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First Call Resolution. The Ultimate Guide

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First Call Resolution: definition and measurements

It makes no difference whether customers are calling their insurance company, their bank, or their service desk they want service in the first place. Customers have a tendency to be impatient as they want their problem to be solved or their question to be answered immediately. Research in different industries reveals this. Customer satisfaction is deeply related to first contact resolution. A high FCR is commonly relevant to high level of customer satisfaction. FCR is an indicator of how effectively your service desk conducts its business, and is a result of various factors including the types and complexity of transactions handled, the quality of agent training, your agents’ experience, and available tools to your agents (e.g., remote diagnostics, knowledge management, etc.).

What is First Call Resolution

In customer relationship management (CRM), first call resolution is fulfilling the customer's need the very first time he calls, thus there is no need for the customer to call for the second time. FCR or first call resolution is one of the most important statistics that can be measured by a contact center. (Note: FCR should be described as first contact resolution because of increased communication channels like email, chat, and social media). By keeping this percentage as high as possible contact centers show that they are able to route customers to the right agent, indicate that your agents are supplied with enough information, and demonstrate the ability of your team members to solve customer issues.

FCR is the most difficult customer care metric to measure, because it deals with the way customers gain their experience - information that is hard enough to collect. Though, FCR should not be neglected. Companies which track FCR notice considerable performance improvements. According to the research carried out by the Service Quality Management Group there is a correlation between every 1% improvement in FCR and 1% improvement in customer satisfaction.

The Ascent Group reports that 60% of companies that have been measuring FCR for more than a year noticed improvement in their performance.

The lack of First Call Resolution turned out to account for a minimum of 30% of a call centres operational cost. Improved productivity and improved customer satisfaction will be gained by focusing on this issue.

Additionally there are 3 main benchmarks that indicate successful contact centre:

  • 90% of all calls resolved by the agent in 20 seconds.
  • The satisfactory completion of 90% of all calls at the point of entry also called First Call Resolution.
  • Staff turnover <5% p.a.

The customers don't want to wait; they want somebody to solve their matter personally and quickly. Eventually, customers aren't interested in call resolution; they are more interested in issue resolution.

FCR formula

When calculating FCR this formula is the basic starting point: FCR = (# resolved incidents closed on the first contact) divided by (total # incidents) * 100%. There are some factors that should be taken into consideration when measuring FCR.

How to calculate FCR

FCR measurement methods

Customer Satisfaction Analyses with Surveys

No matter was the issue resolved on the first bid or not the customer's perception is the most important measure of FCR. As you can not always find out was the customer's issue resolved or not (the customer may have stopped trying so he didn't call back) if only the customer is questioned by you. There are some ways to do it:

  • Post-Call Surveys

After the end of the call a brief survey can be done to indicate whether the customers' issue was resolved, were they satisfied and whether they would advise the company to their friend depending on the service they've got. A Likert Scale can be included. Collecting meaningful data make sure not to have too many items included in order not to discourage callers in completing the survey. Recall bias as well as interviewer bias will be reduced by conducting a survey right after the end of the call, increasing possibility of that the caller will respond to the survey.

  • Email a Follow-Up Survey

It`s a common tendency to send an email survey after the call is finished. The crucial problem with this form of measurement is that the query won't be responded by most of the callers. Besides, they may find it difficult to remember the interaction from A to Z (recall bias) as the sufficient amount of time has passed between when they contacted your call center agent and answered the survey. Despite of these issues, comparing to a direct question from the call center agent this method of data collection tends to be less biased.

  • Have Your Agents Ask

One more way to collect issue resolution data is asking the caller directly at the end of the call. The questions to ask are the following:

  • "What else can I help you with?"
  • "Have I resolved your issue completely?"
  • "Is there anything else I can do for you before we get off the phone?"
  • "Is it your first time calling us? If no, when was your previous call?"

FCR measurement methods

Conduct Call Statistics Analysis

Conducting call statistics analysis is one of the most important and frequently used methods to keep track of FCR. In order to know who, when and why was calling the right tools are needed:

  • CRM System

Useful tools for measuring FCR are CRM systems with reporting capabilities. When a customer has finished speaking with the agent, he can be asked if his issue was resolved according to his standards. If yes, a note of it in the CMR should be done, the case/event can be closed as "resolved" and the customer can be classified as "Completely satisfied" with a disposition code. Assigning each issue a unique identification number helps significantly in enhancing the call tracking process. CRMs that are integrated with call center software are remarkable tools to keep track of call logs.

  • Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems

ACDs and IVRs are used for collecting detailed information in the CRM's call log. The general reason for a call (i. e. support, sales, and technical issues) can be checked by using information from the IVR. The exact number of calls terminated in the waiting queue can be seen from the data collected through the IVR. In order to extract this information for analysis anytime it should be filled into a customer's call log in your CRM.

  • Call Monitoring and Recording

Call recording will be of great value in identifying the reason for a customer’s call together with ensuring that your call center agents assign accurate disposition codes to every call. When the interaction ends call recordings can be reviewed and disposition codes to the call log or tags can be assigned (or checked) by managers. Listening in on live calls ensures that the most accurate disposition code is assigned to the interaction by the agents. This can be of great importance in ensuring that the data properly reflects the customer's experience.

  • Internal Call Statistics

With the right call center software, companies can understand who is calling and also record specific information relating to the given case. Thus recorded data then can be analyzed in order to see how individual agents are performing, as well as the call center as a whole.

  • Repeat-call Tracking Technology

This technology enables one to see how many times a customer calls the contact center about an issue. There are customers that may not call back despite of their unresolved issue. For those reasons, companies should monitor all channels when tracking FCR.


Companies having high FCR scores reflect the benefits coming with increased efficiency, customer satisfaction and productivity:

Reduce Operational Costs: FCR significantly cuts costs due to the direct impact on repeat call. The operational efficiency will be improved by this reduction and the pressure off call centers resulting from call spikes will be taken. A 15% increase in FCR gives rise to a 57% reduction in repeat calls.

Improve Customer Satisfaction: an improvement in customer satisfaction therefore is converted to an increase in First Call Resolution. Thus you are given the opportunity to meet the quality of customers' expected service. A "home run" for your organization is to resolve their concerns in the first call.

Rewards and Agent satisfaction: call duration is used by the majority of companies to measure the performance of those agents that only lead them to quickly get rid of customers. Emphasizing the need of resolving customer issues in the first call is helpful for organizations in determining the best performers and reward them.

Increase Customer revenues: When customer's issues are resolved in the first call, the customer will be open to cross sell activities or upsell. The interest in doing further business will be less if customers are frustrated with unresolved issues.

Get Customer loyalty: Customers feel themselves valuable for the organization when their problems and issues are resolved in the first call. In such way they feel themselves acknowledged and, consequently, the idea of switching companies never occurs. Thus customer retention is improved.

Next Call Resolution

The ability of a company to answer a customer's next question or the next challenge before that happens is Next Call Resolution (NCR) which is practiced by companies who also mind First Call Resolution. Next Call Resolution can help increase FCR scores.

Next Call Resolution Example

More than 90% of companies that measured first call resolution in the recent study by the Ascent Group indicated improvement in their performance. A dramatic fall in call volume was reported according to recent researches – revealing that 20% of all calls were repeat calls from customers that needed help or an answer that wasn't given on the first call. Even when you have a first call resolution plan, all repeat callers will never be eliminated. There are many reasons and they varied by industry and repeat callers may even be encouraged depending on your business model.

For customer satisfaction and contact center efficiency first-call resolution is of great value. By conducting best practices, repeat calls can be reduced and customer satisfaction can be boosted by resolving issues and concerns with no repeat contacts.

Avoid being one of 50% or 60% of organizations that don't measure FCR. Remember what can be measured can be managed, and what can be managed can be improved.

Syteg SSP professionals will provide you with all necessary information about our Free Call center software and how it can benefit your business! Don't hesitate to contact us!

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