How to Measure, Analyze and Improve FCR
You should continuously measure First Call Resolution (FCR) rate based on external and internal FCR measurement methods. Combining external and internal FCR measurement methods is a powerful approach to measure FCR rate and conduct repeat call analysis so that you can action FCR improvement initiatives.
Industry Average for FCR
SQM’s customer survey research shows that the call center industry average for FCR is 70%. For every 1% improvement in FCR, a call center reduces its operating costs by 1%. A 1% improvement in FCR performance equals $286,000 in annual operational savings for the average midsize call center.
SQM’s research shows that 70% of clients who consistently measure their FCR utilizing the post-call customer survey method improve year-over-year. The FCR gain by these call centers ranges from 1-20%. Call centers that implement a post-call survey FCR measurement can expect an average FCR improvement of 3% or better, and in most cases, FCR improvement takes place within 90 days.
First Call Resolution is defined as a metric that measures a call center’s ability to resolve a customer’s inquiry or problem on the first call, with no repeat calls or other contact channels required from the initial call reason.
External FCR Measurement Method
SQM’s opinion is that the external method for measuring FCR (e.g., post-call surveying, etc.) is the most accurate method for measuring FCR rate. External FCR measurement method lets the customer judge whether FCR took place; after all, their opinion is what matters the most.
Internal FCR Measurement Method
You can use internal methods for measuring FCR (e.g., QA, CRM, telephony technology, etc.) to analyze FCR by focusing on repeat call reasons. Internal FCR data offers an extensive data set for conducting root cause analysis for repeat calls to identify targeted opportunities for improving FCR based on data-driven information.The external FCR measurement method is an outside-in approach, where the customer determines if FCR is achieved. Conversely, the internal measurement method is an inside-out approach, where the organization determines if FCR is achieved. When using internal FCR measurement methods, FCR tends to be 10-20% higher than external FCR measurement methods.
There are many reasons why call center internal FCR measurement is substantially higher than external FCR measurement, some of which are as follows:
- Customers do not call back the organization’s call center
- Complex or certain call types are not included in determining the FCR rate
- Customers calling back the call center using a different phone number
- The organization determines if FCR has been achieved and does not factor in the customer’s opinion if FCR was achieved
- The time frame (e.g., 1-30 days) used to consider the customer’s inquiry resolved is too short
- After the initial call to the call center, a customer used another contact channel to resolve their inquiry; it is considered FCR by the organization, but not the customer
- Use of an FCR rate calculation that inflates the FCR rate
When using external or internal FCR measurement methods, the best practice is to use all customer call data to determine the FCR rate. The benefit of using all customer call data, if possible, is that it is a more accurate approach for determining the FCR rate. When the FCR rate is inflated, the service improvement and cost reduction opportunities are under-reported.
The below figure shows and describes the commonly used external and internal methods for measuring first call resolution rate:
Click to Expand
Integrate structured data (e.g., survey ratings, CRM, telephony, etc.) with unstructured data (e.g., customer feedback, call recordings, web chat, etc.) to conduct in-depth dive analysis of repeat calls reasons. Using external and internal methods for measuring FCR allows you to analyze all of the below questions on reducing repeat calls.
You can identify repeat calls by analyzing the following:
- What are the trends from your external and internal FCR measurement methods?
- What call types (e.g., technical, service, sales, etc.) have the highest repeat calls?
- What are your targeted opportunities for reducing repeat call reasons?
- Why were calls unresolved?
- Who was the source of the unresolved calls (i.e., agent, customer, or organization)?
- Why were customers not satisfied with the solution?
- Why do calls need to be transferred?
- Why do calls need to be escalated to another person or manager?
- When a customer used another contact channel such as email, chat, IVR, or website, why did the customer need to use the call center channel?
Once you identify repeat call reasons, you need to analyze the following root causes:
- Are there organizational policies and procedures that hinder FCR?
- Are there customer issues or confusion that hinder FCR?
- Do agent desktop applications or lack of resources hinder FCR?
- Do agents have the skills, knowledge, and abilities to resolve calls?
- Do agents have the necessary coaching to resolve calls?
- Do agents have the motivation and recognition to resolve calls?
- Do your agent call handling (e.g., talk time, wrap up, transfers, hold, etc.) practices hinder FCR?
Identify - Measure FCR performance and analyze repeat call reasons
Develop - Develop a solution and implement a test pilot to reduce repeat call reseasons
Check - Check to see if the test pilot was successful by measuring FCR
Act - Implement a standardized improvement plan for reducing repeat call reasons