Why Focusing on Voice is the Key to First Call Resolution

Call Center | 2 minute read

Voice for Higher First Call ResolutionOne of the biggest trends in customer service has been the expanding number of channels in the mix. Specifically, social media has received a huge amount of attention lately.

Not convinced? Have a look at my recent post, How Social Media is Nudging Call Centers to Get Their Act Together or Omar’s post from April, 6 Steps to The Ultimate Social Contact Center.

The New Channels Get Our Attention

In one sense, the attention is warranted because social media has a real impact on customer loyalty. The fact that all complaints are public and searchable adds a real sense of urgency to the matter. The website onholdwith.com, which Fonolo runs as a side project, shows how these public channels really amplify the customer service problems of a particular company.

Voice is Still the King

But last week, I attended a talk by analyst Keith Dawson where he poured some sobering cold water on the audience: When it comes to first call resolution, nothing touches the power of a voice conversation.

In a recent survey, Keith asked several thousand people the question: “When reaching out to customer service, through which channels have you had the most success resolving your issue on the first attempt.” In other words, he wanted to know which channel was best at delivering “first call resolution”, a metric that most call centers use as a top indicator of performance. Below are the results for folks over 50.

First Call Resolution Over 50
I know the legend can be a bit tough to decipher, so here’s the main take-away: That towering red line is “Telephone Conversation with a CSR” and it clearly blows-away all the other channels. Email is a distant second and everything else lags significantly behind.

Surprising Uniformity Across Age Groups

My first thought when seeing this was: “I’m sure a younger demographic will skew more towards the newer channels.” I was wrong. Here are all three age groups in the study:

First Call Resolution All Ages
Even for respondents under 30, the so-called “millenials”, a live voice conversation is still perceived to have better odds of solving a problem than any other channel.


If you manage a call a center, the key message in these charts is, the rise of new channels doesn’t mean voice is any less important. In fact, you need to continue optimizing the experience your agents deliver. That’s not always easy because voice is the most expensive channel and many call centers are under a lot of pressure to reduce costs.

So how can you make sure agents deliver a great caller experience and keep costs in check at the same time? The answer is to optimize the technology around your agents so that 100% of their time is spent helping callers.

That’s where adding Fonolo to your call center can help:

  • Get callers to the right agent the first time – no more internal transfers.
  • Ask the right questions before the call – your agents will resolve issues faster.
  • Get feedback from callers the moment they hang up – know which agents or processes need improvement.
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