How to Improve FCR (First Contact Resolution) in a Call or Contact Centre

How efficient is your call or contact centre? First contact resolution can be a vital metric for finding out…

With several KPIs to focus on in customer relationship management (CRM), it can be difficult to pick up on the ones that matter most. But when you think about your goals, improving your first contact resolution should sit high on your priority list if improved efficiency and customer satisfaction are focus points for the business.

First contact resolution is one of the most common metrics calculated, measured, and tracked by businesses with call or contact centres.

So, what is this metric, why is it so important, and how can we measure and improve upon it? Let’s dive straight in…

What is FCR?

 The official definition of first contact resolution – or FCR – is that it represents a percentage measure of a contact or call centre’s success rate in answering customer queries the first time around.

Essentially, this means customer needs are resolved in the first contact with a business without requiring a follow-up. First contact resolution is – first and foremost – a customer experience metric.

The higher a business’s FCR percentage, the higher its success rate in solving customer queries in the first instance. A lower FCR percentage could indicate less success in this area.

First contact resolution can often be confused with first call resolution, although this is slightly different. First call resolution only involves phone calls, while FCR involves all channels, including chats, texts, emails, social media, and any other support avenues or help desk communications offered.

Why is FCR an important metric?

There are several reasons why FCR is an important metric. Explore all the main ones below…

Measures efficiency

FCR is often viewed as one of the best measures of contact or call centre efficiency. It can assess advisor efficiency alongside the processes and technology sitting behind them.

The magic happens when FCR is used in combination with average handling time (AHT). By splitting the metrics across your most common contact reasons, they can be used to highlight the most inefficient customer journeys. AHT accounts for the entire process, from call initiation to the end of a call.

It’s also considered to be better than using average talk time (ATT). The first downfall of the ATT metric is that it only accounts for time spent talking to a customer service agent. Instead, FCR looks at the bigger picture by incorporating all channels and the total handling time.

The second is that lowering talk time in customer interactions can encourage negative behaviours from agents. While it might look good on the surface, average talk time could actually lead to lower response quality as agents might rush to end contact. While average talk time might be low, this doesn’t necessarily indicate higher customer satisfaction levels.

The key metric for measuring CX

One of the top reasons for measuring FCR is that it’s a key metric for customer experience (CX). It can provide helpful insight into how to improve CX since it demonstrates how often your customer service team can resolve customer issues in the very first contact.

FCR can also drive other key metrics, such as customer satisfaction rate (CSAT), which can help your business measure your customer experience strategy success.

Gnatta computer image

Can highlight the most inefficient customer journeys

As mentioned earlier, FCR can be used in combination with average handling time (AHT) to highlight the most inefficient customer journeys if you split the metrics across your most common contact reasons.

Between the percentage of how many customer issues you resolve in one response, and the average amount of time spent handling those customer interactions, businesses should be able to work out where time is being spent most efficiently.

Therefore, it will highlight areas of the customer journey that may require more handling time or take more than one contact to be resolved.

For example, if average handling time is high for issues around shipping for an e-commerce retailer and the first contact resolution rate is low for similar issues, then it could highlight shipping as a problem area within the customer journey.

First contact resolution formula

Calculating the percentage measure of FCR is a relatively straightforward process. The steps below will guide you through the process.

Firstly, divide the number of resolved incidents on first contact by the total number of incidents during a pre-determined period. Then multiply your answer by 100 to find your FCR percentage. It’s as simple as that!

The formula would look like this for reference…

Gnatta FCR calculation

For example, if your call or contact centres resolved 100 incidents out of 200 total incidents during six months, then your first contact resolution percentage would be 50%.

How to calculate and measure FCR

Sourcing the data for your calculation can often be the most challenging aspect since it can be difficult to track the number of resolved incidents.

For example, a customer might contact a support channel because their parcel appears to be lost or stolen, which the agent, AI chatbot, or IVR would resolve by issuing a refund or replacement. However, the issue might open up again a few days later if their refund or replacement isn’t received.

Therefore, having a clear measurement for resolved incidents and the total number of incidents is crucial if you’re searching for a way to accurately and efficiently calculate the FCR.

Before delving into your first contact resolution rate, you’ll first need to identify how long to give customers to come back and reopen the issue. By doing this, you’ll be able to decide what constitutes a repeat contact resolution and a first contact resolution. It’s also important to remember that a customer might be contacting you within this timeframe but for a separate issue, and this distinction should be noted.

How to improve FCR

Industry-standard is often referred to as being around to 65-75% mark. However, businesses have different processes, people, and technology involved. A good percentage for one business might indicate a low-performance rate for another.

The better your FCR percentage, the more likely you are to live up to customer expectations, regardless of how well your call or contact centres are currently performing. So, how can you improve yours?

Find out below…

Identify and solve common pain points

Determining repeat contact drivers can provide a great first step to help you overcome the most common customer pain points in your customer service journey.

For example, if you identify that your customers often feel like they hit a dead end with communication, you could resolve this by implementing better avenues for further assistance or improving detail on landing pages.

The more customer pain points you can identify and resolve, the more likely you are to be able to resolve concerns and issues within first contact.

Automate common issues

Automating common issues can also help those within your call and contact centres to resolve issues efficiently.

Implementing software such as IVR and AI chatbots and investing money and resources behind it can ensure businesses in any sector can provide their customers with the right information and tools. Automation also means your agents’ time is better spent as they can use their time to respond to more complex issues.

The golden rule is that the better the initial contact is, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to resolve customer issues within a single contact without the need for a follow-up.

problem solving

Adopt a fully omnichannel system

Implementing a fully omnichannel system to track all three contacts (across three channels) in one interaction can make the job of your customer advisors easier.

Omnichannel solutions can unify all contact between you and your customers and bring it all under one interaction. Regardless of where your customers choose to contact you, the system will be able to easily track the responses, reduce contact and boost your FCR. It will also ensure your customers can contact you using the best method for them, which can in turn boost CSAT.

Invest in the people within your call/contact centre

If the people working in your call or contact centre don’t feel equipped to deal with the concerns and enquiries of customers, then you risk lowering the likelihood that they’ll be able to resolve issues in the first instance.

However, advisors could benefit from increased empowerment if you can convince management that investment into your call and contact centres is worthwhile. By doing so, budgets can be increased for training and software.

In turn, your advisors will be more confident in handling customer concerns and queries, which should lower FCR in a customer-friendly way.

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