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    December 19, 2022

    What is First Call Resolution? Tips to Improve FCR

    There is much more that goes on in contact centers than what meets the eye. To other people, it is where they contact the customer support team to get information about products or services, which is certainly true. For this, call centers prioritize improving customer service calls for better relations. 

    So, is it possible to know whether or not customers are getting a good experience from service calls? This is where First Call Resolution (FCR) comes in. In this post, we will expound in depth on FCR and its importance and best practices to improve FCR in call centers. 

    First Call Resolution; What Is It?

    First Call Resolution is a metric that demonstrates how effectively your contact center addresses your clients’ issues, queries, and requests during the first engagement across all communication channels. This stamps out the need for the customer to contact you again for the same problem.

    When looked at from another perspective, it is the percentage of first calls that don’t necessitate additional communication to deal with the customer’s aim for contacting the center. FCR rate is therefore tied to the customer’s view but also depends on your customer service team’s efficiency. 

    Recent data indicates that the FCR rates for the many touchpoints a company utilizes to serve its clients can vary significantly. A touchpoint is any interaction, including those lacking physical contact, that could change how a consumer regards your products, service, or brand. Some might be more effective than others, resulting in a higher percentage.

    Why Are First Contact Resolutions Important?

    While FCR seems elementary, that’s usually not the case, making it one of the most crucial yet challenging KPIs to evaluate appropriately during quality assurance. Here is why you should FCR is essential:

    Indicates the Effectiveness of Your Contact Center

    FCR is a metric for quantifying customer experience (CX) and offers suggestions for enhancing CX strategies for businesses. Additionally, it is a reliable predictor of a business’s responsiveness and operational effectiveness. Other customer service indicators, like customer satisfaction (CSAT), client effort, or how much work a consumer must expend to interact with a firm, are all driven by FCR. 

    High FCR-focused businesses frequently discover that raising FCR increases service effectiveness and timeliness. Companies can better meet customer expectations when calls or encounters are handled immediately.

    Indicates What to Improve

    After analyzing your FCR rate, you will realize areas your company lacks. This is a good way to identify your weak areas, but you should not just identify them and do nothing to improve the situation. A company’s bottom line increases when measurements like FCR and the operations they evaluate are improved. Businesses can reduce the cost of customer service by streamlining these operations. In fact, one of the reasons FCR is assessed keenly is that it helps keep watch on a contact center’s operating cost efficiency

    It Maximizes the Potential of Your Support Team

    If a caller’s issue is resolved the first time they phone or message, you will not get calls from them again regarding the same issue. Due to reduced repeat inquiries, there will be fewer calls overall throughout the day. The outcome? Faster response speeds to client calls and emails, as well as a more effective customer care team. If there is less pressure, your team will be more productive, and you might see better results in the coming days.

    Unhappy Customers’ Opinions Can Be Changed

    When it comes to business, the customer will always have the upper hand. You might convert a potential critic into a loyal customer if you can respond to their issues promptly and courteously.

    Ensuring the first contact is enjoyable and useful could eliminate dissatisfaction among customers. In general, a disgruntled customer will notify up to 15 others about a terrible event with a company, and this might ruin the company’s brand. A good FCR rate can also help retain your already-earned customers.

    Has Diverse Uses

    While the term might imply the metric is used only on calls, websites, emails, phone conversations, and other first interactions with customers are also eligible for FCR. It allows you to gauge how well your business can serve customers across all modes of communication.

    How Can You Tell Your FCR is Good?

    According to the industry FCR call center benchmark, approximately three-quarters of all contacts should be resolved during the first encounter. The rate that a certain organization or industry adopts as a benchmark, nonetheless, can be impacted by a wide range of factors. 

    There is no universal standard as the definition of a strong FCR rate might vary depending on the contact center type, the calculation method, the type of company, and the technologies it has access to. Bearing this in mind, Call Criteria leverages live review people to create a Quality Assurance evaluation form that is specifically tuned to look at those elements that positively contribute to FCR. Here, we’ll use over 700 predefined aspects in our library to discuss the outcomes you want to achieve and develop a tailored solution for that. 

    Since more returns are necessary for a highly technical domain to gather the necessary data and conduct solutions analysis than a less technical one, a call center in that field may have a lower FCR percentage. Due to the wide range of businesses to which FCR is applied, it is impossible to determine a fixed rate. Furthermore, different call types necessitate distinct time intervals for determining when FCRs were reached. 

    Measuring FCR Successfully

    Every contact center must understand how to calculate the FCR rate because it is one of the most important KPIs for quality assurance. Due to the parameters used to identify, measure, and decide when a call is cleared up, the first contact resolution rate can be difficult to establish and calculate. 

    A 1 – 12% annual growth in the FCR rate is observed in over 70% of contact centers that calculate, monitor, and follow the FCR rate for at least a year. You can picture what a 12% annual rise could be, given that a 1% growth in FCR rate equates to $250,000 in annual operating savings for the typical medium-sized contact center.

    The secret is establishing and quantifying the FCR rate by developing your data collection criteria while responding to particular queries. Two main methods are used to calculate FCR for call centers:

    External FCR Measurement

    This approach is thought to be the most reliable for calculating and comparing FCR. External FCR measurement allows the caller to judge whether a First Call Resolution occurred; all things considered, the customer’s perception bears more weight.

    An after-call phone or email survey is often deployed to determine the Voice of the Customer. Agents frequently inquire whether the caller’s issues have been addressed. These methods provide a defined computation approach; therefore, you can collate your performance with your competitors.

    Calculating External FCR

    Using a post-call survey technique, customers are explicitly asked if the problem was addressed. FCR survey questions can be asked through various mediums, as mentioned earlier. 

    The rate is then determined using the results of the surveys. One technique is to ask direct questions requiring a yes or no answer. If the client selects “yes,” the call is counted as an FCR. Alternatively, you can ask open-ended questions like “How many times did you call before the issue was resolved?”

    Hence, the formula for calculating the FCR rate would be: 

    Total number of customers who reported a successful resolution on first call ÷ Total number of surveys

    Internal FCR Measurement

    Contact centers most frequently employ this technique. The FCR rate is calculated using organizational criteria. This FCR rate is typically not comparable to others since the organization utilizes its internal benchmark of choice to measure FCR.

    Among the methods employed in determining the rate include CRM, case management, quality assurance, and repeat call technologies. The results depend on whether or not the caller contacted the center again with the same issue within a set number of days, say 1-30. Unlike the external, the internal approach has no standardized formula; therefore, it is less reliable and more complicated.

    Calculating Internal FCR

    Clients who phoned back are selected using the aforementioned techniques to get the average internal FCR rate. FCR is then calculated based on recurrent callers within a given period. Internal measuring techniques have drawbacks even though they are simple to deploy.  

    For instance, the follow-up could not come right away, or the same individual could contact using another number. But if the constraints are realized, this can be a great method for tracking trends in first-contact resolutions.

    Two methods can be used to calculate internal FCR:

    • Total number of calls resolved on first contact ÷ Total number of calls received
    • Total number of calls resolved on first contact ÷ Total number of unique inquiries

    The second approach of calculating internal FCR is more taxing but is considered reliable compared to the first. While both methods are acceptable, the call center is obliged to explain to the customers the method they used to come to their FCR rate conclusion. 

    What to Do with FCR Results

    One mistake most call centers make is not using the results appropriately to favor the company. It would be pointless to go through the trouble of defining and calculating FCR rates if you won’t be using the results to your advantage.

    Realize Reasons for Repeat Calls

    Many things can make the customer call back with the same question, including but not limited to miscommunication, poor connection, or using technical language. Use the different survey methods to collect information from your callers to understand why their concerns were not resolved with the first call. 

    This way, you can find methods of improving. For instance, if the reason is jargon, you can encourage your support team to use simple language when addressing certain issues. Alternatively, you can adjust your call center scripts and use simpler terms implying the same thing. 

    Come Up with an Action Plan

    This is more or less a guide, usually consisting of what, why, where, when, who, and how. Creating an action plan can be cumbersome as numerous processes must be followed and documents reviewed. 

    Challenges You Might Face with FCRs

    Calculating FCR on the ground is not as easy as it sounds because of the various factors involved. Call centers are often frustrated because the task comes with many challenges.

    Not knowing when a call is resolved

    This might be a challenge, particularly to call centers that resolve to use internal measuring approaches. Finding out whether the consumer, the company or both determine when a resolution has occurred is the initial step in obtaining the answer to this inquiry. 

    The company should define resolution criteria specific to its sector and line of business. An assessment of the caller’s behavior is typically performed to establish if a call is resolved. For instance, if a consumer doesn’t contact back to ask a follow-up inquiry in 30 days, the conversation can be deemed resolved. 

    Determining the Calculation Method to Use

    By now, you know there are different approaches to measuring FCR rate, and there is no restriction to using any. The decision depends on the company, but according to research, external measuring is the most accurate. While most call centers are aware of this factor, it might not always be direct whether to use it.

    How to Improve your FCR

    If you calculate your call center’s First Contact Resolution rate and find it low, how will you go about the improvement process? A business can do several things to evaluate FCR metrics consistently and enhance them:

    Include A Customer Support Portal

    A portal aids in monitoring and documenting the customer support team. It is simpler to set up an integrated CRM system than manually monitor issues, calls, and messages.

    Implement Automation Technologies

    Agents can react to inquiries more quickly and accurately thanks to automation. Interactive Voice Response systems are widely used and improving as voice recognition and AI technology advance.

    Clarify Resolved

    Give specific guidelines for what constitutes a call being resolved. Every organization will have a varying definition of what constitutes a resolved call.

    Conduct Follow-Ups

    Customer satisfaction can be measured with the help of follow-ups. Even if you realize the issue has been resolved with the first call after talking to a customer, follow-ups are necessary.

    Pay Attention to the Personnel

    How your customer support team interacts with the customers on calls and emails is very important. Ensure your team has enough people to handle incoming calls and emails. Most times, customer support teams will underperform when swarmed with work. Additionally, provide the required training to ensure they are conversant with handling customer queries and concerns. Customer service agents’ training is not a one-time thing but a continuous exercise.

    First Call Resolution Best Practices

    It is easy to go astray with FCRs, but with the right guidelines, you can always get back on track. 

    Document Helpful Information

    Record solutions to typical issues consumers can encounter and avail the internal documentation. This comes in handy when clients frequently call asking the same queries. You can employ a knowledge base and frequently asked questions as part of a self-service customer support approach that makes data available to clients. 

    Show Concern

    When training your customer service agents, ensure they acquire good listening skills, as this is one way to show concern for the customer’s needs. Let them know how important it is to show understanding, no matter the type of customer they come across. Sometimes customers might call when filled with fury because perhaps a product is not working as expected. If the agents actively listen to and understand such customers, there will be a better chance of achieving FCR. 

    Respond Speedily

    If you establish a customer support portfolio, ensure the support team responds to the concerns as soon as possible. Also, pay close attention to the customer review section and assist where necessary.

    Wrapping Up

    Now that you understand what First Contact Resolutions are and their relevance, you know why you need to define, capture, analyze, measure, benchmark, and improve your call center’s FCRs. Gauging whether the customer support service provided by your company is helpful will improve your business in ways you never imagined. For more information on how we can help you analyze, calculate, monitor, and benchmark FCR, book a call with us!