What is First Call Resolution in Call Center Metrics?

Call Center | 5 minute read

Still getting to grips with call center metrics and which ones are the most important?

This blog will teach you what FCR is, the difference between First Call Resolution and First Contact Resolution, and everything about FCR that you need to know to succeed in a contact center.

What is First Call Resolution (FCR) in Call Center Metrics?

First Call Resolution is a measure of how frequently you can resolve a customer’s query the first time they reach out.

Historically, less attention was paid to FCR, but it’s quickly become one of the most important metrics in the call center. It’s now also referred to as First Contact Resolution in modern omnichannel contact centers.

What’s the difference between First Call and First Contact Resolution?

There is no difference between first call and first contact resolution in terms of intent. The purpose of FCR is to measure how effective your team is at solving issues for your customers.

There is no difference between first call and first contact resolution in terms of intent. The purpose of FCR is to measure how effective your team is at solving issues for your customers. #cctr #fcr Click To Tweet

In the past, when the telephone was the only way of making contact, it was easy to define. The difference emerged as customer support became available through other channels: social media, email, live chat etc.

When defining this metric in your call center, the most crucial difference is establishing what counts as a ‘first contact.’ With ‘calls,’ this is moot; a call is a call.

With email or social media, you can reasonably stretch that definition to mean the same ‘conversation,’ ‘thread,’ or even the ‘first day.’ That will have to be determined by channel and audience and will take some adjustment to perfect.

The Formula for First Call Resolution

The formula is easy to work out, but the issue is defining what ‘first’ and ‘resolved’ mean.

Here are the two most common formulas for First Contact Resolution, courtesy of callcenterhelper.com:

first call resolution formula examples

There will always be some errors and mislabelling when it comes to FCR. But it still makes a far better measure for Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) than Average Handle Time (AHT).

The trick with FCR is defining what a ‘first contact’ means for your call center.

Defining First Contact Resolution in Your Contact Center

What we’re really measuring here is the efficiency of your internal processes, so your definitions of FCR should match your goals.

If you have a three-tier escalation system, it doesn’t make sense to count the FCR as a resolution without escalation.

That said, if you are trying to determine if that first tier could be better empowered and solve more enquiries, it might be a good idea to measure FCR at that tier, as opposed to FCR over the entire call.

Here are some more things to think about when defining First Call or First Contact Resolution for your team:

  • Does escalation mean the call wasn’t resolved the first time?
  • What does ‘sufficiently resolved’ mean? Does the customer decide this?
  • Does a call-back count as part of the ‘first contact’?
  • What happens if a caller gets directed to the wrong department?
  • For non-real-time conversations (email etc.), what is the ‘window of opportunity’ that can be counted as FCR?
  • What happens if the customer abandons their call before being connected and calls back again later?
  • What happens if the issue is escalated across channels (e.g. from social to voice)?

The most important thing is that everyone understands what and why you are measuring FCR, so take time to define it clearly.
The most important thing with first call resolution is to ensure everyone understands what and why you are measuring it - so take your time to define it clearly. #cctr #fcr Click To Tweet

First Contact Resolution is Essential to Customer Satisfaction

In the dark days of customer service, the game was about trying to prevent customers from reaching you at all.

1. First Contact Resolution improves customer perception

Contrary to what some call center executives must believe, people don’t want to call you.

Most people have better things to do than spend an hour getting you to do whatever it is they already paid you to do. So, failing to resolve the issue at the first attempt means you are putting further stress on your customer — the person who is giving you money.

The more effort and time you ask from them, the less money they’re going to give you.

2. First Call Resolution improves customer retention

Unsurprisingly, when you respect your customers’ time and do your best to resolve their problems at the first time of asking, they’re more likely to stay with you.

But more importantly, when you solve a customer’s issue the first time, they’re almost 10x less likely to leave your brand than if you cannot solve it.

Take the extra time and effort off the customer, and they’re far more likely to give you another try.

3. Improving First Contact Resolution reduces operating costs

Call centers run on a tight budget, so every little efficiency goes a long way.

SQM Group found that for every 1% improvement in FCR, there’s a 1% reduction in operating costs.

The voice channel accounts for about a quarter of the average contact center’s budget. Reducing the number of times a customer has to call you can result in huge savings over a year.

4. Better FCR makes your agents happy

Another exciting study found that for every 1% improvement in first contact resolution, there was as much as a 5% increase in agent satisfaction.

This makes sense on a human level: by the time a customer calls back a second or third time, they’re much more frustrated than the first time.

A high FCR also indicates that your support agents are fully empowered to help your customers. This fosters a sense of pride and achievement in employees, contributing to higher job satisfaction.

What is a good First Call Resolution Rate?

If you notice your FCR rate slipping or it is lower than you would like, you know that you’ll need to dig deeper to find out what hurdles your support team is encountering. While the FCR rate will vary by industry, a good benchmark to shoot is 70-75%.


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