Perspective on First Call Resolution

First-call resolution (FCR) is an increasingly popular performance measure in customer contact environments. And that’s a good thing: Unresolved contacts are a common source of customer dissatisfaction, and the organization tends to incur many additional expenses (e.g., repeat calls, rework, etc.) when issues are not fully resolved.

However, despite clear benefits, FCR must be implemented carefully. Several important lessons have emerged, including:

  • Keep in mind that accurate comparisons with other organizations are difficult since definitions of “resolved contact” vary widely. Focus on developing an appropriate definition for your environment, and stick to it so that you’ll have a stable, relative measure.
  • Learn to think critically when interpreting FCR. An exceptionally high FCR rate may point to many simple contacts that can be prevented before they happen.
  • Treat FCR as an organizationwide initiative. When an issue is not resolved on the first contact, the problem often may be found outside the call center (e.g., with product or service documentation, functionality, processes, etc.).
  • Track FCR at least two ways—as an internal measure, and based on whether or not customers feel that their issues were resolved on the first contact (via survey feedback). If these measures don’t closely correlate, find out why.

Above all, keep your eyes on the prize – true business results, such as customer loyalty, profitability and market share. Remember that FCR is just a supporting indicator, not the end game.