Why is First Call Resolution (FCR) Important?

If you’ve ever contacted customer service for a question about your bill, a gadget gone haywire or a missing piece to your shipment, your first thought was probably, “I need this done as quickly as possible.” Nobody wants to call back two or more times, even if it means getting more attention or in-depth service.

First contact resolution (FCR) is integral to the success of a company. It’s one of the main factors in customer loyalty, not to mention contact center efficiency. It affects profitability, too. Plus, FCR matters no matter what channel the customer is on. However the customer decides to contact a company, they expect a near-immediate response on that same channel.

Common Causes of Poor FCR Rates

There are numerous causes of low FCR rates, including:

  • Agent Turnover: If your contact center has a high rate of turnover, you may have a lot of inexperienced reps on at one time. Agents without expertise have a harder time solving customer problems.
  • Confusing Menus: Long and complex IVR menus can confuse customers. Some will give up while others will press any button just to get a live person on the phone. If they’re directed to the wrong department, it’s unlikely that the call will be resolved quickly.
  • Long Hold Time: Whether you play music or let the customer sit in silence, most people have a limit for how long they’ll wait for a customer service rep. Many customers will end up hanging up and calling back at a later date or find a different way to get in touch with customer service.
  • Poor Voice Recognition: While IVR speech recognition can be a great self-service tool, a poorly functioning system may not understand what the caller is saying. Just like with a confusing menu, the customer may simply say “agent” over and over until someone answers the call.

The True Cost of a Low FCR Rate

According to Nuance, every time a contact center has to take a customer call, it can cost an average of $5. Every time somebody can’t solve their problem through self-service or need to call back a second, third or fourth time to get a solution, this costs the contact center. According to Customer Relationship Metrics, this can cost customer service companies millions of dollars per year.

Keeping Up with the Demand for FCR

In order to monitor and improve FCR, contact centers need to have the right system in place to track core metrics. Customer data should be collected from all channels, including call feedback, surveys and social media. Social media is especially important when collecting customer data and rating sentiment because people tend to be their harshest on social media.

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