How would you feel if your service query was resolved in 5 days instead of 1 or 2? Wouldn’t it be frustrating to follow up with customer support instead of the support team resolving your issue?
Like most people, you’ll feel angry. And that also means your call wasn’t resolved in the first go.
First call resolution or first contact resolution is a perfect indicator of a contact center’s performance and helps assess emphasis on customer experience. Contact centers worldwide try to improve their first call resolution rate by making efforts to resolve customer queries in the first conversation.
We’ve created a list of practical tips to help you improve your first call resolution rate.
But first, let's quickly understand first-call resolution, the FCR formula, and its significance in call centers.
What is the first call resolution?
First call resolution refers to a customer resolving all their problems in a single call without waiting for a follow-up. It is often abbreviated to FCR.
However, we all know not all customer queries can be resolved in the first call. Certain situations require more investigation before reaching a resolution.
Despite being unable to resolve all interactions in first contact, call centers try to keep their customers happy by resolving their problems as soon as possible.
First-call resolution is often used interchangeably with first-contact resolution. It might seem they're the same, considering that both have the same abbreviation - FCR.
Both these terms differ only by a slight nuance.
In today's world of omnichannel contact centers, customers use different support channels. In such an environment, first contact resolution is the correct term, as it covers interactions across all customer touchpoints.
Despite these slight differences, both first call and first contact resolution can be increased using the same methods.
Now, moving on to the more critical First call resolution formula and calculation.
How do you calculate first call resolution or FCR rate?
The first call resolution formula
The first contact resolution rate is calculated in percentage. There’s a simple formula for the same.
For example, if a support team resolved 935 queries in a month, out of which 237 were fixed in the first contact. In that case, the team's FCR rate would be 25.34%, (237/935) x 100.
Apart from calculating to understand the performance of the contact center, FCR is a true indicator of an agent’s performance.
What is a good first contact resolution or FCR rate?
A study by the SQM group that measured benchmarks of more than 500 North American call centers found that;
Every industry has to deal with specific customer queries that take some time to resolve. Situations like refunds require a few days of processing that will keep businesses from reaching a 100% FCR rate. Hence, the first call resolution industry-standard can’t be the same for all industries.
Results first, payment later.
How to improve the first contact resolution rate?
There are several ways to improve the first contact resolution rate in a call center.
Let's look at some of these tried and tested tips to increase first contact resolutions.
1. Evaluate customer experience delivery
Call centers create experience delivery strategies after intense planning. These plans should be constantly re-evaluated instead of kept stagnant.
Any customer experience plan should be made by considering current customer trends. This helps agents be more empathetic, relate with customers, and not act like machines.
Constant evaluation allows you to understand what is working and what isn't.
A seamless experience delivery plan can be made only when a customer is treated as the king. Instead of planning for the customer's scenario when requesting support, the entire customer journey must be considered.
2. Comprehensive agent training
Agents should be trained to handle most customer problems. This helps to ensure that agents can handle most calls that come their way and resolve calls at the first contact.
Having such a rigorous method to train agents in their onboarding phase will allow them to be well-versed in all calls that come their way. Apart from agents who are onboarded, every agent should be trained to improve their delivery experience.
Automated coaching tools help agents learn faster and polish their first call resolution skills. These tools assign conversations with high scores so other agents know what to do to get better.
3. Omnichannel customer engagement
Customers demand more than one touchpoint to search for their resolution. As a modern organization, you must offer an omnichannel contact center.
But how would you ensure the first call resolution script and phrases are being adhered to?
Conversation auditing on all channels, such as chats, calls, and emails, can ensure that agents meet the requirements even when unsupervised.
Moreover, auditing locates the blocker, stopping the agent from achieving high FCR rates. Managers and coaches can take appropriate action accordingly.
4. Updating agent product knowledge
Agents shouldn't be trained only during their initial onboarding process. Call centers should train agents whenever any change occurs in the products and services offered by the organization.
An agent unaware of the latest product will nurture unhappy customers on each call compared to agents well-informed of the updates.
Agent training should happen whenever an agent joins the contact center to keep them updated. While training isn't needed in all cases, every call center agent should have access to a thorough knowledge base.
Real-time Agent Assist solves knowledge gaps and prompts agents on live calls.
5. Customer feedback collection
Since customer satisfaction scores are highly dependent on first call resolution, frequent assessments are needed to understand how customers feel. Customer feedback is a crucial aspect of increasing first contact resolution.
Customer feedback can help understand what is working and what isn't. This helps in optimizing the customer experience delivery.
Such optimizations increase the contact center's ability to resolve customer queries in the first contact.
6. Investment in Right Tools
Do you remember how Harry Potter took much time to find the perfect wand at Ollivanders?
That should exactly be how you pick the right software for your call center.
With futuristic features like advanced customer relationship management tools and customer intelligence available in the market, research should be done before choosing one.
A product demo can also help you decide what you want to choose.
7. Self-Service Options
Many customers prefer self-service options when it comes to resolving their queries.
They prefer contacting support channels only when self-service channels fail to deliver or when the query is too complicated.
Every call center must have its self-service channel that caters to simple queries and is easy to navigate. This allows agents to focus on complicated questions that need their attention and resolve them in the first call.
8. Intelligent Call Routing
Sometimes, calls get escalated or transferred to a different agent because the call was directed to an agent unaware of the specific kind of query.
Apart from merely routing calls department-wise, calls should also be routed based on the type of query a customer is calling with.
For instance, would you direct a customer calling about a payment failure to the collections team? You would direct it to someone in the support team.
Similarly, calls should be routed intelligently based on the customer's requirements.
Understanding the customer's query using interactive voice response can help identify which agent the call should be directed to.
9. Incentivize good performance
Since first call resolution is a crucial metric to assess agent performance, agents should be incentivized to maintain a great FCR rate.
Agents who have an excellent first call resolution rate could be incentivized in their paychecks.
Such gestures can go a long way to inspire agents to attain and maintain an excellent first call resolution rate.
10. Are you tracking the first contact resolution rate?
Lastly, companies that don’t track FCR rates shouldn’t be reading first call resolution strategies and tips. The most common mistake is not tracking FCR and other call center metrics.
With clarity on the numbers, problem identification can happen.
Why is first call resolution important in a contact center?
Apart from being a metric that can be used to assess agent performance, first call resolution also impacts contact center operations in many ways.
Let’s understand how first-contact resolution impacts a call center.
1. Evaluate customer satisfaction
“Every 1% increase in FCR increases the brand's customer satisfaction by 1%”- SQM Group
Every customer wants to have their queries solved as soon as possible. Customers leave on a happy note when questions are resolved in the first customer interaction.
Increasing the first call resolution rate allows call centers to elevate customer satisfaction scores.
2. Assess agent performance
The correlation between first contact resolution and keeping customers satisfied makes it a key performance indicator in assessing agent performance.
While several other metrics can be used to evaluate agent performance, FCR stands out. It managers understand how well agents handle customer interactions.
The prevalence of first call resolution in assessing an agent's performance depends on which industry the organization belongs to.
For example, FCR is highly crucial for fast-moving industries, while it takes a back seat in industries like insurtech, where processing takes time.
3. Easier to Retain Customers
A study by the SQM group found that a 1% increase in FCR increases the brand's Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 1.4. If someone promotes your brand, they're willing to continue being your customer.
This implies that brands with higher first contact resolution rates face lower customer churn.
4. Reduce operational costs
A Forrester study on FCR and operating costs found that
A good first contact resolution reduces a brand's operating costs by retaining customers and lowering customer acquisition costs.
Customers tend to talk about brands that meet their expectations. This means improvement in first call resolutions can meet customer expectations. Consequently, it helps reduce the brand's customer acquisition costs while increasing customer retention.
Find out more information on Convin pricing here.
First call resolution tips for better customer experience
First contact resolution is critical to assess and evaluate call center performance. Metrics like customer satisfaction and net promoter scores heavily depend on the first contact resolution rate.
There are multiple ways to increase first contact resolution. Some include comprehensively training agents, collecting customer feedback, and investing in the right tool. Let’s not forget the inclusion of Gen AI in all contact center areas.
The best way to ensure better FCR rates while keeping an eye on your contact center operations is by using call monitoring software.
So, choose the best call monitoring software to elevate agent performance and improve the FCR rate.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is First Call Resolution?
First call resolution (FCR) refers to customers having their queries resolved in the first call to the call center. Agents should ensure that the customer should be satisfied within the same call.
2. Why is First Call Resolution Important in a Call Center?
First call resolution is a crucial metric for assessing agent performance. Studies have also shown that higher FCR rates lead to better customer satisfaction and net promoter scores.
3. How do I improve FCR rates?
First contact resolution can be improved by ensuring agents can handle all customer queries. Other improving first call resolution methods include collecting customer feedback and investing in the right technology.
Read the blog to learn about 10 practical and effective ways to improve FCR rates.
4. What is an example of first call resolution?
A customer calls a support team with a billing inquiry. The support agent listens to the customer's concerns. The agent quickly accesses the account information, addresses the issue correctly, and provides a satisfactory resolution, all within the same call.