First Call Resolution: Guide to a Better Customer Experience 

Call Center Agent

When you call customer service to get help with a service or product, the common expectation is to want your problem solved on the first call.

If the issue is not solved, typically, this leads to poor customer experience.

First-call resolution, FCR, is one of the best ways to rate customer experience in a call center. 

FCR and customer experience are two concepts that are strictly related because FCR rates improve when call center agents solve the customers´ needs and problems during the first phone call.  

Customer experience, also known as CX, is the priority for most businesses. Adobe worked with Econsultancy on the report of Digital Trends for 2020, in which the results made clear the importance of CX. During this research, they found out that 34% of leading businesses put as a priority the customers´ experience. It is essential to know your customer to have higher customer satisfaction. 

This article will develop all the characteristics and importance of FCR metric: 

  • Defining first call resolution.
  • A guide on how to measure it.
  • Offer some tips on how to improve it on your business.  

 

Importance of customer service

What is the First-call resolution?

First-call resolution refers to when contact center agents solve the customers´ problem without the need to repeat calls. Giving the best customer support and managing call handling is vital to any business, even more in a call center environment. 

Having higher first-call resolution rates will have positive impacts on your company: 

  • It will retain customers. 
  • Bring in more customers.
  • Spread positive fame to your company.
  • Make agents work more efficiently. 
  • It will shorten wait times for other customers who are waiting to be attended. 

The lousy service experience can cause significant problems for your company. Statistics have shown that almost 82% of customers leave companies where they have had bad experiences. 

First Impressions

The first contact you have with your customer can make the difference in your business-customer relationship. 

The way agents handle the first customers´ calls can lead to customer retention or the opposite of it. This is one of the many reasons why having a higher first call resolution rate can have a significant positive impact on your company.

What the numbers say

The work of customer service agents is vital to the company’s reputation. When selling a product or service, if the customer service goes wrong, statistically, the dissatisfied customer will tell up to 15 people about the negative experience. Underlining why first-call resolutions are essential. If you have a first positive experience, the word will spread, and you will have more clients, or at least you won’t have a negative image.

In addition to this, it is proven that customers may spend up to 16% more if they have better service. 

If your business has higher FCR rates, the wait times will get shorter. How? If the call center agents are efficient and solve the customers´ problem on the first contact, there will be fewer follow up calls and repeated calls. The work system will be more productive. 

The importance of First Call Resolution

How to calculate first contact resolution? 

To calculate the FCR rates, consider all the different communication channels that your company has with the clients, such as phone calls, email, and live chat. 

There are a series of steps to follow when calculating FCR rates:

  • Select a formula definition based on how technical or easy to understand your company wants it to be. Some examples of FCR are:
    • The total number of calls resolved correctly on the first attempt, divided by the total number of calls in a given time.
    • The total number of calls resolved successfully on the first attempt, divided by the total number of first calls.
    • Total resolved cases in the first contact divided by the total number of cases in a day.
  • Make a series of questions on specific cases that might affect the FCR rates and think about including them or not in your analysis. Be very specific to these questions and on defining them as part of the criteria or not. 
  • Define a contact window. This means the amount of time allowed between calls to be included or not on the FRC rates. 
    • Example: if a person calls on Thursday the first time and then calls for the same topic on Monday, but your contact window is 24 hours, the second call will not be counted as a follow-up call, but as a first call. 
    • Create a formula that best fits your team. It doesn’t matter if it is different from other groups within the same company or with other companies. 
  • Make sure your customer is satisfied with the resolution. There are various ways to guarantee that your client is happy with the resolution: 
    • Do post-call surveys 
    • Send emails with a follow-up survey for the customer to fill in. 

Tips to Improve and Implement First Call Resolution Effectively

The results of a research made by The Ascent Group established that 60% of the companies that have been measuring FCR rates for more than a year have improvements up to 30%.

To improve and implement First call resolution in the most effective way, here are some tips: 

  • Identify the most common reasons for delayed resolutions 
  • Invest in software that collects granular customer intel useful for your agents 
  • Separate the customers’ calls that need follow-up to solve the problem and the ones that can be fixed during the first call. 
  • Identify your weaknesses regarding FCR and try to fix them 
  • Understand what to expect from the calls and anticipate the customer’s needs
  • Avoid transferring the customer to another agent.
  • Train your agents and identify which of them needs more training. 
  • Give your agents the information they might need for the client. 
  • Train agents constantly. 
  • Have your agents evaluate one another. 
  • Define the goals to your agents and give them incentives. 
  • Avoid leaving customers on hold. 

Conclusion

Having a high FCR rate is essential for many businesses, especially call centers. All these series of pros make it obvious, even more with all the statistics shown. 

The effect first-call resolutions can have on your business are multiple, from reducing costs and having a more efficient environment at work, to the customers´satisfaction.