In call centers, First Call Resolution – often abbreviated to FCR – stands as a pivotal performance metric that directly impacts both operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
First Call Resolution is a frequently used call center key performance indicator (KPI). FCR measures the percentage of calls where the customer's issue is resolved during the first interaction. This eliminates the need for the customer to follow up on the same issue.
First Call Resolution is more than just a KPI – it’s a strategy that drives contact center success. When a call center has high FCR rates, the business can simultaneously enhance their operational efficiency, reduce costs, and improve agent morale. The emphasis on resolving issues in the initial interaction causes a positive ripple effect throughout the entire organization.
Here’s what an increase in FCR can mean for your call center:
Resolving issues on the first call is a big win for your customers. They appreciate not having to call back multiple times for the same problem, which makes their experience smoother and less stressful.
This not only saves your customers time, but it also shows that your company values their time and is committed to addressing their needs promptly. When customers feel valued and their issues are resolved quickly, they're more likely to stay loyal to your company.
Overall, an improved FCR helps customer satisfaction in many ways, including:
First Call Resolution calculation might seem straightforward at first glance. The typical formula for calculating call center FCR is: (Number of cases resolved on the first call / Total number of first calls) x 100 = FCR.
In your calculation, remember that a 'first call' refers to the customer's initial contact about a particular issue, not necessarily the first time a customer ever calls your company. A 'resolved issue' signifies that the customer's problem was addressed to their satisfaction during that initial call, and no follow-ups are needed.
Let’s take a look at some FCR examples:
In May, Company A received 645 first calls about different issues. Their agents resolve 468 of these customer issues on that first call. This would mean Company A’s FCR for May is 73%.
Company B resolved 1,106 first calls in May, but they received 1,912 total – an FCR rate of 58%. Despite resolving significantly more first calls than Company A, Company B’s FCR rate is much lower.
Ensuring the accuracy of FCR calculations is essential for understanding your call center's efficiency and customer satisfaction levels.
In a recent survey, despite the majority of participants saying First Call Resolution is very important, 34% say they don’t measure FCR.
To effectively monitor FCR, you need a consistent and accurate method of tracking resolved issues and first calls. Both management and frontline employees play a crucial role in this process.
This can be achieved through:
By involving employees in the measurement and tracking of FCR, organizations not only improve the accuracy of their tracking but also engage their staff in the process of improving FCR rates.
In general, an FCR above 70% is considered standard with above 80% considered exceptional.
But this score neglects to factor in the uniqueness of each individual call center. FCR targets can vary due to many reasons, including:
Different industries face distinct customer interactions, which naturally impact FCR rates. For instance, in the retail industry, calls often involve simpler transactions such as order status inquiries or returns, possibly leading to higher FCR rates.
However, in sectors like healthcare or finance, the calls might revolve around more complex issues, such as policy explanations or financial advice, which could result in lower FCR rates due to the additional follow-ups these issues might require.
Call complexity significantly influences the FCR rate. For instance, if your call center deals with simple inquiries or transactions, you might expect a higher FCR rate. However, if your center handles more complex issues, the First Call Resolution may be lower.
Seasonality can also come into play here. For instance, during tax season, a call center handling tax-related queries may see a drop in FCR rates due to the complexity and volume of the queries. Similarly, a retail call center might experience fluctuating FCR rates during holiday seasons when call volumes surge and queries become more varied and complex.
It is essential to set realistic and achievable targets tailored to your industry, the complexity of customer issues, and the unique dynamics of your call center. Constant monitoring, analysis, and benchmarking against industry standards will help determine the most appropriate FCR target for your call center.
Always remember, a high FCR is generally desirable, but it shouldn't compromise the quality of customer service or satisfaction. Striking the right balance is key.
Improving FCR hinges on effective coaching, gaining better visibility into FCR metrics, and evaluating the impact of these coaching sessions. Regular, data-driven feedback sessions, tailored coaching for agents, and leveraging analytics to track and understand FCR trends are crucial.
Equally important is assessing how these coaching sessions translate into improved FCR rates. Additionally, consider enhancing agent training programs, streamlining call workflows, and leveraging AI technologies for real-time guidance.
Consider these strategies to improve FCR:
Common mistakes include not having a clear definition of FCR, overlooking the impact of FCR on other call center metrics, focusing solely on FCR at the expense of other KPIs, and not taking a holistic view that includes other aspects of the customer experience.
Take a look at these eight common mistakes that can hurt your FCR rates:
While we’ve covered a lot about First Call Resolution, here are a few other commonly asked questions
FCR and CSAT are closely tied together. When a customer's issue is resolved on the first interaction, they are more likely to be satisfied with the service they received which means improving FCR typically leads to higher CSAT scores.
AHT refers to the average time an agent spends handling a call. This includes the conversation time and any follow-up work related to the call. A lower AHT may seem ideal, but sometimes a push to lower AHT may mean agents rush through calls requiring customers to call back later.
Traditional channels like phone calls often have higher FCR rates because issues can be resolved in real-time. Digital channels like email and live chat tend to have lower FCR rates. However, this can be improved by coaching agents on the strengths and limitations of each channel and how to respond most efficiently.
Boosting employee engagement can significantly improve FCR rates. Engaged employees are typically more committed to their jobs, tend to develop better problem-solving skills, and more likely to go the extra mile to resolve a customer's issue on the first call.
While FCR is an important KPI, it should not be considered in isolation. Balancing FCR with other KPIs ensures a more comprehensive view of call center performance. For instance, a high FCR combined with a high AHT might indicate agents are spending too long on calls to resolve issues on the first contact. Having a system that balances FCR with other KPIs is critical to improving overall call center performance.
If you’re looking to improve your FCR – or any call center KPI – AmplifAI’s AI-driven performance enablement platform might just be the solution you’re looking for to boost productivity, engagement, and overall performance.
Here are just a few ways AmplifAI can help boost your First Call Resolution rate:
For one BPO, adding AmplifAI led to a 4% increase in FCR for this leading U.S. telecommunications company. The call center also improved their coaching effectiveness by 67% and a 24% improvement to AHT. Read the full case study here.
With AmplifAI's help, teams can transform their FCR metrics by providing clear, data-driven insights, actionable next steps, and efficient coaching methods.
First Call Resolution (FCR) serves as an integral performance metric for call centers, offering benefits from operational efficiency to customer satisfaction.
High FCR rates lead to enhanced operational efficiency, reduced costs, increased agent morale, and a strengthened reputation. Accurately calculating and tracking FCR is crucial, yet some common mistakes like unclear definitions and overemphasis on FCR can hinder your rates. A focus on agent training, streamlining workflows, and leveraging analytics can help improve FCR.
Maximizing FCR means happier customers, more motivated agents, and a better-performing call center.
Could AmplifAI help you improve your FCR? Let’s find out!
The future of success in your contact center is contingent on how you impact performance in ways that are both immediate and sustainable. And it doesn’t matter whether your agents are on-site, at-home, full-time, part-time, or temporary – you must deliver on performance.
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Melissa Pollock Customer Success at AmplifAI