What is First Call Resolution (FCR): A Complete Guide
Customer service has become a competitive aspect for all businesses. Companies, regardless of their size, are leaving no stone unturned to improve their customer service experience. FCR serves as one of the most crucial metrics in this effort. The organization’s using the Call Center Software to measure how well they handle customer calls and try to improve CX with the first call resolution. FCR allows you to quickly determine how well a caller was assisted and what happened next. Understanding who answered the call and how they handled it is essential to providing better customer service and gaining more clients.
A good FCR is a priority for businesses. According to the report published by MetricNet, an FCR of >74% is considered good, while a score below this indicates that there are significant problems to be addressed in customer support. In other words, responding to every customer complaint with satisfaction is unrealistic due to the high volume of daily calls. To gain a better understanding of this, take a look at what FCR is in a call center, how to measure it, what are the benefits of a high FCR call center and more.
What is the first call resolution (FCR)?
First Call Resolution is a parameter of the call center that helps in gauging its performance. In addition, it plays a key role in customer relationship management. The term refers to a call center’s capability to resolve customer issues on the very first call, without requiring any follow-up.
FCR provides insight into customer satisfaction and also helps in building customer loyalty. It helps in measuring your call center efficiency and thus plays a significant role in fetching profitability for your business by delivering an excellent customer service experience.
A higher FCR rate implies better customer service. To ensure optimized call center operations, every business strives to improve its FCR.
How important is FCR for businesses?
Customer Experience (CX) delivery has become the key differentiator for customers to choose a brand and be loyal to it. FCR is the most crucial call center metric that has a direct relation to a business’ CX. It measures the effectiveness of customer service and also provides valuable insights into call center efficiency. FCR is the King of call center KPIs as it affects the following areas of business:
- Operating costs
- Customer churning rate
- Employee attrition as well as satisfaction
- Net promoter score
A high FCR positively impacts all the above areas exhibiting beneficial results in business outcomes. Moreover, it accelerates referrals. How? When customers gain an excellent call resolution experience (indicated by high FCR), they are more likely to repeat purchases and recommend your business. Therefore, FCR is not just a performance accountability indicator, but also a metric that impacts other customer relationship metrics like referrals, CSAT (customer satisfaction), retention, etc.
How to measure FCR?
FCR can be calculated simply by dividing the total number of resolved cases on the first call by the total number of customer issues raised in a day.
Another alternative way to calculate FCR is by dividing the total number of resolved issues minus the number of reopened issues by the total number of calls. You can multiply it by 100 to get the percentage.
Let us simplify this by using an example:
Let’s consider a Business ABC has received a total of 1500 calls for the month of October. Out of these 1500 calls, 500 calls were resolved on the very first contact.
Following the first formula,
FCR = 500 / 1500 = 0.33
FCR rate = 0.33 * 100% = 33%
Alternatively, if you have to apply the second formula, you have to know the total number of resolved cases and the total number of reopened cases. Assuming, business ABC has 1500 calls in October and 700 resolved issues. However, 200 issues were reopened again.
FCR = (700 -200)/1500 = 0.33
FCR rate= 0.33*100%= 33%
This is just an example to help you understand how to measure FCR. Business ABC will fail to sustain if it is an actual scenario. Every business needs to have an FCR rate of at least 70% to sustain. The higher your FCR rate, the better your business will run.
Note: In the above example, FCR is the same in both cases. However, it can be different when calculated using each of the formulas.
Benefits of High FCR rate
Even after understanding what FCR is in customer service, some businesses fail to realize the upside of having a high FCR. Let’s look into the perks that businesses can achieve through an improved FCR rate.
Enhances customer retention
It is undeniable that offering excellent customer service is crucial for every business to keep its clients happy and experience revenue growth. As per a report, about 89% of customers cut-off ties with a business because of poor customer experience. Businesses must always remember that the cost of acquiring new customers is greater than retaining existing ones. Therefore, the best and cost-effective strategy to retain more customers is to help them get answers quickly. This is where high FCR comes to your aid.
Boosts agent performance
If your agents resolve customers’ issues on the first call, there are fewer chances that they will contact the business for the same issue. As a result, repeat calls are reduced thereby cutting down overall call volume. When the overall number of calls reduces, it automatically shortens the call queue. Thus, your customers don’t need to bear longer hold times. In such a scenario, agents can focus on responding to customers at a greater pace with more efficiency. Therefore, high FCR provides businesses with the advantage of agent performance enhancement.
High FCR implies greater business efficiency and improved CX. When your customers are satisfied, they are willing to pay premium prices for your services/products. Additionally, it sets out word-of-mouth leading to more referrals. Therefore, good FCR helps businesses to drive more revenue generation.
Identifies issues in workflow
FCR acts as a key performance indicator. Thus, help businesses in identifying key areas of improvement. If the FCR rate is lower than standard FCR, businesses must look into metrics like average time of call handling, the average speed of answering, average waiting time, etc. By analyzing the insights drawn from the FCR rate, businesses can improve their customer service. It also helps in understanding feature requirements for your call center software. For instance, if the FCR rate is low due to waiting time, you can integrate a multi-level IVR system to keep your customers engaged while waiting.
Contributes to customer satisfaction
Modern customers expect quick resolution when reaching out to a business. According to a survey, about 77% of customers have addressed inefficiency in customer services as a cause for detracting them from their quality of life. A good FCR helps businesses to meet customers’ expectations, thereby contributing to their satisfaction.
What are the 5 challenges in achieving a high FCR rate?
Achieving high FCR is not an easy task. The task of achieving a high FCR rate is usually hampered by a few common challenges.
Lack of accuracy in internal measurement
The first conflict that most businesses experience while measuring FCR is their own organizational policies and procedure. Internal measurement of FCR becomes inaccurate as the concept of first-call resolution is determined as per company standards. Consequently, it hinders the ability to standardize and benchmark FCR. It also leads to conflict with external data. Inaccuracies in the internal measurement of FCR become a great hindrance for businesses to improve FCR.
High agent turnover
Agent attrition is a burning concern for call centers. The top reasons for increased agent turnover are high stress and lack of career growth opportunities. It has become vital for businesses to invest in identifying training needs and providing adequate training. Moreover, adapting reliable call center software also cuts down some stress from agents’ lives.
Difficulty in handling complex problems
Not all calls are simple and direct. Agents need to handle a large volume of calls that addresses complex problems. In such cases, most agents end up clueless leading to customer frustration and agitation. Complexity in resolving difficult problems adversely impacts FCR.
Multiple call transfers
If customers are not directed to the right department or agent who can resolve their issues, FCR is hampered. Under such circumstances, the callers are kept on hold for transfer and required to repeat their concerns after every call transfer. It creates a negative customer service experience for the customers.
Longer waiting time
During seasonal spikes, the call volume increases manifold, making it difficult for any call centers to manage. With spiked call volume, the call queue also grows, leading to longer waiting times. Customers may not like to be on hold for too long and drop the call off. As a result, FCR falls drastically.
How Call Center Software Increases Business Efficiency by FCR?
The above-highlighted challenges that push down FCR can be combated with reliable call center software. How? Here are 7 ways to leverage call center software to improve FCR rate.
Implement skill-based call routing for quick resolution
Skill-based call routing elevates FCR by directing the call to the agent who has matching skills to resolve the issue. It saves time by eliminating multiple call transfers, thus, valuing customers’ time in the true sense. Moreover, when calls are directed to the right agent, it enhances the chances of issues being solved at the first contact itself.
Utilize call queue management feature to reduce waiting time
Call queue management involves three crucial functions, i.e, automatic call distribution, call routing, and analytics. Through these capabilities, it enables customers to connect with a live agent without waiting in long queues. It also cuts down the call abandonment rate. This way, it increases CSAT as well as FCR.
Identify training needs and initiate training to minimize agent attrition
It becomes a win-win situation when a company invests in training its call center agents. But how to understand what training would work best for a specific agent? Call center software comes to your aid and data analytics helps businesses identify training needs. If agents realize that the company is contributing to upskilling them, attrition will subside. Therefore, the company can have well-trained agents to attend to their customers thereby boosting the FCR rate.
Empower agents with CRM integration
Providing the right information to the agents before and during the call is essential to resolve customer issues effectively. Call center software allows CRM integration to facilitate this process. Moreover, it uses predictive analytics and customer profiling to equip agents with insights into customer preferences, behavior, sentiments, trends, etc. FCR will surely improve when agents respond to customers after being prepared with the right knowledge.
Leverage data analytics for accurate FCR
Internal measurement is a great hurdle for keeping a track record for accurate FCR. Call center software automates the process by eliminating manual intervention in recording data. The software registers all the essential data to utilize the algorithm for calculating FCR. It also ensures accuracy by doing away with human errors.
Tips to improve FCR rate
Although implementing good call center software will eliminate most of your hurdles, here are some more tried and tested tips to boost your FCR rate:
Establish clear instructions for FCR escalations
Communicating the specificity of call resolutions will help agents understand when to mark a call as a resolved issue. It will help in measuring FCR with accuracy as well as maintaining a track record of FCR across all channels. Setting the guidelines clearly helps in identifying FCR escalations.
Introduce self-service options
One of the best ways to reduce the growing pressure of calls on your agents is by implementing self-service capabilities for your call center. Chatbots, online content in the form of blogs, social media posts, newsletters, etc., and IVR systems are some of the tools that you may use. You can also utilize speech analytics to detect frequently used words on calls. These words serve as keywords and help you generate content around common customer pain points, issues, queries, etc. When customers can find the required information themselves, the workload of your agents reduces. As a result, they can focus more on solving complex problems thereby improving your FCR.
Collect feedback through surveys
After every call, whether resolved or unresolved, collect feedback through surveys. It’s essential to encourage customers to provide feedback for identifying flaws in your current system. Moreover, it’s an established fact that 77% of customers favor a brand that seeks their feedback.
Detect repeat calls through speech analytics
Every individual has a unique style of speaking but usually uses some common word. You can implement speech analytics to identify terms like “called before”, “last time I called”, “facing the same issue again”, etc. to detect repeat calls. This trick will help you calculate accurate FCR and also realize the issues that are repeating.
Identify causes of FCR push-down
Finding the common reasons for delayed resolution and repeat calls is essential to work in the direction of improving FCR. This can be done by executing post-service surveys indicating FCR, leveraging speech analytics, and marking calls that require follow-up. Using these tactics, you can easily identify the root causes of some common customer problems that are weighing down your FCR.
While call routing is a great way to accelerate customer issue resolution, it can still lead to long queues during seasonal spikes. Therefore, you can cross-train agents to serve customer queries related to other departments. Customers can still avail customer service from another agent when agents of a specific department are occupied.
Incorporate FCR techniques in training modules
FCR techniques must become an integral part of call center agent training programs. When agents are trained through such techniques, there’s a higher chance that they’ll apply their knowledge to boost your FCR. It also eliminates the hassle of multiple call transfers improving the overall customer service experience.
7 best practices to boost your FCR
- Adapt omnichannel communication to serve your customer across all channels.
- Drive actionable insights into agent-customer conversations through data analytics.
- Incorporate some feasible changes based on customer feedback.
- Track and benchmark FCR for all channels.
- Use call recordings of complex problems to train agents.
- Back up agents for difficult situations with real-time call monitoring.
- Agents should repeat the information and ask the client again.
Obliterate technical hurdles to achieve and maintain high FCR
‘First Call Resolution’ is an influential factor for increasing client retention, minimizing average handle time, reducing costs, and acquiring new clients. However, a majority of businesses do not emphasize evaluating the same. Achieving high FCR must be tracked accurately to detect the areas of improvement in your customer service. Call center software plays a significant role in achieving high FCR. If you are looking for one such solution, HoduCC is the perfect pick. HoduCC is an award-winning call center software that offers a plethora of advanced features to speed up call resolutions.