What is First Contact Resolution?
No, it’s not a coming feature at your local cinema. First Contact Resolution (FCR) is a crucial metric for any contact centre to assess its ability to resolve customers’ questions their first call, or contact, with your agents. A good FCR result means you’re providing quality service, and keeping your operating costs down. It’s also an excellent incentive marker for your team, and can help you pinpoint any training needs they may have.
Getting a good handle on your FCR performance not only shows you how your business is performing as a customer service provider overall; it can also give you valuable insights into centre, team, and individual performance levels.
It can help you identify your own internal best practices, examine process flows and technologies, respond to any FCR challenges you’re facing, and build clear goals and development opportunities for your teams. It’s the metric that just keeps on giving.
Leading US-based management consulting firm, The Ascent Group Inc., conducts regular industry benchmarking studies that explore the different approaches businesses take to managing their FCR. They then analyse the information to identify best practices and the approaches businesses around the world are taking to implement them.
The FCR study
The 2019 study Achieving First Contact Resolution 2019, encompassed 33 companies from five industries across seven countries. Companies from the utilities industry made up two-thirds of the participants, with Tech Support, Services, Insurance, and Financial Services representing the balance. These companies came from the USA (just under 70% of respondents), Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Poland, Spain and the UK.
The majority of participants stated that they routinely measured their FCR, and told Ascent they used more than one metric to determine performance. The most common were:
- customer satisfaction surveys (external)
- call statistic calculations (internal)
- call quality monitoring (internal)
- agent-driven call logs (internal).
Ascent’s benchmarking study also revealed the following.
- A strong shift away from the more agent- and system-based means of collecting FCR performance stats, common in the early 2000s, to a more customer-driven approach that relies on continuing customer feedback.
- FCR Improvement is still a key driver of ongoing performance enhancement in these companies. They said they tied their improvement efforts into more detailed metrics, root cause analysis, process improvement.
- More than 80% of participants use FCR as a key component in managing individual, team, and centre performance, linking it in with staff performance reviews and remuneration.
- Focused internal communications help build staff awareness of how significant FCR is as a performance indicator. In addition to building awareness, participants reported including it as a key component of training and coaching.
- Measuring FCR by contact type helps companies better identify process improvement targets – the more detailed the data, the more able they are to pinpoint areas to focus on when looking for ways to improve the customer experience.
Why FCR must be reviewed with other metrics
As point 1 of the study revealed, that even though FCR is a crucial metric, a high FCR score does not necessarily correlate with high customer happiness and loyalty. Combining FCR with other customer satisfaction related metrics will give you a more complete picture of customer sentiment and behaviour. See How to Implement and Measure First Call Resolution Effectively and 5 Tips to Designing an Effective Customer Satisfaction Survey.