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Holding Agents Accountable for a Call Resolution Index to Improve Customer Service

March 9, 2022 | 2min read

About Call Resolution Index

SQM’s viewpoint is that a contact center effective customer service delivery program needs to have a primary focus on agent call resolution accountability. Combining internal and external call resolution measurement is a best practice for holding agents accountable for their customer service performance.

SQM’s research shows that 30% of calls are not First Call Resolution (FCR). Furthermore, agents are the source of error for 38% of non-FCR calls, and 40% of the time a call is unresolved on the first call, the agent had a will issue versus a skill issue.

Call Center Internal Resolution

Internal Call Resolution is based on the calculation of whether a customer made an additional call within 30 days after their initial call. To help determine the internal call resolution rate: customers who called back are identified using workforce suites, automatic call distribution, and customer relationship management technology. Furthermore, call resolution is determined based on repeat customer identifiers such as phone number, account number, or case number within a specific time frame.

For example, the calculation of call resolution is the total number of calls resolved (80) divided by the total number of calls received (100) based on the identifier used = Call Resolution rate of 80%.

Call Center External Resolution

External Call Resolution is based on the calculation of whether the customer’s interaction was resolved using a post-call survey method. The internal call resolution rate is determined by asking customers if their interaction was resolved using survey methods such as email, interactive voice response, or a phone interviewer within one business day of their call to the contact center.

For example, the calculation of call resolution is the total number of customers who said their call was resolved (70) divided by the total number of surveyed (100) = Call Resolution rate of 70%.

The Call Resolution Index (CRI) calculation adds the internal and external call resolution rate percentage and divides it by two. The below infographic illustrates how CRI is calculated.


Agent Accountability Index


The advantage of using CRI is a larger sample size for assessing an agent’s performance. Put simply, a more significant sample has higher accuracy for measuring call resolution. In addition, using internal and external call resolution data provides essential customer experience (CX) insights for coaching agents on how to improve their customer service.

Agents need to be held accountable for call resolution versus First Call Resolution because agents don’t want to be held accountable when a customer is calling back to resolve the same inquiry or problem. However, managers and staff are held accountable for FCR and agents for call resolution for most call centers.


The business case for holding agents accountable to a call resolution index is strong. For example, the external call resolution data use the voice of the customer (VoC) to determine if the call was resolved and provides valuable insights for motivating and coaching agents to improve customer service. Conversely, the internal call resolution data provides more observations, increasing the accuracy of the CRI index.

By combining the internal and external call resolution data, the message given to agents is that external and internal call resolution is equally important. It is SQM’s view that call resolution is the most important metric to hold an agent accountable for their performance - after all, resolving a call preferably on the first is what really matters to customers

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