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First Call Resolution Expected Gains from Making FCR Improvements

February 15, 2022 | 3min read

FCR Expected Gains from Making Improvement

At our company (SQM), we are often asked, “What First Call Resolution (FCR) performance gains can be expected when implementing specific FCR improvement initiatives?” The infographic below shows the FCR gains from improving a performance management system, skills and knowledge, technology initiatives, and processes and practices.

The typical FCR expected gains depicted below are the typical experiences for making improvements. However, it is essential to emphasize that we have clients that have made bigger and smaller FCR improvement gains for the different FCR improvement initiatives. Put simply, there are exceptions to the below depicted typical FCR expected FCR gains.

Interestingly, a Voice of the Customer (VoC) performance management system has historically provided the biggest FCR gains (3% to 12%) in the shortest time of all improvement initiatives implemented by SQM clients. Skills and technology initiatives have provided modest FCR gains (1% to 5%) in comparison to a VoC performance management system initiative. Process improvement initiatives have proven to have the second most significant FCR gains (1% to 10%); however, they can take a long time to achieve.


FCR Exepected Gains Diagram



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VoC Performance Management

VoC Performance Management

Implementing a Voice of Customer (VoC) performance management system has goals, accountability, bonuses, and rewards for FCR, customer satisfaction (Csat), and call resolution performance from the agent to the Vice President levels.

VoC performance management can provide up to a 12% FCR gain within one to three months. Of all the FCR improvement initiatives that SQM clients have implemented, the VoC performance management system is the initiative that has been the most successful for delivering consistent FCR gains.


Skills and Training

Skills and Knowledge Training

Skills and knowledge training for agents to improve FCR and call resolution performance has resulted in modest FCR gains (1% to 5%) compared to other improvement initiatives. The main reason for this is that supervisors and managers are not skilled at training agents on how to improve their FCR and call resolution performance.

Even though training has not historically produced substantial FCR gains, SQM believes that training supervisors and agents on how to improve can provide significant FCR gains when adequately implemented. SQM’s experience shows that agent skills and knowledge improvement initiatives take six months or less to provide noticeable FCR gains.


Technology Initiatives

Technology, as a whole, has significant opportunities for FCR gains potential. However, when evaluating specific technology improvement initiatives such as virtual queuing, cloud computing, KMT, CRM, unified desktop, chat, speech recognition, artificial intelligence, and omni-channel integration, they have only modest FCR gains so far.

Technology improvement has many moving parts, so it is difficult to determine the FCR gains due to a specific technology initiative. However, SQM’s research shows that particular technology improvement initiatives result in 1% to 5% FCR gains with a 3 to 12-months timetable to complete the implementation. Furthermore, many contact center managers incorrectly believe that technology advancements are the most significant opportunity for FCR gains.

FCR Improvement

Process and Practice FCR Improvement

Process and practice FCR improvement initiatives represent the second-best opportunity to improve FCR. SQM’s research shows that improvement initiatives in this area result in 1% to 10% FCR gains within a nine-month timetable to complete implementation. However, a big challenge for organizations is that most contact centers do not have an FCR process improvement team or Six Sigma certified employees.

Furthermore, most process and practice improvement initiative opportunities come from areas that the contact center has little or no control, such as claims, billing, and marketing, and have policies that have hindered the contact center from improving FCR performance.

Moreover, SQM’s research shows that over 50% of non-FCR calls the source of error comes from other departments (e.g., claim, billing, marketing), and as a result, the contact center has little or no control for fixing the issue. Therefore, at SQM, when other departments are the source of error (SoE), we classify it as an organizational SoE.

The timetable to implement technology and process FCR improvement initiatives tends to be longer because more departments are involved. In addition, there is no specific owner for improving the organizational issues that are creating repeat calls in many cases.


SQM is also asked, “What are the potential financial gains that can be expected from improving FCR?” SQM’s research shows that a 1% improvement in FCR performance equals $286,000 in annual operational savings for the average contact center. Furthermore, for every 1% improvement in FCR, there is a 1% improvement in Csat. Therefore, as you can see, improving FCR helps a contact center reduce operating costs while at the same time improving customer satisfaction. Thus, the impact of FCR improvement can be a game-changer for improving the contact center’s value to an organization.


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