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Learn how to define, calculate and improve first contact resolution (FCR) using some proven best practices. SQM shares insightful benchmarking data to help you understand why the benefits of FCR improvement are worth overcoming the common challenges that contact centers face on their customer experience improvement journey.
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First Contact Resolution (FCR) is the percentage of customers who resolved their inquiry or problem on their first contact using a specific channel.
FCR is considered by many organizations to be the most important CX (Customer Experience) metric for measuring and managing CX. It is highly correlated to customer satisfaction and ease of effort and to improving employee satisfaction.
The distinction is that first contact resolution is defined as a customer’s resolution of their inquiry in their first attempt within a contact channel, regardless of which channel they are in (e.g., email, web, call center, chat, etc.). First call resolution is very similar to first contact resolution in that it focuses on a customer’s resolution in their first attempt in a contact channel, but the contact channel is specifically the phone channel (i.e., call center). Put simply, first call resolution is a type of first contact resolution that occurs in the call center contact channel.
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Each company has its own unique goals and measurement needs which is why there is no “one size fits all” improvement formula. Rather, SQM has developed 17 Best Practices to help companies improve First Contact Resolution.
First Contact Resolution Best Practices are based on SQM conducting customer and employee research with over 500 leading North American contact centers to identify who has world class or improving FCR performance. SQM was the first company to develop and popularize the FCR metric for the contact center industry. We are the industry leader for measuring and understanding FCR best practices because we wrote the book on it (seriously, we have written 5 books on FCR).
If you think you have a contact center best practice in one of these categories, you can submit a free nomination for one of SQM’s prestigious CX Best Practice Awards.
Best Practice Awards Nomination ▶
CSRs are hired based on an assessment of their personality traits and skills in comparison to world class FCR performing CSR personality profiles.
CQA Evaluations include customer survey and call compliance data to fully assess the customer’s experience.
CSRs are recognized as Service Heroes for achieving world class FCR and call resolution performance.
FCR call handling operating motto of “who takes the call, owns the call” to promote the behaviours that positively impact CX.
CSRs and supervisors are held accountable for contact resolution performance and management is held accountable for FCR performance.
New and existing CSR and supervisor training focuses on how to provide FCR by call type.
CSRs can contact subject matter experts in real time, by chat or phone to assist them in resolving calls.
Career advancement is based on FCR and contact resolution performance at all levels (i.e., CSR to SVP).
Desktop application is designed to assist CSRs in achieving contact resolution, preferably on the first contact, and does not require a lot of training.
Contact center uses an FCR improvement team to reduce repeat calls and implement SOPs.
Traditional operational metrics (service levels, speed of answer, talk time, etc.) are not as effective as FCR for measuring both the effectiveness of the contact center’s customer service and the efficiency of the contact center’s operating costs for servicing customers.
FCR is a silver bullet metric for measuring contact center quality and cost performance. FCR is extremely effective at measuring and identifying the areas to improve both service and cost and as such, is the main reason why FCR matters the most for measuring a contact center’s customer service and cost performance.
FCR is a gateway metric to improving customer satisfaction (Csat) and employee satisfaction (Esat) performance, lowering operating costs, retaining customers, and for earning the right to sell. It is a leading indicator to improving customer journey metrics (e.g., customer satisfaction.) as well as business outcome metrics (e.g., Net Promotor Score®, Net Retention Index, etc.).
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While first contact resolution is one of the most important metrics for contact centers to measure, there are some challenges associated with doing so. They are as follows:
For every 1% improvement in FCR you reduce your operating cost by 1%.
For every 1% improvement in FCR there is a 1% improvement in Customer Satisfaction.
For every 1% improvement in FCR there can be a 1% to 5% improvement in Employee Satisfaction.
When a customer’s call is resolved the customer cross-selling acceptance rate increases up to 20%.
98% of customers will continue to do business with the organization as a result of achieving FCR.
The top CSRs for FCR cost per call resolution is 35% lower than the bottom CSRs for FCR
First Contact Resolution is one of the most important metrics for contact centers to be tracking. There is no other contact center metric that can influence the important outcomes of reducing operational costs, preventing customer defections, improving customer and employee satisfaction, increasing opportunities to sell, and creating more high performing CSRs. While the path to FCR improvement is certainly worth the effort, it is not without its challenges. Overcoming FCR improvement challenges starts with a strong outside-in leadership philosophy that is not compromised for competing objectives, and a good understanding of the limitations of the FCR metric and how best to measure it with an external VoC partner. Finally, following SQM’s 17 Best Practices has lead to the greatest success for contact centers achieving the world-class designation of achieving an FCR rating of 80% or higher in using an external VoC measurement methodology. By doing so, companies can effectively measure and identify areas for improvement in both service and cost.
Learn more about how SQM can help you improve your First Contact Resolution with our Customer, Employee, and Multi-Channel Experience Studies.
Contact Center Research ▶
If you liked this article, you can learn more about the author Mike Desmarais, and SQM Group.
Improving your First Contact Resolution will lead to optimal gains in your contact centers ROI.
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