FIRST CALL RESOLUTION: Definition, Benefits, and Guide To FCR

First Call Resolution: Definition, Benefits, and Guide To FCR
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First Call Resolution Rate is another crucial performance metric to include in regular call center audits (also known as a “First Contact Resolution Rate”). Analytics offers unquestionable, practical insights into contact center activity, whether you’re tracking agent productivity, gauging customer satisfaction, or tracking particular key performance indicators like call center abandonment rate or average handle time. 

What is “first call resolution,” what percentage of calls are resolved on the first attempt, and what can you do right away to raise FCR in your contact center? Continue reading to learn what first call resolution is, its benefits, and why you should include it in your data sets.

What Is First Call Resolution?

First call resolution (FCR) is when customer service representatives correctly address a caller’s needs on the first attempt. The customer won’t need to call back to follow up after doing this. Customer relationship management includes FCR (CRM).

Talk time: A typical call center and contact center performance metric is average agent call time, which measures how much time an agent spends on each call. Typically, lower talk time averages are preferred. Low talk time averages and low FCR rates, however, indicate that customer calls are not being returned promptly.

Call center managers keep a close eye on customer follow-up calls. Follow-up calls not only reflect unhappiness on the part of the customer, but they also increase call volume and demand more customer service representatives. As long as the first call resolution rate also rises, a call center manager will accept an increase in talk time.

Finally, First call resolution and first-contact resolution are similar. First contact resolution rates apply to all support or help desk communication channels, not just phone calls, including chats, texts, emails, social media, and others.

Why Is FCR Important?

FCR is a measure of customer experience (CX), providing insight into how to improve a company’s CX strategy. It also drives other customer service-related metrics, such as customer satisfaction (CSAT), customer effort, customer interactions, and average spending. Companies that focus on high FCR rates often find that improving FCR helps improve service speed and quality.

Furthermore, generally speaking, call center metrics like FCR show businesses where problems arise and where their procedures can be strengthened. A company’s bottom line improves when metrics like FCR and the processes they measure are improved. Companies can lower the cost of customer support by streamlining processes.

Finally, FCR applies to all first interactions and customer contact channels. It can be used to gauge a business’s capacity to deliver service through all available channels.

What Does First Call Resolution Mean In KPI? 

First Contact Resolution Rate, or FCR, is a metric that gauges the proportion of customer inquiries and requests that are addressed right away.

When the following two questions are answered “yes,” then the problem was resolved at the first point of contact:

  1. Is this the first time the customer has called out with this request?
  2. Is the current problem resolved?

It’s crucial to define “fixed” correctly. It typically depends on the customer support agent marking the ticket as solved in the FCR tools. The issue is reopened if the customer reaches out again regarding the same problem within a predetermined window of time.

How To Calculate First Contact Resolution Rate

Use this calculation to determine your First Contact Resolution rate:

First call resolution formula

Let’s say that over a month, 180 questions and requests from your customers were handled by your customer service team. Out of those, 100 of these problems were solved right away.

Therefore, these are the calculations for your first contact resolution rate:

(100 / 180) x 100 = 56%

Why Is First Call Resolution Important? 

The following are some of the importance of having a high FCR rate:

#1. Customer Retention:

Poor customer service is one factor in customers losing interest in a company. Customers are encouraged to return to a business by receiving good customer service.

#2. Customer Satisfaction:

Satisfied customers are more likely to repurchase and recommend a company’s product or service, and value enhancements like high FCR rates make them more likely to do so.

#3. Customers are willing to spend:

Customers are more likely to spend more money with a company in a single interaction when they are happy.

#4. Increased Effectiveness:

Agent productivity is maximized by a good FCR. Support staff can talk to more customers in a day, take care of repeat requests in less time, and ultimately shorten customer wait times.

#5. Decreased Costs.

Through improved FCR, call centers can become more effective, saving businesses time and money on follow-up calls and other costs associated with handling customer complaints.

How Do I Resolve First Call Resolution? 

#1. Eliminate the Wait

Self-service has become a major trend, allowing customers to resolve their issues, freeing up customer service specialists, reducing call wait times, and saving businesses money. Adding a self-service portal to websites or mobile applications enables customers to take matters into their own hands and increase first-time call resolution.

#2. Get as Much Info as Possible

Provide comprehensive training and invest in a CRM solution to ensure call center agents have the information they need to resolve issues on the first contact.

#3. Provide Clear Instructions 

Call center agents should be clear and concise when answering customer questions or providing instructions to reduce confusion and lead to faster resolution. They should also provide relevant information.

#4. Show and Teach Your Customers

Call center agents should take the time to walk customers through how they achieved a resolution, increasing the likelihood of first-call resolution and preparing them to replicate the process on their own in the future. This will eliminate the need for a second call.

#5. Ask These Questions Before Closing Out a Call

A call is not finished until the customer hangs up, and when they do, it is in the agent’s best interest to do one last check-in before hanging up.

  • “Have I resolved your problem entirely?”
  • “Is there anything else that I can do to assist you?”
  • “Would you like to know more about our support center?”

Note that the three questions ensure that the issue has been addressed and resolved, that there are no additional issues for the customer to follow up on, and that the customer knows how to access the business’ knowledge base.

#6. Equip Your Agents

It is important to equip agents with the proper tools, knowledge, and training to confidently handle any call they might receive. Training should be thorough and hands-on, and agents should maintain a comprehensive internal knowledge base. Additionally, invest in a CRM system and other call center software to automatically update calls, create tickets, and perform skills-based routing. This will help improve the first-call resolution rate.

#7. Regularly Review Your Methods

Review service calls, emails, chats, and more regularly to understand the strengths and weaknesses of customer service specialists. Additionally, suggest customer feedback to learn what went well and what didn’t. Update internal processes and procedures to make them more efficient.

What Factors Affect First Call Resolution? 

More of the factors that are frequently taken into account when businesses define “First Contact” include the following:

#1. Business Hours:

If a client contacts your business for the first time after regular business hours, you may consider the initial follow-up conversation to be the actual “first contact.”

#2. Specific Channels:

Which channels (Voice only, Voice+Digital, etc.) are taken into account in your FCR calculations?

#3. Call Transfers, Call Queues, and Escalations:

When customers are transferred, routed, or placed in a call queue to connect with the best available agent, does this negate the possibility of first contact resolution?

#4. Voicemails and Callbacks:

Does “first contact” start when a customer calls your company for the first time, regardless of the outcome, or when they leave a voicemail message or ask for an automated callback?

#5. Call Abandonment:

Will your FCR calculations take into account abandoned customer calls, which occur when callers hang up before speaking to a live agent or an automated attendant?

How do I increase my first call resolution in a call center?

Let’s look at some quick ways to improve your first-call resolution rate.

#1. Create a useful knowledge base.

The knowledge base is the core of a support effort. It should contain product knowledge and answers to common questions. However, it may not help increase first-call resolution, as customers may be able to reach out to the company via email, chat, or social media to solve their problem without having to contact the company again.

This implies three things:

  • That you’ve picked a reliable help desk software program.
  • That the organization of your knowledge base is sound.
  • That the articles in your knowledge base are well-written.

#2. Require minimal customer effort

The more effort it takes for customers to get to customer service, the lower their FCR, as their main concern is expressing their frustrations about the quality of their support.

Therefore, you should provide customer service on social media and include contact information on your website and support center.

#3. Be an active listener:

Take the time to listen and take notes while speaking to customers to ensure a quick and efficient response.

Note that active listening is an empathy technique used by negotiators to ensure everyone is on the same page during a conversation.

#4. Don’t overdo it; be precise instead.

Be precise when providing answers to customers, as mistakes can lead to customer frustration. Find the right balance between being thorough and being overly verbose to ensure a high first-call resolution rate.

#5. Anticipate the needs of the customer 

Be proactive by asking for customer feedback and addressing any frustrations they may have while using the product or service. This will save your client from having to reach out to you later.

#6. Empower your customers:

Empower customers to use the tools available to them to search through the support center without calling customer service. Furthermore, you can empower users by giving them easy-to-follow instructions to guide them through a process.

#7. Make sure to answer all of their questions

Make sure you have a pen and paper in front of you while answering customers’ questions, and double-check that you have answered all of their questions before ending the call.

#8. Give your team quality training

Training agents to become successful support representatives is essential to increasing customer satisfaction and building confidence.

#9. Motivate your agents

Find creative ways to inspire your employees and boost business morale. Happy employees typically translate into happy clients. When agents are motivated to help clients, it is evident in all facets of their work. Instead of rushing to get customers off the phone, they take their time to properly address questions and resolve problems. Instead, they value and prioritize the caliber of their work.

#10. Review your support channels and get feedback

Reviewing support channels can give insight into why customers come back for more assistance. This can be due to a lack of answers, a lack of confidence in the agent, or a complex product. Reviewing these channels can give insight into the problem and help find solutions.

What Are The Challenges Of First Call Resolution? 

Call centers’ inability to achieve high FCR levels can be attributed to several factors. These consist of:

  • Inadequate procedures, where the customer cannot be assisted by the agent because of a company rule or another restriction imposed by the company. 
  • Agent incompetence, where the agent lacks the skills or knowledge necessary to address the client’s problem.
  • Lack of robust customer support systems to help customers identify root causes, communicate issues, and execute fixes.

What Causes Low FCR?

#1. No commitment from the management

The biggest barrier to improving FCR performance is the lack of management commitment at all levels. Low commitment at the individual supervisor level has less of a negative impact than at the VP level, where it impacts the entire call center FCR performance. Management focuses on project and sales initiatives at the expense of FCR initiatives, sending the message that FCR is not as important as other initiatives.

#2. No FCR Leader

The second biggest barrier to not improving FCR is that there are no FCR leaders. In most cases, the senior VP of the call center is the FCR leader or chief, but in call centers with poor to average FCR performance, there is no FCR champion. This can be seen in an FCR meeting where all senior management is invited but some do not show up, leave early, or disengage. This sends the message that FCR is not important.

#3. Poor Communication 

Poor communication is the third biggest barrier to improving FCR. Agents and supervisors lack knowledge of how they or the call center perform on VoC metrics, leading to a lack of accountability and motivation to improve. Customer surveying is conducted at the call center level only or infrequently, and VoC results are not shared.  

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