The call centre world is intricate and multifaceted. Hundreds to thousands of problems are queried per day, and countless operators and complex data collection systems combine to form the customer service arm of a business. Underscoring this work is the intense need for all elements to run efficiently to provide the highest possible level of customer experience and data metrics.
To ensure top productivity, business managers often turn to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to show them where they’re doing well or falling short. There are numerous KPIs that your contact centre could track, but a few outweigh the rest when it comes to the level of importance and necessity of tracing. Within a call centre setting, one of the most tracked, and most useful indicators of success, is First Call Resolution. You could be missing out on key insights if you’re not currently recording it.
What is First Call Resolution?
First Call Resolution or First Contact Resolution (FCR) refers to tracking when a customer query is resolved the first time they make contact with a business. To maximise operator time, the number of calls taken per day and customer experiences surveyed, it’s optimal to resolve problems at the time of first contact. It’s the key to distinguishing if, overall, you have a happy customer base.
According to Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report, having an issue resolved in a single interaction (no matter the length of time) was the single most important aspect of good customer service for the majority of respondents. Around 61 per cent said that they’d stopped interacting with a brand because of poor customer service, while 58 per cent indicated that the quality of customer service was important for their loyalty to the brand.
Benefits of Increasing FCR
There are multiple benefits to increasing your FCR, the first of which is amplifying time management for operators and supervisors. Once you’re at a stage where the majority of your calls are being resolved within the first contact, you can effectively optimise the number of calls you’re taking. With operators not being bogged down in repeat or return callers, they can move on to other first-time callers.
Increasing customer perception of your company is another benefit to improving FCR. With happy customers, you’ll be more likely to keep your business growing. Ensuring customer satisfaction will have a positive effect on other areas of the business. Less customer frustration will also allow you to control your online presence and customer retention rates.
How to Measure FCR
Unfortunately, there is no official method of measuring or calculating FCR. Each contact centre will have its own technique to measure FCR, which may include the removal of calls that were terminated before completion or inclusion of multiple customer service channels. Some companies opt for an end-of-call or post-call survey. Others leave it to the judgement of the operator to record whether the query was resolved.
Pointillist recommends two versions of calculation. One is to take the Total No. of Calls Resolved on 1st Attempt/Total No. of Calls Received. This option may give you a good day-to-day grasp on customer experience. The second version takes Total No. of Calls Resolved on 1st Attempt/Total No. of 1st Calls. This removes the problem of repeat calls.
Complication can arise when a business has multiple contact streams such as webchat, in-app questions, email, and phone lines, all adding to the number of total contact instances. Each business must decide which streams they will include in the metric. For example, if a company only logs 50 webchats per week but upwards of 10,000 calls, should chatbot conversations be included? This choice will depend on the business and can vary significantly between industries.
The complication can be compounded by the fact that people may cancel out of internet-based chats or messages without finishing the conversation, leading to a discrepancy in data. In order for FCR to be a useful statistic, each company must make its own rules about what will be included. However, this makes FCR hard to compare between businesses, as there’s no definitive way to measure it.
You may already be tracking FCR, but without a useful industry benchmark, it isn’t easy to know what level of customer satisfaction you should be aiming to reach. Call Centre Helper reports that the industry standard for FCR is between 70 and 75 per cent. However, they advise that due to discrepancies in measurement, this isn’t achievable for all industries. They also recommend creating a separate FCR for each of the top ten call reasons. This could provide you with an extra layer of insight into what exactly is happening on your call centre floor.
Choosing Your Criteria
TalkDesk recommends choosing foolproof criteria for what will be considered a successful FCR. For instance, do calls that are cancelled or dropped get removed from the statistic? How do you record calls from a return caller with a crossover issue? Once you’ve outlined your criteria, these standards must be communicated with the staff to ensure that everyone is appropriately recording results. An operator who is informed on a business’s goals and metrics will be a better asset to that business.
At the end of the day, FCR is a great indicator to track, and you could be missing out on key insights if you’re not currently recording it. However, with potential confusion around the measurement and recording of the metric, you’ll have to create your own guidelines. While you can compare to industry standards, this data may be best used when internally compared across days, weeks, or even years of your company’s own progress. However you record it, it will provide valuable perceptions of the direction of customer engagement within your call centre or even across multiple channels.
Ready to make improvements?
Are you looking to improve your FCR and up your customer engagement? Our experience in connecting businesses and customers across all platforms has helped countless businesses achieve their desired engagement rates. Get in touch with the experts at GSN, Australia’s leading contact centre solutions service.