A Complete Guide to First Call Resolution: What It Is and Why It’s So Important

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Anyone who has a job in a call center has no doubt come across the term “first call resolution” before. However, you might not be entirely clear on the meaning of the term. In fact, first call resolution (FCR) is an absolutely vital principle in the customer service industry.

We will talk about the meaning of first call resolution and why it’s such a highly valued metric. Additionally, we’ll explain how to improve first call resolution rates so that you can make sure your firm is performing at peak efficiency.

What Is First Call Resolution (FCR)?

What is first call resolution in call centers? Simply put, FCR is a way of quantifying how well your agents sort out customer queries and concerns during their initial conversation with them over the phone. At omnichannel contact centers, FCR may refer more broadly to other modes of communication.

Agents who are able to attain an excellent FCR rate are knowledgeable, diligent employees, dedicated to offering standout customer service to every customer. The better a business’s first call resolution rate is, the better its customer satisfaction (CSAT) score will be.

The First Call Resolution Formula

First call resolution might appear relatively straightforward. In actuality, it is a tricky KPI to assess.

To make things easier, call centers work out their first call resolution rate with the help of a special equation. We’ll explain what this equation is and how to use it and will also discuss internal and external FCR rate calculations and how they differ from one another.
How To Calculate First Call Resolution Rate
The FCR resolution rate formula is expressed as:

FCR = (Queries Resolved in the First Call / Total Queries Handled By Agents) x 100.
To check your FCR rate, take the number of queries settled during the customer’s first call and divide this figure by the number of customer queries handled by your agents. Take this figure and multiply it by one hundred. The resulting score, expressed as a percentage, is your company’s FCR score.
Internal First Call Resolution Rate
Internal FCR rate calculation measures FCR using internal metrics. This means that internal first call resolution rate calculations are not held to the same standard and thus should not be compared.

Internal calculations are based on whether the customer made another call within a month of the first conversation. It is measured using CRM, QA, and other customer support instruments.
External First Call Resolution Rate
External FCR rate calculations are generated with standardized measurement techniques. This means that external FCR rates are more suitable for comparison between multiple call centers.

External FCR rates are most often assessed through customer surveys. Alternatively, an agent may inquire as to whether or not the customer feels their problem has been sorted at the end of the exchange. External FCR rate calculations are especially valuable since customers can provide feedback on whether their problem was sorted out the first time.

What FCR Rate Should You Aim For?

Once you have figured out your business’ first call resolution rate, how can you determine if it is satisfactory or not? The majority of people agree that the FCR rate businesses should aim for is between 70-75%.

If you can raise your FCR rate even further, that’s fantastic! But ensure this doesn’t come at the expense of raising your call center’s other vital KPIs, such as the average handle time. This drop in efficiency would negate the multiple benefits of achieving a standout FCR rate.

Why Is First Call Resolution Important?

Having explained first call resolution and how customer service workers calculate this essential figure, we will explain why FCR is so crucial to begin with. There are a few reasons:
  • Increased customer retention
    If a customer gets in touch with your call center with a problem, their hope is to have that issue resolved as quickly as possible. If you’re able to deliver first time issue resolution, there is an increased likelihood that the customer will stay loyal to your company.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction
    Likewise, if an agent is able to provide a customer with useful solutions to their issues during their first conversation, the customer is more likely to feel pleased with your services and will probably leave you a good review.
  • It’s cost-effective
    As your team members become more efficient, they’ll be able to get through more customer calls. This provides a great boost to your business’ cost efficiency.

How Do Companies Measure First Call Resolution?

The technique you use to appraise FCR largely depends on your business and its needs. In particular, you should consider:
  • The various communication channels you use. If you take an omnichannel approach, do you apply FCR to other modes of communication besides phone calls?

  • What counts as a repeat call. For instance, would you consider a callback or issue escalation?

  • Whether or not abandoned calls count. If the customer abandons the call before they’re put through to an agent because they’re fed up with waiting on the phone, does this impact the first call resolution rate?

These are just a few examples to demonstrate the way FCR rate measurements can vary between businesses.

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First Call Resolution Best Practices

To optimize your business’ first call resolution rate, there are some essential best practices you should adopt. In this section, we break down some of the most important ones.
1. Monitor Call Analytics

You won’t be able to improve your FCR without knowing how to monitor it. Using a comprehensive analytics platform, such as the one offered through Selmo, will enable you to keep track of all the most crucial KPIs. With our software, you can monitor how your agents deal with customer problems, enabling you to target any issues as they arise.
2. Use High-Quality Call Center Tech

Using quality software makes all the difference when running a customer service contact center. Forwarding, CRM, and KPI management—with these tools, you are better equipped to deliver an excellent customer experience. And, as we all know, high customer satisfaction results in thriving businesses.
3. Give Your Employees the Tools They Need

If your agents are to perform well within their roles, they should have access to all the tools and information necessary to handle customer issues. An easily navigable desktop will help agents maximize their performance while having access to a fully integrated customer relationship management system will mean they’re always armed with knowledge.

To ensure your agents are saying the right things during first-time calls, you can also use scripts to guide the flow of conversation. This is one of the many features offered by Selmo to help you boost your efficiency.
4. Implement Effective Training Programs

People aren’t just born being stellar customer service agents. In order to perform efficiently, your employees will need your complete support in the form of well-structured, rigorous training programs. Use analytics to identify areas for improvement so that you can provide your agents with targeted customer service training.
5. Always Be Improving

Our last piece of advice is to always be improving and refining your FCR. Even if you successfully achieve high rates, don’t stop striving to better your performance.

Tips for First Call Resolution Improvement

Now that we’ve covered a handful of FCR best practices, we’ll now provide you with some helpful first call resolution tips to help a business boost its FCR rate.
Closely Monitor the First Call Resolution Rate
The first step toward increasing your first call resolution rate is actively tracking its progress. By keeping an eye on your team’s performance, you’ll be able to provide your agents with the support necessary to boost their efficiency.
Determine the Reasons Behind Your Low FCR Rate
If you notice that your team is receiving a high volume of return calls, your next step should be to determine the reasons why by examining individual first call resolution rates. For even more insight, you might consider using Selmo’s speech analytics tool. By going through call recordings, you can isolate problematic patterns in your agents’ customer service approach.
Identify the Areas You Can Improve
Once you’ve determined the reason why your FCR rate is unsatisfactory, you can then work on identifying areas for improvement. By using analytics, you can quickly discover areas of weakness in your customer support team, which you can then target via training and coaching programs.
Implement Your Plan of Action
Having identified the areas for improvement, you will then be in a better position to determine how you’ll go about addressing the problems and boosting your FCR rate. For example, if your research has revealed that your agents are lacking in knowledge in a particular area of your business, you can plan for training programs on that subject to refresh their memory.
Work Towards a Clear Goal
When putting together your action plan to improve your FCR rate, make sure that you have a goal in mind. Working towards a clear objective will make it much easier for your agents to work on themselves and become better employees.
Final Thoughts on FCR
If there’s one thing we’d like for our readers to take away from this article, it’s this: you can’t permanently improve your first call resolution rate with one quick, easy fix. Rather, your business’ first call resolution rate is something you should continue to work on, even once a satisfactory rate has been achieved.

To find out more about how Selmo can help you get a better first call resolution rate and boost customer satisfaction, reach out today for a free consultation with one of our specialists.

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