First Call Resolution (FCR)—Importance, Benefits, Challenges, and Best Practices

An image of a few call center/support executives assisting their customers.
First call resolution through effective customer service.

Customers want quick resolution of their issues. That’s why businesses depend on first call resolution (FCR). It refers to resolving customer issues on the first call.   

Primarily, FCR helps you avoid call-forwarding, rescheduling, and callbacks. Moreover, the FCR rate lets you know how well you’re helping your customers with their issues.

So, how important is FCR? What are its benefits and challenges? Finally, how can you measure and improve your FCR rate? Let’s dive into it!

What Is FCR?

Sometimes, your customers face problems with your product/service. So they call your customer support line seeking help. Or they can get in touch with your support team using other communication channels, like chat. 

First call resolution refers to resolving customer issues on the first call. It basically means you’re giving the customers solutions right away, without any handoffs or escalation. Therefore, FCR reflects the quality of your customer service. In essence, it shows how well the support team is resolving customer issues.  

Let’s learn why FCR is crucial to your business.

Why Is FCR Important?

You can’t expect your customers to be happy if they have to call you seven times to get a solution. So, you should implement FCR to ensure you give your customers quick solutions and keep them happy. But that’s just one reason why you should consider FCR.

Take a look at the other features that make first call resolution a crucial aspect for your business: 

  • Places you as a brand that takes care of its customers
  • Boosts business productivity 
  • Pinpoints the recurring issues
  • Identifies solutions to those recurring issues
  • Reduces system downtimes 
  • Makes for the best digital customer support

Let’s take a more detailed look at some of these benefits in the section below. 

An image of a woman yelling into a phone.
Avoid giving your customers a bad experience.

5 Benefits of FCR

Your support team needs to address issues as soon as customers report them. FCR has 5 main benefits: 

1. Makes Customers Happy

Happy customers are necessary for any successful business. 67% of customers switch service providers because of a bad customer experience. To avoid this, FCR helps you build a customer experience that’s based on data.

2. Helps Retain Customers 

Getting new customers costs more than retaining them. Nowadays, companies must put customer service first. Otherwise, customers can just as easily switch to providers that know how to take care of them. Most importantly, FCR turns your customers into loyal followers

3. Grows Your Business

Basically, every business wants growth. However, your business will only grow when you provide customers with quick customer service. These happy customers will then tell others about your business. And, before long, you’ll start to see the needle move.

4. Improves Efficiency

FCR helps identify the issues in your processes. Therefore, it allows you to directly address those issues. This creates smoother workflows and processes. As a result,  your business improves all around. 

5. Reduces Operational Costs

Many companies struggle to keep costs low. The drivers of these costs include documentation, hand-offs, escalations, etc. In addition, you can note down some of the recurring issues in your business. Then, you can train the support team to resolve those issues. This will help reduce your overall costs. 

But putting FCR into practice isn’t easy. Let’s look at some challenges you’ll face in doing so. 

5 Challenges of FCR

An image of a note on a laptop that reads "Help".
Getting help from support teams

These 5 challenges can lower your FCR rate: 

1. Inability to Handle Large Volume of Requests 

Most businesses don’t have the tools to handle large volumes of requests. This means they’ll have more unresolved complaints than normal at the end of the day. Thus, these businesses have a significantly lower FCR rate.

2. Longer Wait Times

As mentioned, a larger number of customer requests can reduce the FCR rate. Such a situation will overburden the support team if it also lacks resources. This causes delays in the resolution of issues.  

3. Unexpected Service Interruptions

Incidents, such as disasters, infrastructure failures, human errors, etc., cause service outages. These often lead to increases in the number of requests. The increase in requests can then bring down the FCR rate.

4. Lack of Proper Tools

Companies that serve their customers well use proper ticketing processes. Ideally, a proper ticketing process ensures that customers can easily launch tickets for their issues and agents can quickly resolve them. Further, support agents should have the training to resolve customer requests. Consequently, if your company doesn’t have these tools and training, your FCR rate will suffer.

5. Complex IVR menus

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus are pre-recorded instructions to assist customers when live agents are unavailable. Unfortunately, customers end up choosing incorrect categories for their complaints. This can cause confusion and delay. A simple IVR menu avoids this problem. Therefore, it saves companies valuable resolution time. Ensure your company doesn’t have a complex IVR menu to so your FCR rate doesn’t suffer.

So, how can you overcome these challenges to record higher FCR rates? First, you need to calculate your current FCR.

How to Measure Your FCR Rate 

An FCR rate is a very important key performance indicator (KPI) of how happy your customers are with your support. Additionally, the rate also measures team efficiency. 

Fortunately, measuring your FCR rate is straightforward and requires some basic information. To calculate your FCR rate, use the following equation: 

Gross FCR = Total Number of Tickets Resolved on the First Call / Total Number of Tickets

Further, you can also calculate your net FCR rate:

Net FCR = Total Number of Tickets Resolved in the First Call / (Total Incoming Tickets – Unresolved Tickets After First Call)

However, knowing how to calculate your FCR rate isn’t enough. You should have a target FCR rate. So, what’s a good FCR rate?

What Is a Good FCR Rate?

Different industries have different FCR rates. For instance, a company in the retail or banking industry will need a higher FCR rate than one in the tech industry. Customers in the technology industry face complex issues that require further follow-ups. 

However, as standard practice, you should resolve about 70-75% of all issues on the first call. 

You can study the other businesses in your industry to set a target FCR rate. How high or low is their FCR rate? Additionally, you can also identify the customer requirements and expectations.

Now, let’s look at the best practices that improve FCR rates. 

FCR Best Practices

An image of animated stick figures working on laptops.
Call center agents.

If you’ve calculated your FCR rate and it turned out to be sub-par, don’t worry. Here are some tips to improve your FCR rates: 

Generate a Knowledge Base

Make sure you document every issue when creating a knowledge base. This will help you know what recurring issues customers face. Later, you can develop solutions for those problems. In time, you’ll have a knowledge base you can rely on to resolve issues faster. Besides, this knowledge base will help you onboard and train new employees. 

Use the Right Tools

Having the right tools leads to faster resolution of issues. With the right tools, it becomes easier to document customer issues and retrieve data. Moreover, you can use help desk and service desk tools to make workflows smoother. 

Act Quickly

To achieve high FCR rates, you should respond to requests quickly. This one is a no-brainer. Moreover, faster resolutions of issues promote a good brand image among your customers. 

Train Your Employees

Employees with people skills and service or product knowledge are valuable assets to the company. They can provide your customers with the best possible customer experience by resolving their issues on the first call. 

To reduce delays, train your support employees in every aspect of the product or service. For example, train your tier 1 support team to perform tier 2 activities. As a result, this will enable you to address customer issues right away. Also, the support team won’t have to direct calls to other teams. This reduces the need for escalations and helps grow customer satisfaction rates.

An image of a corporate trainer at a training session attended by employees.
Employee training in progress.

Automate Wherever Possible

Automation in customer support can improve productivity and efficiency. Further, it can also reduce costs and escalations. 

Follow Up

After the first call, ensure you follow up with your customers. Ask them how well the solution worked for them. Moreover, always have a clear set of instructions for your customers to follow.

Final Words

First Call Resolution (FCR) refers to resolving customer issues in the first instance. It’s an easy way to measure how well your support team resolves customer issues. If planned well, it can also make your workflows smoother. FCR ensures your customers are happy with your service. The right tools and processes can help you achieve these goals. Additionally, train your employees to act quickly and avoid escalations as much as possible. 

Do you have more questions about the First Call Resolution? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below! 

FAQ

What is a metric?

A metric is a standard of measurement that provides companies with quantitative data. Metrics help companies understand and analyze their performance. First call resolution is one of these metrics that gauge customer satisfaction.

What is CSAT?

CSAT stands for customer satisfaction, and it measures the overall customer experience. A high FCR rate guarantees a good CSAT. 

What are Tier 1 and Tier 2 support teams?

Several companies classify support teams into multiple tier. Tier 1 involves the first line of support. Support agents in this tier have a basic understanding of the service, product, or domain. Tiers 2 and 3 are higher up the support cycle. These tiers are technical- or domain-intensive. Teams in these tiers assist with more complicated customer issues. 

What are KPIs?

KPI stands for a key performance indicator. It’s a measure of the effectiveness of business processes. In this way, KPIs evaluate your business success. These indicators also help individual teams target certain achievable outcomes.

What is an IVR?

An interactive voice response (IVR) is a system that automates classifying customer requests. The system also segregates and redirects requests to the corresponding teams. Furthermore, it filters and obtains basic customer information. 

Resources

TechGenix: News

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TechGenix: Striking the Right Balance Between Productivity and IT Security

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TechGenix: Article on Microsoft 365 Productivity Score

Learn about achieving Microsoft 365’s productivity score and how to use it.

TechGenix: Article on the Best Remote Work Collaboration Tools

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