First call resolution: FCR Meaning and How to improve it at your call centre

One of the biggest overarching challenges when it comes to customer care is first-call resolution. Understanding FCR meaning and implementing best practices to raise the FCR rate can be a wonderful approach towards improving the quality of customer support services of your business. 

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What is FCR?

First call resolution, also known as first contact resolution, is a component of customer relationship management. FCR refers to instances where a client service agent can solve a problem during the first encounter with the customer.

FCR rate is thus the percentage of client concerns that are resolved during the initial call without further action, such as a follow-up call. This percentage indicates the capability of a company’s customer service responsiveness and operational effectiveness.

What do You Need For Measuring FCR?

Measuring the FCR of your business can be a simple process when you tailor it according to your business. This includes considering your internal processes such as call transfer policies, and the communication channels which you need to take into account, among other such parameters. 

For example, a business may apply FCR only to phone calls. On the other hand, another business may apply FCR to various communication channels such as chat, email, and social media platforms, which can impact the FCR rates. 

Before measuring your company’s FCR rate, consider the following:

  • Determine the communication channels you need to apply FCR to.
  • Choose the deciding factor for solving customers’ problems effectively.
  • Define the criteria for repeat calls in your business.
  • Determine whether transferring a call or a call back to the client from a different department is considered as a follow-up call.
  • Identify any internal factors that may affect the initial interaction, such as a manager’s unavailability when the call is taken.

How to Measure FCR?

FCR rate can be calculated by dividing the number of calls resolved on the first contact by the total number of calls received. FCR rates between 70% and 75% are considered as good FCR rates. However, this may vary between different industries and sectors. 

The formula for measuring FCR is as follows:

FCR = (Number of calls resolved in the initial contact) ÷ (Total number of calls) x 100 

For instance, if a call center handles 600 different calls in a single day and successfully resolves 450 client’s concerns in the very first contact, the FCR rate would be 75%  (450 divided by 600)

Why is First Call Resolution Important?

A high first-call resolution rate actively influences your operating expenses as well as customer experiences in many ways. Here are a few reasons why first-call resolution is essential:

Customer Retention

Customers today want to invest their time and money in companies that value it.  They expect businesses to successfully meet their demands while being considerate of their resources when addressing their questions or apprehensions. Poor customer service often results in a loss of brand trust, which causes customers to switch brands.

The significance of first-call resolution can thus be attributed to the fact that it increases customer’s satisfaction with their interactions with your business. Therefore, addressing the pain points of customers during the first contact may encourage recurring business and aid in the growth of your business. 

Convert Dissatisfied Clients to Content Customers

When you have a customer reaching out to express their discontent with a service or a product, you must act quickly and make sure that their issue is resolved as soon as possible. The customer will feel valued and heard by the company as a result. Customers will consequently be more likely to overlook their unfortunate experience if you can quickly resolve their problems without making them exert any further effort.  

Increased Productivity of Support Agents

Your customer support staff will have to deal with fewer follow-up inbound and outbound calls if a customer’s concern is addressed during the first interaction. Thus, it will give your customer service representatives more time to devote to complex inquiries and boost up their productivity. 

Cut Operational Costs 

Operational costs are significantly reduced as a result of the sharp decline in recurrent communication that occurs with an increase in FCR. This cutback will thus increase operational capabilities and will ease the expenses imposed by call spikes.

8 Tips to Improve your FCR 

Numerous elements can help in increasing the FCR percentage of your organisation. Explore the actionable measures you can enforce to steadily boost the first call resolution rate for your business. 

Develop an Action Plan

To determine the benchmark FCR and other performance targets, do a present operation analysis. Analyse performances, and targets, as well as address unfulfilled agent goals. Following this, work collaboratively with agents from all functional areas to define future customer care goals and outcomes you want for client support.

Determine the Underlying Reason

Check to discover if the same few problems consistently appear in customer service inquiries that frequently demand more help. Low FCR is, more often than not, an outcome of inadequate policies, knowledge gaps, and inefficient technology or organisational processes. If you want to improve your FCR rate, you must take the necessary procedures to identify and fix the most common customer issues.

Provide Sufficient and Accurate information

If your agents have precise and thorough information about the issues your customers are encountering, they will have a higher chance of figuring out the solutions they need to provide a quick and efficient solution. Encourage your customer service employees to use numerous resources at their disposal to assist them in finding answers to diverse customer demands.

Invest in customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, which compile crucial client data, including service history, in a single location. Employees will have immediate access to relevant information to resolve different service requests swiftly and correctly.

Incorporate a Self-service Support Menu

Despite your best efforts and the volume of support staff you recruit, it is always best to include self-service options to help clients locate answers to often-posed questions. Using multiple channels for customer care gives the client an integrated experience to address their query or issue.

It further allows customers to continue where they left off the last time, rather than having your representatives start over from scratch. Self-help Omnichannel interfaces not only empower your clients and relieve a considerable amount of stress off your representatives, but it also assists in boosting the productivity of your support personnel. 

Implement Training and Recognition Programmes 

Your customer service representatives will only be able to adequately help customers if they are conversant with the numerous products or services offered by your company. For your customer care employees to address clients’ difficulties during the initial call, ensure that they are properly trained and informed of all your business processes. Additionally, keep them notified about any pricing changes, recently added marketing campaigns, products, or services, as well as other business updates.

An effective agent incentive program can further help management in motivating agents to deliver the best customer care resolution and in recognising top call resolution performers in the organisation.

Conduct Surveys

Another efficient way to track and improve the FCR rate of your company’s customer service department is to solicit client feedback via follow-up calls or emails. Utilise speech analytics and CRM to analyse and evaluate agent interactions that require repeat engagement. By employing these tools, you’ll be able to gauge how pleased your clients are with the support they received.

Employ Clear Communication

Make sure your customers aren’t left to guess anything once the call has been concluded. Ensure your agents clear all additional inquiries or concerns they may have once the initial issue has been resolved. If you provide them with unclear or confusing instructions or insufficient solutions, they are likely to get in touch again.

Therefore, being extremely detailed will help you to give your customers all the required data and help they need. Before your representatives end the call with your customers, make sure they double-check that they have covered all the issues on the list of concerns to discuss. 

Skill-based Call Routing

Different customer issues must be categorised according to the different kinds of assistance required, which can then be followed by skill-based route optimisation. For instance, frontline staff members can focus on dealing with straightforward issues, while technical agents can tackle complex tech queries, and finance agents can cover monetary matters. 

First-call resolution is an ongoing practice. Once you’ve uncovered FCR meaning and how it affects your business, you must closely watch the interactions between your agents and the clients and make adjustments as needed. With the right resources and information, you can raise FCR rates, keep your customers satisfied, and boost your revenue. Adapting FCR best practices is an excellent place to start to streamline your business processes and resolve customer queries in the first encounter.

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