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A Message from Mike Desmarais, Founder and CEO, SQM Group
The vast majority of SQM client senior executives would agree that delivering a world class customer experience for contact channel usage is critical to their organization's success. Many North American CEOs are seeking the improvement of customer experience and, in many cases, it is the number one priority for their organization. Based on measures our clients use for determining their customer experience success and SQM’s research on the impact of those measures on organizations’ performance, the business case for improving contact channel customer experience for resolving an inquiry or problem is as follows:
Improve Customer Satisfaction– When the same contact channel is used, Csat (top box response) drops by 15% for each additional contact the customer used to resolve their inquiry or problem. When a customer has to use multiple contact channels to resolve their initial inquiry or problem, Csat drops, on average, by 19% for each additional contact channel used. Customers want to be able to choose their contact channel and to resolve their inquiry or problem on the first contact channel they used. Given that at least 20% of customers use two or more contact channels to resolve the same inquiry or problem, improving Csat represents a huge opportunity for contact centers to improve customer experience.
Reduce Customers Defections– If the contact was unresolved, 23% of customers expressed their intent to not continue to use the organization’s products and services because of their contact channel experience. The cost of customer defections as a result of their contact channel experience tends not to be understood by contact centers because it is not often measured. For many contact centers, retaining customers represents the biggest opportunity to add true value to their organization. Resolving contacts, preferably on the first contact, on any contact channel used is the key to reducing customer defections. In fact, only 2% of customers who have their contact resolved on the first contact expressed their intent to not continue to use the organization’s products and services as a result of their contact channel experience.
Given the huge impact a customer’s contact channel experience has on customer satisfaction and retention, organizations must invest in measuring the customer’s experience when using a contact channel or multiple contact channels to resolve an inquiry or problem, in order to ensure an organization’s success in improving customer experience. Delivering a world class customer experience for contact channel usage is critical to an organization's success and therefore, SQM announces a new metric to measure this experience – One Contact Resolution.
SQM is proud to introduce the new One Contact Resolution (OCR) metric. OCR is based on customers resolving their inquiry on the first call and not using another contact channel prior to, or after calling the call center. Given that a typical call center, on average, is responsible for six or more contact channels, and that 20% of customers who used a call center also used another contact channel trying to resolve the same inquiry or problem, OCR will become the metric that matters the most for improving customer experience in the new multi-channel world. Most contact centers are completely unaware of how many customers try to resolve their inquiry or problem prior to, or after, calling the call center using other contact channels. Also, they are not aware of the negative impact that the use of two or more contact channels has on customer satisfaction and retention. Given that so many customers are using self-service and the call center to resolve the same inquiry and problem, contact centers should measure both FCR and OCR metrics.
Figure 1 shows the difference between First Call Resolution (FCR) and OCR performance when a call center was one of the contact channels used. The data reveals that OCR is 11% lower than FCR. The reason for this difference is because OCR factors in the customer being able to resolve their inquiry on the first call and not having to use another contact channel prior to, or after calling the call center. For the average call center, an alarming 41% of customers are not able to resolve their inquiry or problem on the first contact. Given that only 59% of customers have an OCR experience, it should be viewed as a huge wake-up call for the contact center industry to start measuring the customer’s entire experience (i.e., all contact channels used) when trying to resolve the same inquiry or problem.
SQM truly believes that of all the contact center metrics, FCR and OCR are the metrics that matter the most, which is the reason why SQM focuses on both FCR and OCR. These metrics drive world class customer satisfaction and retention. The FCR metric should not be confused with the OCR metric. Again, FCR is based on customers resolving their inquiry on the first call and considers only the usage with the call center contact channel; FCR does not take into consideration whether or not other contact channels were used. On the other hand, although OCR is also based on customers resolving their inquiry on the first call, it does factor in whether or not other contact channels were used. In short, the distinction between FCR and OCR is that FCR only considers the usage in an individual contact channel and OCR factors in all contact channels used for resolving an inquiry or problem.
Most contact center managers tend to struggle with defining and measuring FCR and OCR. The most common reason for this struggle is that contact centers do not have a clear definition for FCR or OCR. Also, they do not have an effective way of properly measuring these two metrics from the organization’s or the customer’s point of view. Internal FCR and OCR measurement methods, such as QA and FCR callback technology, may be used and can be good practices. However, these methods are not a best practice for defining and measuring FCR and OCR because they are not VoC FCR or OCR. Internal FCR and OCR measurements overinflate performance by 10% to 20% for the average contact center because they do not factor in customers who do not call back or customers who use another contact channel. OCR is more difficult to measure because it requires an understanding of whether or not the customer used more than one contact channel to resolve their inquiry or problem. Internal FCR and OCR measurement methods should be viewed as supplements to VoC FCR and OCR measurement methods. Although many organizations do not know how to define and measure FCR and OCR from a VoC point of view, the best practice for defining and calculating FCR and OCR is to let the customer be the judge of whether or not their inquiry or problem was resolved and how many contacts and channels were required. After all, as the old saying goes the VoC opinion of their experience matters the most. VoC FCR and OCR measurements are based on using post-contact customer survey methods such as phone, IVR, email and website. With that in mind, the following are VoC FCR and OCR definitions and measurement calculations.
OCR (One Contact Resolution) Definition OCR is defined as the percentage of customers who resolved their inquiry or problem on their first call and did not use another contact channel prior to, or after using the call center. VoC OCR is based on the survey results.
OCR Calculation The calculation of VoC OCR is based on the number of surveyed customers who determined their inquiry or problem was resolved on the first contact using only one contact channel, divided by the total number of customers who were surveyed.
OCR Calculation Example: Based on survey results, the number of surveyed customers who determined their inquiry or problem was resolved on the first contact using only one contact channel (236) ÷ the total number of customers who were surveyed (400) = 59% OCR performance level.
FCR (First Contact Resolution) Definition FCR is defined as the percentage of customers who resolved their inquiry or problem on their first contact using a specific contact channel, such as website, IVR, email, or chat. The term ‘contact’ can be replaced with the specific contact channel (e.g., ‘first email resolution’, ‘first web self-serve resolution’, ‘first IVR self-serve resolution’, or ‘first call resolution’). VoC FCR is based on the survey results. FCR does not take into consideration whether or not other contact channels were used.
FCR Calculation The calculation of VoC FCR is based on the number of surveyed customers who determined their inquiry or problem was resolved on the first contact with a specific channel, divided by the total number of customers who were surveyed.
FCR Calculation Example: Based on survey results, the number of surveyed customers who determined their inquiry or problem was resolved on the first contact (280) ÷ the total number of customers who were surveyed (400) = 70% FCR performance level.
Read more about SQM Group's Omni-Channel Benchmarking Study
Mike Desmarais is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SQM Group. Mike received his MBA from Athabasca University in February of 2020. Mike has over 25 years of customer experience (CX) measurement, benchmarking, and consulting. As a consultant, Mike has experience working with leading North American organizations on improving CX. Mike has developed several key best practices that are fundamental to providing world class contact channel customer experiences. He uses his best practice knowledge to assess contact channel operations and to pinpoint the 3-5 pivotal changes that will drive real and significant CX improvement. Mike is a pioneer and visionary in contact channels’ CX measurement of first call resolution, one contact resolution, omni-channel, CX greatness, customer emotion, and retention metrics. Mike has written five thought-provoking contact channel CX research books (i.e., World Class Call Center, First Call Resolution, FCR Best Practices, One Contact Resolution and most recently One Contact Resolution 2nd Edition). Mike has conducted best practice case studies with organizations such as American Express, FedEx, and VSP Vision Care. In addition, Mike is a popular contact center industry thought-leader with over 20,000 LinkedIn followers and is one of the top 10 most influential contributors in the contact center industry based on a recent Fonolo poll. Mike is a sought-after speaker for contact center conferences and has a world class satisfaction rating for speaking at those events.