Does First Call Resolution Lead to Customer Loyalty?


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It’s long been thought that first call res­o­lu­tion is one of the main dri­vers of cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. SQM’s pio­neer­ing research found that for every 1% improve­ment in first call res­o­lu­tion (FCR), there’s a cor­re­spond­ing 1% increase in cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. Stud­ies done by Cus­tomer Rela­tion­ship Met­rics reveal that cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion rat­ings will be 5–10% lower when a sec­ond call is made for the same issue. And it’s log­i­cal that the more sat­is­fied cus­tomers are, the more loyal they’ll be.

Not only does it appear that first call res­o­lu­tion improves cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, improv­ing FCR also reduces the cost of oper­a­tions. So there’s def­i­nitely a busi­ness case for improv­ing first call res­o­lu­tion, and as a result, many com­pa­nies are invest­ing heav­ily in both ana­lyt­ics soft­ware and cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing to mea­sure and improve FCR. In fact an ICMI poll reported that in 2008, a lit­tle over half of call cen­ters tracked FCR and by 2011, two out of three cen­ters track FCR. But is focus­ing pri­mar­ily on first call res­o­lu­tion suf­fi­cient to secure cus­tomer loy­alty?

Prob­a­bly not. What if you have to wait on hold with unap­peal­ing music for 20 min­utes before speak­ing with an agent? What if your call is routed to a poorly trained rep who takes longer than needed to resolve your issue, putting you on hold every few min­utes to con­fer with a super­vi­sor? What if your issue is resolved, but the rep­re­sen­ta­tive is rude?

Bob Thomp­son of Cus­tomer­Think wrote an excel­lent post about how Scot­tish­Power uses a bal­anced score­card to drive cus­tomer ser­vice excel­lence rather than focus­ing on a sin­gle met­ric like first call res­o­lu­tion. ScottishPower’s score­card includes:

  • Short IVR sur­veys ask­ing cus­tomers for their expe­ri­ence on the call
  • A Cus­tomer Con­tact Res­o­lu­tion metric
  • A reten­tion score to deter­mine the like­li­hood the cus­tomer will leave within 5 weeks
  • Aver­age han­dle time
  • Cross-selling per­for­mance

Other customer-focused met­rics that might be included in a bal­anced score­card include:

  • Aver­age time on hold (callers don’t like wait­ing on hold)
  • Appro­pri­ate esca­la­tions (those that will help the call be resolved quicker)
  • Call qual­ity scores (assum­ing your mon­i­tor­ing form includes customer-focused metrics)
  • Employee sat­is­fac­tion (happy employ­ees pro­vide bet­ter service)
  • Employee turnover (employ­ees with more expe­ri­ence pro­vide bet­ter service)

While first call res­o­lu­tion is a key met­ric that is impor­tant to focus on in order to improve cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion and reduce costs, improv­ing FCR alone is may not be suf­fi­cient to increase cus­tomer loy­alty. If you want to focus on improv­ing cus­tomer loy­alty, ask a group of loyal cus­tomers what is most impor­tant to them and where they think you need to improve. Then orga­nize your met­rics around those issues and seek improve­ment there.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peggy Carlaw
Peggy Carlaw is the founder of Impact Learning Systems. Impact helps companies develop and implement customer service strategies to improve the customer experience. Their consulting services and training programs help organizations create a customer-focused culture while producing measurable business results. Peggy is also the author of three books published by McGraw-Hill including Managing and Motivating Contact Center Employees.


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