Why FCR is no more just a First Call Resolution rate?


Customer Service has come a long way since the last two decades. Customer Service or Customer Support is no more mere operations but an experience now. Responding to customer queries started over phones, then emails and today to any digital channel that is available. Although phones were a thing earlier that is changing gradually and so is the abbreviation – FCR. A lot of contact centers, customer service teams used it and still use First call resolution as a key metric to measure customer satisfaction and optimize operations cost. But with a plethora of digital channels opening up, the term is no longer the First call but First Contact Resolution rate. Customers can’t be restricted to any channel. its the BPOs’, customer service teams and other organizations’ onus to provide support on different digital channels ( social media, Chat, messengers, email, SMS, video etc.) and preferably in a single touch.

Let’s Talk a bit about FCR now- First Contact Resolution Rate ..

In simple terms, it is the percentage of customer queries resolved in the first contact made between a customer and organization through any interaction channel.
However, it’s not that simple. Calculating FCR varies from organization to organization. At times, there are organizations with poorly defined or non-existent business processes and thus, the queries will never be resolved in the first contact. Thus, calculating FCR effectively is only possible when you have defined customer service business process.

Why is FCR Important?

Why so much stress on this KPI and not others? For any organization customer retention ( revenue) and regulating costs ( Operations) are the top priorities, at least from a service standpoint. And FCR directly or indirectly impacts both.
Let’s take a scenario where you have five hybrid inbound agents – calls & chats. Each agent per day services 100 calls and 200 chats. So in total every day your team caters to 500 calls and 1000 chats. Let suppose your FCR is 60% thus, 405 of your inbound queries are repeat customer queries that is – 40% of 500 calls + 40% of 1000 chats – equals 200 calls & 400 chats – 2 extra agents. Do the math.
Customer retention is the other metric which takes an indirect hit. As per an industry study, CSR is 35-45 % lower when a second call is made for the same issue. Lower CSR translates into less happy customers and there are 10 other organizations poaching your customer.
So how do you mend things?

How to improve FCR- First contact resolution rate?

Invest in an Empowering Technology

    1. Single Customer View – Empower Agents to understand customer queries better by giving them a complete view of customer interaction so they have contextual conversations.
    2. Unified Agent Desktop – Another key metric that contributes to FCR is Agent handling time. Enabling Agents to access right set of information – customer crm data, knowledge base, customer sentiment etc in minimal time helps Agents respond faster and more effectively.
    3. Multi-Level to Multi -Simple IVR’s – Rather than having multilevel complex self-service channels, make life easy for your customer. Have multiple one to three level IVR to boost FCR rates and improve customer query resolution. Complex IVR can leave your customers confused and anxious leading to disappointment.
    4. Skill/Location-based Agent mapping– Try to route queries by considering customer profile and even sentiment data. Every customer is not the same and uses your judgment and historical data to build routing configurations that boost customer confidence in your service
    5. Self Service Automation – With more and more customers taking the Self-service route have a technology solution that is intuitive and enables your customers to resolve queries on their own. It can cover chatbots, voice bots, customer portals, Knowledge base etc. But the goal remains the same.

Coming to a clinch, I hope I was able to add some value through this article. This must have given you a fair idea of how FCR is important for the growth of business and how it can leverage your performance. There are other call center metrics also available but, as per my notion, being one of the prime factors responsible for customer satisfaction, businesses should have a solution that focuses on FCR. This will help them meet customer demands at the earliest and deliver exceptional customer experience.