what your goal should be, conduct an FCR benchmark of your call center’s FCR rate. Based on your FCR rate you should establish an FCR improvement goal. 

How To Measure Your First Call Resolution?

First Call Resolution call center Member engagement

If you want to measure the first call resolution of your center you have to gather data and ask questions to the customers. Then you can define and ultimately measure the first call resolution. There is one first call resolution measurement rate formula for this purpose. But, there is also another method called the external measurement method which is as well used by contact centers.

First Call Resolution Calculation/ Internal Measurement

First call resolution is a straightforward method with the formula, used by gathering data and examining the call quality and agent log. 

FCR = Total no. of resolved first calls/ Total no. of calls received X 100%

However, there is another method used in the industry which gives a more accurate result. 

FCR = Total no. of resolved First calls/ Total no. of first call X 100%

Both approaches are valid and give meaningful results. The organization needs to determine the criteria of collecting the data and then which method to use. 

FCR rate of 90% is considered to be high in the industry standard with low being 40%. 

In this line of context, the industry average FCR rate is 70 to 75% and this is called a good FCR rate. This implies that 25 to 30% are repeat calls.  

However, you cannot compromise your average handle time to improve your FCR. Spending more time talking to customers to improve FCR results in a decrease in efficiency and other benefits FCR gives you.

External Measurement Method

The post-call survey method involves asking the customers directly if the issue was resolved or not. The survey method may include phone interviews, surveys sent via email, or IVR. Although these methods are expensive and take time, they have been proven to improve FCR.

Common Mistakes Contact Center Make While Using FCR

First Call Resolution call center Member engagement

For improved FCR you want to reduce the no. of calls it takes for a customer to make in order to solve their complaint. A contact center’s goal is to reduce the workload a customer has to do and provide them better service. 

Sometimes, you may find you have to invest more time but see a steady decrease in the volume of calls. In that case, it’s a win.

Confusing FCR with Repeat Callers

  • FCR and Repeat caller are different elements and confusing them for one another may give an inaccurate result. 
  • A repeat caller may contact you for a different issue using the same number. Or, a customers may continue to call to ask about your opening time. These repeat calls are not to be considered as FCR. 
  • Unless it is the same reason repeated, it cannot be considered an issue in FCR. 

 No Need to Rush into Improving FCR

  • FCR is considered a customer experience metric because it tells you how you are performing against customer expectations. 
  • Running after the FCR rate and implementing methods without understanding why your score is what it is, may cause issues rather than solving them. The management needs to understand why there is a lack of ability in resolving the issue the first time. 
  • You need to analyze the internal reason why the agents are not able to solve the issue before implementing any improvement tips. 
  • Calculating some numbers cannot give you the reason behind the lack of customer service. So, rushing into improving the FCR rate won’t improve the contact center efficiency. 

First Call Resolution Practices You can Implement In Your Business

Train Your Agents

  • Not all agents can solve all sorts of issues. There may be agents who excel in more than one field, while the rest may only know a few. However, training the agents to handle more calls that go beyond their standard zone can build their confidence. Training the agents is a vital point in every contact center. 

Understand Your Customers

  • To solve their issues you have to first understand the customers. You can provide better customer service if you come closer to understanding them. 
  • They may use different channels for specific issues; there may be a particular field they find more complaints about. All such indicators can help you understand and know your customers. 

A Base of Knowledge

  • All the agents mentioned above may not have answers to every question. Hence, it would be beneficial for them if they have access to a comprehensive database.
  •  A database with knowledge and answers which they can refer to when they have trouble resolving a certain issue can decrease the need to transfer the call to some other agents and negate repeated calls. 

In conclusion, FCR is an important factor when it comes to KPI and understanding how customers perceive you and your service. The FCR can help you understand if you are helping the customers or causing more frustration and why.

more and more companies are focusing on FCR to improve their CX. They are keeping keen eye on each of their interactions with the customers in their journey with the company. 

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