First Call Resolution (FCR): The holy grail of KPIs

Author: Karen Wenborn

Date: 21st May 2013

In this article, Karen Wenborn, shares her thoughts on one of the most important measures in the contact centre.

Let’s start with a definition. This is one of many definitions available from a variety of sources, but for today, let’s stick to this one.

First call resolution (FCR) performance is the percentage of customers who achieved resolution in one contact.

Seems simple and straightforward, doesn’t it? Until we talk about the delivery or measurement of FCR.

Given that we all aspire to provide a seamless customer experience and (hopefully) delight, or at the very least, satisfy our customers’ requirements in a single contact has to be viewed as a positive. Reducing customer effort also reduces our costs, which is definitely a ‘win-win’ outcome.

So how do we define success? Or measure achievement versus our objective? And anyway, how much does FCR matter?

Well, the Convergys UK Customer Scorecard shows that for 65% of those surveyed, first call resolution was the most important factor in customer satisfaction.

In the old (single stream of contact, usually telephony) days, your automated call distributor (ACD) could tell you how many of your inbound calls, within a defined timescale, were repeat calls. This wasn’t sophisticated, but gave us a rough measure.

In these days of omni-channel contact options that simple metric can only give us a partial view. Our customers can email, write a letter, fax (yes, that still happens!), call us or use any of the social media options available or any permutation of these.

The obvious answer is to implement CRM/CEM/Single Customer View technology that will accurately record and report on any and all contacts from a specific customer within a given time frame.

This would be ideal and this should certainly be at the forefront of our plans for the future, but cost plus time investment means that for most this is not an instant magic bullet.

So in the meantime, what do we do?

We work smarter. We map the customer touch points; collate the data we have available from all contact channels and work out (albeit roughly) just how much effort our customers have had to expend reaching a resolution. And we set out to reduce that effort.

Let’s start with telephony, still the channel of choice for the majority of our customers.

We know that if a customer contacts us by telephone the expectation is that we can resolve the issue, answer the query or otherwise deliver the goods there and then. So we need to empower our people to do just that.

We give clear guidelines, of course. Our training provides the skills they need; our Knowledge Base backs that up. We have our staffing levels right so that callers are not obliged to hold and then abandon (and then call back, email or Tweet).

Our people inspire confidence. They take ownership. They deliver.

Research over the years has shown that a high proportion of repeat contacts are made because the customer simply wasn’t confident that an advisor would deliver on the promised action.

Which leads me to my second point. We keep our promises. If we do, for whatever reason, have to call back, we do it in the given timescale. If delivery dates or response times have to change, we are proactive. We contact the customer and tell them.

We have the technology to keep our customers informed. We can SMS, email or phone to provide updates. And when we fail to do this, the customer calls back.

When closing the call we introduce an element of customer education. When we’ve resolved an issue, we always explain to the customer how they can access information or support in the future, be that via our website, You Tube or any other available channel.

Ideally, we immediately follow up the call with an email to confirm the resolution and any future action. And we include the self-care links.

Then we re-examine our data and measure the improvement! The next step is to examine first call resolution across our other channels and to use VOC and NPS as a further measurement of success.


Share this
email this page to a friend print this page