The Impact of FCR on NPS
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is widely used by leading North American companies to help determine the transactional NPS for using their call center. A transactional NPS is based on using a contact channel (e.g., call center, email, chat, website), which is different from the traditional perceptional NPS based on the overall relationship a customer has with a company.
The transactional NPS is determined using a post-call survey and asking the question, "based on their experience using a call center, how likely they are to recommend XYZ Company to a friend or colleague?" The customers rate how likely they are to recommend the company using a scale of 0 to 10. Their responses are categorized into three groups: Promoters (those who answered 9 and 10), Passives (those who answered 7 and 8), and Detractors (those who answered 0 to 6). The transactional NPS is then calculated as the percentage of Promoters minus the percentage of Detractors. To get a clear picture of whether First Call Resolution positively impacts transactional NPS, it is a best practice to use a post-call survey to measure First Call Resolution and NPS metrics.
To answer whether First Call Resolution (FCR) positively impacts transactional NPS, we surveyed customers who used a call center within one business day with leading North American organizations. SQM Group's research shows that every 1% improvement in First Call Resolution increases transactional NPS by 1.4 points for the average call center. FCR and transactional NPS have a statistical correlation of .64, which would be considered high and shows that FCR positively impacts transactional NPS.
Many call center leaders believe that transactional NPS is not an appropriate metric because they have no control over price, policies, products, and promotions. Furthermore, some call center leaders feel it is tough to expect customers to recommend their organization to others based on a five-minute call. There are some questions on the appropriateness of NPS as a measure of call center leader and Agent performance. It is clear that high FCR drives NPS, but the focus should not necessarily be on transactional NPS; it should be on improving FCR.
Most frontline Agents do not like to be held accountable for transactional NPS for the same reasons that call center leaders dislike NPS. Many Agents would prefer to be held accountable to the call resolution metric, which they believe they control through their performance. If Agents improve call resolution, it would improve FCR and positively impact transactional NPS.
Transactional Net Promoter Score®
Figure 1 shows SQM's call center research for transactional NPS. On average, 64% of customers were Promoters, and 16% were Detractors, resulting in a transactional NPS of 48 points. There is a high variation for transactional NPS by industry. For organizations performing at the world class level for FCR (80% or higher) based on the customer perspective, their transactional NPS is 60 points or higher. Only 5% of call centers have achieved the FCR world class standard of 80%.
FCR & Repeat Call / Call Unresolved Impact on NPS
Figure 2 shows SQM's call center research for FCR, Repeat Call, and Call Unresolved Impact on transactional NPS. The data reveals that when customers experience FCR using a call center, the NPS is 64 points. When an inquiry or problem Call was Resolved, but it took repeat calls, the NPS drops to 40 points. When one call took place, and the Call was Unresolved, NPS goes down to -10 points. However, what is most alarming is when two or more calls took place, and the Call was Unresolved, NPS is -38 points. Clearly, FCR is a driver for improving transactional NPS.
For call centers that want to improve transactional NPS, it is essential to state that FCR and Call Resolution improvement will increase promoters and reduce your detractors. Put differently, when FCR goes up or down, so does NPS. However, given that most call center leaders and Agents feel that they do not have any control over positively impacting NPS, it might make better sense not to hold call center leaders and Agents accountable to transactional NPS. The best practice is to hold leaders (e.g., CEO to support staff) accountable to FCR and Agents to Call Resolution, knowing that if they improve their performance for those metrics, transactional NPS will improve.
Nader Ghattas, MBA, is the Chief Customer Experience Officer at SQM Group, an organization dedicated to helping call center clients improve FCR. Nader brings over a decade of experience in CX and EX improvement consulting and is a thought-leader for first call resolution. He is a chief spokesperson for SQM’s powerful customer and employee experience improvement offerings in software innovation, best practice consulting, and awarding.