calltalk-caramels-2.pngFirst call resolution (FCR) is a double-edged metric in that it relates to the quality of calls as well as the efficiency of the call center. In terms of quality, FCR is a customer-facing metric, as customers are very aware as to whether their call was satisfied on the first call or not. In terms of efficiency, the more times a customer must call the center in order to satisfy an inquiry, the higher the costs. For these two reasons, FCR is recognized by many as the single most imporatant driver of call center optimization and performance.

According to research conducted at BenchmarkPortal, in their attempts to document First Call Resolution, the majority of call centers instruct their agents ask the caller at the end of each caller interaction if the reasons for their call was satisfied (not always accurate). Other methods include:

  • Post-call IVR surveys that ask the caller if their issue was resolved;
  • Post-call email surveys; and
  • Tickets opened/closed, a method used in the tech support industry;
  • Using automatic number identification (ANI) to search for people who have called more than once within a specified period of time (with issues that were coded the same).

It should also be noted, however, that when a customer calls the center and a transfer occurs – if in the end result the caller is satisfied, first call resolution was achieved because the customer needed to only make one call to the center. While there is no perfect system to measure FCR, managers should definitely make the effort to track this important metric.

FCR Best Practices include:

  1. Survey methodology – Don’t just ask the caller if their call was satisfied, but ask them how many times they needed to call.
  2. Investigate all responses with low scores to better understand areas of needed improvement.
  3. Training support – Do an ROI calculation – show upper management how better-trained agents and better systems reduce call volume by the number of repeat calls, as well as call handling time.  Over 65% of repeat calls are due to agent error, and satisfaction ratings drop 20% for each repeated call.
  4. Analysis – Perform a root cause analysis to understand the reasons for additional calls and why FCR is not achieved. Investigate hiring and training, call processes, and technologies.

While most centers look at the impact of FCR on their staffing model, industry experts suggest it is better to look at the satisfaction levels and attrition rate of your customers – – without customers, there is no need for staffing!

Tip of the Week: If you have your agents key-in FCR, make them aware that you are monitoring their calls to assure  that resolution to the customers issues was actually achieved. This keeps integrity in the process and improves agent performance.

This CallTalk Caramel was compiled and edited by Bruce Belfiore and Kamál Webb.  It was drawn from a CallTalk episode with Dr. RosanneD’Ausilio, entitled “First Call Resolution: Revisited”.   To listen to the archived episode click play below.


calltalk-caramels-2.pngCallTalk is a monthly internet radio program featuring the most innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore.  “Caramels” distills key moments from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.

Topics: First Call Resolution, CallTalk Caramels, Contact Center Articles