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Call Center Root Causes for Not Achieving First Call Resolution

May 3, 2022 | 2min read

Root Causes for Non-FCR

SQM Group's research shows that the average First Call Resolution FCR rate is 70% for the call center industry, which means 30% of customers have to call back the call center to resolve their initial interaction.

The below figure showed when we examined the root causes based on customer feedback, we discovered the source of errors (SoE) for non-FCR calls, that the customer was the SoE 13% of the time, an agent was the SoE 38% of the time, and the organization was the highest SoE at 49% of the time. The organization's SoE issues result from policies, procedures, and technologies root causes that the call center has limited or no control for fixing.

Source of Error

SQM has validated this analysis by asking the customer directly whether the agent could have prevented them from having to conduct a follow-up call. Customers felt that the agent could have prevented them from making a second call 40% of the time, which closely aligns with SQM's root causes assessment of 38% of the time, the agent is the FCR source of error.


FCR Source of Error

The below figure shows that for calls that are resolved but took two or more calls, the organization tends to be the source of error, most often at 54%. The organization SoE is substantially higher than when the agent SoE which is 32% for two-plus calls to resolve an interaction, was required. However, when the call is unresolved, the agent is the SoE 44% of the time.

Agents must understand they are the primary source of error when calls go unresolved. However, it has been SQM's experience that agents believe that the organization is the source of error most of the time, not them. Therefore, agents need to be held accountable for call resolution, especially when you consider the call center the last line of defense to prevent customers from defecting.


Source of Error Breakdown

Moreover, SQM research shows root causes for the top five repeat call reasons that hinder delivering great customers service and First Call Resolution are:

  1. A customer needed to check or verify the status of their unresolved interaction
  2. The customer got disconnected while being on hold
  3. Agent lacked the knowledge to resolve the interaction
  4. The customer request was not completed
  5. The customer was redirected to another company

Achieving high or improving First Call Resolution requires call center leadership to be highly committed to enhancing the support experience for agents, customers, and the organization. Furthermore, it is critical to determine the root causes for SoEs and the repeat call reasons for non-FCR calls.