First Call Resolution – The Key to Success and Failure


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Photo By: Lukas Budimaier - Unspalsh
Photo By: Lukas Budimaier – Unspalsh

Fundamentally, First Call Resolution (FCR) means that a customer’s support call is handled through resolution to the customer’s satisfaction in their first interaction with the call center. While not all calls can be resolved this way – most should be, and the following should help you achieve that goal.

First call resolution is your most important KPI, It directly addresses the goal of your support center – problem resolution.

Studies show that up to 12% of your customers will leave if their issues are NOT solved on the first call.
When you have a problem with your first call resolution rate, that means that there is something flawed somewhere along your customer experience. You should identify the weak link and fix it.

To help you do that, let’s look deeper into what effects your first call resolution rate both inside and outside your contact center.

In The Call Center
Generally speaking, If you have QUALITY, KNOWLEDGEABLE, MOTIVATED agents combined with the right TECHNOLOGY, you should achieve a good first call resolution.

Let’s break that down.
Quality – hire people who will have the capacity to handle your type of customers and problems. This means both their service and interpersonal skills.
Knowledge – Make sure that your support staff are properly trained and are expert enough to guide your customers to resolution at their tier.
Motivation – Keeping your agents motivated is about two things:
Keep them fresh – Make sure you create a positive environment for your agents and allow them proper rest times and mental support when necessary. Be attentive to your agents needs back them up, don’t over work them.
Reward them for success – Average Handling Time is very important. However, always keep in mind that whatever you set as the metric for success will be what your agents aim for. Define success in a way that serves the true, big picture purpose of your call center. Make it fun, positively competitive and worth your agents while for them to excel.
Technology – Technology is becoming a key player in call centers. Gaining visibility into the customer’s environment and applying big data analytics to optimize service are just a couple of the solutions that are changing the way support is delivered in contact centers. To stay at the top of the game, your call center must keep up with technological developments.
The keys to getting the most out of contact center technologies are:
Identification: make sure someone in your organization is up to date on customer service innovation and can make the right technology choices for your contact center.
Integration: Develop an implementation method to make sure agents are supported in the process of adopting new technology.
Monitoring and optimizing: Review how your technology is performing and adjust when needed. Optimization is a never ending task.

Beyond The Call Center
Here is what affecting your customer support beyond the walls of your contact center.

The customer
How the customer enters the call is critical to the success of the interaction. If the conversation opens in a confrontational way and the agent is unable to gain the customer’s confidence, your chances of a resolution on that call drop significantly.
Customers’ frustration and low confidence are due to friction along your complete customer experience.
To minimize customer frustration and get him into the conversation with the right attitude, you have to look at his path up to the call and make sure you eliminate unnecessary friction.
That can include:
Long hold times
Difficulty in reaching your support
Confusing IVR’s
Bad self service experience
Bad service reputation

If a customer’s goal is to get a technician sent as fast as they can, your chances of resolution are dramatically diminished. If an agent is under a vicious attack by a raging customer and is under- equipped to handle it, his goal will become to get off the phone as fast as he can.
To achieve resolution you need both the customer and the agent to be motivated and believe that they can do it.

The product
Last but not least:
If your product is bad, no service in the world can help.
If your product is good but you have a problem with FCR it may mean you have to look at your UX/UI.
If it’s confusing to the customer and difficult to the agent to explain, that will lower your First Call Resolution.
In this case your agents has to identify what’s confusing report back to your product people so the confusion doesn’t continue into the future hurting your service and lowering your customer satisfaction.

First call resolution is a KPI that boils down all aspects of your organization into one single number. It corresponds directly with your customer satisfaction while keeping your finger on the pulse of your product, brand sentiment and customer support.

Your first priority is to make sure your call center works right.

What do you have to do?
Hire enough good agents.
Give them the right training.
Motivate them through reward for the right kind of success
Create a good working environment
Provide them with the right technology.

Make sure that all of your consumer-facing functions are friendly and efficient. From self service to calling in, the experience of connecting with your brand must inspire confidence and express respect for the customer’s time and needs.

If you are able to achieve a good first call resolution rate it means you’re doing something right.


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