first contact resolution

What is First Contact Resolution?

First Contact Resolution (FCR) is a metric that every inbound contact center should keep in mind. FCR records the number of calls (or other kinds of contact) that result in a resolution with no follow-up call necessary.

This post will discuss several best practices to improve your First Contact Resolution rate. We’ll look at a few examples to FCR and how you can overcome them.

High FCR rates often hint at a well-lubricated customer service system and suggest that agents have the three things they need to resolve calls effectively: 

  1. The right training 
  2. The right tools
  3. The right motivation 

We’ll look at these three in more detail below!

The knock-on effect of good FCR

The ripple effects of good FCR reach practically everything a successful contact center measures. That includes CSat, Average Speed of Answer and call volume. 

  • Call volumes – Between 20-30% of contact volume concerns previously unanswered issues. Answering more questions first-time and you’ll get fewer calls overall. 
  • Average speed of answer – Bring down call volumes and you can answer each subsequent call far more quickly. That makes it a lot easier to meet your SLA. 
  • Customer Satisfaction – Most importantly, a well-served customer is a satisfied customer. A satisfied customer is a retained customer

Those are just three of the metrics that improve massively based on your FCR rate.

Challenges that hinder First Contact Resolution

Several factors can impact FCR. Earlier we talked about giving agents the three things they need:

  • The right training. Agents need to understand your product, your customers and  the processes  at play in your contact center. You also need to ensure that you can route customers to the right agents!
  • The right tools. They need customer support software that makes it easy to track issues, access customer data and implement the best solution
  • The right motivation.  Too many contact centers motivate agents to finish calls quickly. That’s short term thinking and it costs more in the medium to long term. 

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How to resolve customer issues quickly

Intentional improvements in customer service delivery often add up to a better First Contact Resolution rate. The barriers we’ve listed above are not new or unique to your business. 

They’re also far from being insurmountable; you should never give up hope of improving other customer experience (CX) metrics that matter. 

Here’s how you can improve FCR for your contact center:

Start measuring FCR –  You won’t achieve a target that you don’t set. Measure FCR as a matter of priority.

Offer training and refresher courses – Schedule training on the various agent skills that improve first contact resolution. Focus on the institutional knowledge of your most experienced agents; what’s the fastest route to any outcome? 

Integrate tools and data – Around 60% of failed FCRs are due to an agent’s inability to access the right data. A solid integration strategy will put the right data in front of agents at the right time. 

Automate core processes – in a typical 6 minute interaction, just 25% is dedicated to actual conversation. The rest is silence, while agents do research and manually input data. Yet these are the elements that are simplest to automate. 

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