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First contact resolution rate

What is a first contact resolution rate?

First contact resolution rate (FCR) is an important factor when it comes to improving customer service efficiency and customer satisfaction. It is a part of the key performance indicators (KPIs). FCR metric measures the number of customer queries that are resolved on the first interaction. If customer issues can be resolved upon the first contact, it eliminates the need for either the customer service team or the client to follow up.

How to calculate a first time resolution rate?

The easiest way to calculate the first contact resolution rate is to divide the total number of resolved cases on the first outreach by the total number of received cases during the given period (can be calculated daily, weekly, monthly, etc.).

The FCR contact center metric uses the following formula:

FCR = (Cases resolved on first contact / Total number of cases) x 100%

Although, using this calculation method doesn’t measure your FCR performance perfectly. There are many components that go into tracking your FCR. For further measuring, you can use various data-gathering methods to determine whether the customer requests were truly resolved on the first interaction.

Among internal measurement methods, you can track repeated customer contacts regarding issues that have been previously declared as resolved. However, you need to precisely define the time duration you want to track.

A better way of measuring your FCR is to gather customer feedback. You can use the post-call survey method, a follow-up email, or various other feedback forms.

Gathering customer feedback illustration

What is a good first contact resolution rate?

Industry standards for satisfactory FCR are around 65-75%. In general, FCR rates close to 90% are considered high, while 40% are considered low.

Keep in mind that having below 65% FCR doesn’t necessarily mean that your customer centers performance is not up to par.

It greatly depends on the type of business you operate and the complexity of your product or service.

For example, e-commerce companies have usually a shorter average handle time than businesses that offer complex technical products. Your internal processes are also an important element that affects FCR. What is your process of ticket resolution? Do you offer support out of your business hours? Do you have reliable ticketing software in place so no cases are left unattended?

There is no one size fits all way to determine whether your FCR is good or bad. Remember, the most important factor is the customer experience. Of course, customers prefer having their issues resolved on the first contact, but that is not always possible. As a rule of thumb, the better your customer support experience, the more loyal your customers will be.

First contact resolution rate

Benefits of first contact resolution

FCR has a direct impact on how well your business performs in the market. Some of the benefits of keeping an eye on your FCR include:

  • improved customer satisfaction – your clients prefer a one-touch resolution to their inquiries
  • improved employee satisfaction – having a thorough understanding of your FCR enables you to recognize training needs your contact center agents might have
  • better customer retention – the better experience your customers have with your business, the more loyal they will be in the future
  • reduced operational costs – improved FCR translates to a reduction of the customer support costs

Challenges of first contact resolution

When trying to improve the FCR, businesses often struggle with many challenges. The first is that the process of collecting data to accurately measure FCR is not always straightforward. How exactly do you define a ‘resolved’ customer inquiry? This all depends on your definitions and business practices.

Another common issue is that connecting contacts can be difficult. If your customer contacts you always from a single phone number, you can easily identify them. But what if they send you a few email inquiries followed by a chat session and a phone conversation? The easiest way to keep track of your customer interactions is to use reliable CRM software. It allows you to store all the customer data and later analyze them.

live-chat-benefits-CRM-LiveAgent

Furthermore, the lack of agent authority can become a significant issue if left unchecked. Your agents should be able to resolve customer queries without escalation. Having the authority to provide a discount or a coupon to your clients not only enhances agents’ confidence in their job but also improves the FCR rate of your contact center.

What affects first contact resolution

There are many factors that affect your FCR score ranging from your agent training to the live chat software you use to handle customer issues.

Let’s have a look at the most significant ones:

  • complexity – As we have already stated, the complexity of your products and services greatly affects the time that needs to be spent on customer support.
  • tools and access to information – Having a reliable contact center software as well as an accessible internal knowledge base greatly enhances your agents’ efficiency.
  • self-service option – Many tech-savvy customers prefer to resolve their issues without contacting support.
  • choice of the channel – A live chat conversation can lead to a quicker resolution than for example a ticket created through a contact form. However, LiveAgent helpdesk software offers a universal inbox that enables you to access all the customer messages from one place.
  • routing system – In a call center environment routing systems like ACDs and IVRs determine which calls are directed to each agent or department.
Interactive Voice Response - IVR - In LiveAgent
  • company policies and procedures – If company policies hinder the agent’s ability to resolve customer inquiries on the initial contact, it can negatively affect the FCR rate.
  • agent knowledge and training – All the support agents should be informed about new campaigns, features, as well as any bugs. This way they will be ready to handle all the issues at hand. Furthermore, ensure adequate agent training to improve their ability to meet customer expectations.
  • type of interaction – Basic inquiries like billing questions, refunds, etc. are more likely to be resolved on the first contact than for example complex technical issues.
Interaction with customer illustration

Improvement of first contact resolution

Now that you know what affects FCR, let’s have a look at how you can improve this metric for your business.

  • clearly set your FCR goals
  • choose a robust and reliable helpdesk software solution – Employ a solution that integrates CRM, live chat support, and others according to your business goals (for example, LiveAgent).
  • create an accessible knowledge base – Make sure your agents have all the information they need to provide the best support possible.
  • empower your customers – Enable your clients to resolve their own issues without the need to contact you.
Customer portal software - LiveAgent
  • monitor your customers’ journeys – Develop customer profiles and track their journeys through the sales funnel.
  • motivate your staff – When agents are eager to assist your clients, it improves various KPIs.
  • monitor your agents’ performance – Carry out frequent audits to review the performance of your employees.
Performance report in Customer support software - LiveAgent
  • gather customer feedback – This provides insights into why your customers come back for more assistance.

Improve your customer service

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Frequently asked questions

What does the first contact resolution rate mean in a call center?

FCR is one of the metrics that allow you to assess the performance of your call center. It measures the number of support calls that are resolved during the first customer contact without follow-ups or escalations.

How is the first contact resolution rate calculated in customer service?

To calculate your FCR, divide the total number of resolved customer requests on the first contact by the total number of requests you have received in a given period. The basic formula is as follows: FCR = (Cases resolved on first contact / Total number of cases) x 100% Don’t forget that there is more that goes into tracking your FCR. While having a general understanding of how to calculate it is fairly important, keep in mind that there are multiple internal and external methods used to track FCR rates. The most reliable way to learn about your FCR and therefore customer satisfaction is to ask the customers for feedback any chance you have.  

What is a good first contact resolution rate?

Industry standards for a good first contact resolution rate are 65-75%. Generally speaking the higher your FCR rates, the better. Rates close to 90% are considered high, while 40% are regarded as low.  Although, keep in mind that FCR rates greatly differ across support teams and businesses. Factors like the complexity of the product, number of customers, and budget allocated to customer support are crucial and you need to take them into the account.

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