How to Improve Your First Call Resolution Rate

min read
How to Improve Your First Call Resolution Rate

For contact centers, as McKinsey & Company points out, focus on customer experience (CX), cost optimization, and revenue maximization is instrumental to achieving long-term performance excellence. Therefore, first call resolution (FCR), a measure of how quickly and effectively your agents can address customer issues, is a critical metric.

Modern-day enterprises, in addition to calculating FCR, are also making CX improvements that boost their FCR to increase contact center efficiency. In this blog, we will discuss what FCR is, how to quantify it, and the processes you can put in place to achieve an industry-standard benchmark. We’ll also show you how revenue execution platforms like Invoca can help you boost your first call resolution rate and ultimately improve your organization’s bottom line.

What Is First Call Resolution Rate?

First call resolution rate is the ability of a contact center team to meet a customer’s needs when the first contact is established. By measuring FCR, you can extrapolate the efficiency of your contact center, and monitor how committed your agents are to ensuring customer satisfaction. In fact, research shows that 60% of businesses that keep tabs on their FCR for more than a year observe up to 30% improvement in their performance.

A high FCR rate, combined with low talk time, means your agents are quick to offer a resolution that requires no follow-up for most customers. On the other hand, a low FCR rate means your customers often have to go out of their way to receive the right assistance from you — for example, the hold time is too long, and they end up calling back a few times before being connected to an actual person. Or, the service ticket was closed on call despite the proposed solution not working.

How to Calculate First Call Resolution Rate

Calculating First Call Resolution (FCR) rates is crucial for evaluating and enhancing contact center performance. Calculating this process involves dividing the total number of calls resolved on the first attempt by the total number of calls handled, then multiplying by 100 to obtain the percentage. This metric serves as a key indicator of efficiency and customer satisfaction, reflecting the percentage of customer issues successfully addressed in the initial interaction. By implementing best practices, such as empowering agents with the right tools and knowledge, businesses can improve FCR rates, streamline operations, and deliver a more satisfying customer experience. Understanding and optimizing FCR is instrumental in achieving operational excellence and building positive customer relationships.

What Is a Good First Call Resolution Rate Benchmark?

A first call resolution rate between 70% to 75% is considered 'good' by industry standards, which means no more than 30% of customers should have to call you back regarding the same issue. That being said, your FCR estimate might differ depending on your industry and how complex your product is.

What Are the Benefits of Improving First Call Resolution?

The benefits of improving First Call Resolutions extend beyond customer satisfaction, impacting loyalty, operational efficiency, employee morale, and overall brand perception. Implementing strategies to enhance FCR is a valuable investment in creating a positive and effective contact center environment. Here are five key advantages: 

1. Elevated Customer Satisfaction: Enhancing FCR directly correlates with heightened customer satisfaction. When customer issues are efficiently resolved in the initial interaction, it minimizes frustration, demonstrates a commitment to service excellence, and fosters positive perceptions of the company. 

2. Increased Customer Loyalty: Improving FCR rates is instrumental in cultivating customer loyalty. Satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal to a business that consistently resolves their issues promptly and effectively, contributing to long-term relationships and potential repeat business. 

3. Operational Efficiency: A higher FCR rate streamlines contact center operations by reducing the need for follow-up calls and additional resources. This not only optimizes the use of agent time but also contributes to overall operational efficiency, potentially lowering costs associated with extended customer interactions. 

4. Positive Impact on Employee Morale: Efficiently resolving customer issues on the first call contributes to positive interactions and can boost employee morale. Agents experience a sense of accomplishment, and a positive work environment is created, which, in turn, can lead to higher productivity and job satisfaction. 

5. Improved Brand Reputation: A strong FCR performance contributes to an improved brand reputation. Satisfied customers are likely to share positive experiences, generating word-of-mouth referrals and positive online reviews. This positive reputation attracts new customers and bolsters the company's standing in the market.

The Link Between First Call Resolution Rate and Revenue

First call resolution rate is more than just a contact center metric — when you move the needle on your FCR, you can drive significant bottom line revenue for your organization. That’s because, when you resolve customer issues or inquiries during the initial interaction, you’ll improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal to your brand, leading to increased customer retention and recurring revenue. On top of that, a focus on first call resolution reduces the need for customers to reach out multiple times for the same issue, saving your company’s time and resources. 

8 Tips to Help You Improve Your First Call Resolution Rate

Let's take a look at how you can improve first call resolution, and how a revenue execution platform can help your customer service team drive better results.

1. Create an Informative Knowledge Base for Your Customers  

Often, customers will call you with the same questions, and it can be helpful to have clear, concise documentation at hand that addresses the most commonly-faced product issues. By investing in a comprehensive knowledge base, you are essentially creating an online library of self-service solutions that people can refer to for general how-to and support queries. Depending on your industry, you can also offer an online forum where they can get answers from their peers. When customers can find the necessary information online, they are less likely to overwhelm your contact center allowing your agents to focus on high-value calls.

2. Create Standardized Agent Scripts for the Most Common FAQs

Creating standardized agent scripts for the most common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) significantly enhances the efficiency of a contact center. By establishing talk tracks for routine inquiries, agents can resolve issues more promptly and consistently. Standardized scripts ensure that agents are well-prepared for common customer queries, reducing the time required to address routine issues and allowing for smoother interactions.

To execute this strategy effectively, it's important for teams to make ongoing updates to talk tracks, particularly as more complex issues arise. This adaptability ensures that scripts remain relevant and effective, empowering agents to handle a diverse range of customer inquiries with agility and expertise.

3. Service Callers More Efficiently With Intelligent Call Routing

The larger your company and the range of your offerings, the wider the range of customer service inquiries you will receive. To reduce the number of times a call is transferred between agents, it's important to implement a call routing framework rooted in intent or inquiry type. For example, you want someone facing billing issues to be routed directly to the finance department, instead of making a stop at the technical support or customer success team.

Invoca allows you to streamline your call routing in real time by using first-party intent data (like Google search keywords, website clickstream info, and other digital identifiers). The website tag captures numerous privacy-friendly digital intent data points as customers explore your website that can be used to inform routing.

Let's consider a scenario where the customer wants to cancel their order or subscription. They land on your cancellation page and call the number listed there. Invoca can use this data to automatically patch the customer through to the retention department to prevent them from jumping ship. Here, instead of making people increasingly frustrated with an IVR, you're anticipating their needs and potentially decreasing churn.

4. Capture Insights from Phone Conversations to Learn Common Problems

Revenue execution platforms like Invoca collect data-driven insights that highlight the motivations of individual callers (intent, outcomes, urgency, etc). When integrated with other technology platforms, including CRMs, ad platforms, and digital experience solutions, this information can be easily passed on to revenue-generating teams to facilitate real-time actionable results. For example, when marketing and customer experience teams have a steady stream of data on phone conversations from the contact center, they can optimize their digital campaigns and update the website to deflect calls.

For example, VITAS Healthcare used Signal AI to get a clearer picture of call activity, including words and phrases used on calls (by the families or referral sources) that convert to referrals. Previously, they were relying on call centers to relay this information and that was proven to be inaccurate. VITAS discovered a major disconnect between what people actually say on calls, and what they assumed people say. With Signal AI, they learned how customers actually described their services; the information helped them identify high-value SEO keywords and PPC queries to optimize their campaigns.

5. Automate Call QA to Get an Unbiased View of Agent Performance

Contact center QA is crucial to improving customer experience, boosting revenue, and minimizing operational costs while adhering to industry regulations. By automating QA, you are essentially compiling data about individual agents' productivity, including FCR metrics, to gauge the overall contact center effectiveness. You can analyze what makes high-performing agents successful, and implement improvement measures for agents registering low FCR rates.

Ideally, you should monitor, analyze, and score all your calls to identify blind spots, however, that's extremely time-consuming, if not impossible, when done manually. As a result, most managers evaluate only a small sample of calls, resulting in an inaccurate view of the agents’ performance.

Instances of explicit favoritism or bias may be observed, as the person responsible for scoring calls may dole out preferential treatment based on their perception of individual agents. Additionally, human error can come into play; making a fair, objective assessment, after considering all the complexities and nuances of a customer conversation, is not an easy feat.

To create an accurate, scalable, and effective QA process, one must turn to automation, and define a call scoring criteria that quantifies an agent's call handling ability. Invoca uses AI-powered speech analytics to evaluate all calls against your core KPIs, even if they are transferred to an external destination. As a result, you can review the recordings, transcripts, and scores right after a call ends, and identify agents that require further coaching.

6. Use In-Platform Coaching to Help Agents Reach Their Full Potential

It's not uncommon for contact centers to treat agent coaching as a one-way street; agents are told what they are doing wrong and how they can improve. Not only is this a rather demoralizing experience for the agents, but it's also inefficient, as you are spending more time micro-managing employees than getting to the root cause of the problem.

With Invoca's automated call scoring, agents can access their call scorecards, transcripts, and recordings. They can pinpoint any obvious weaknesses and easily level up their performance. Supervisors and QA leadership can share coaching tips, tricks, and best practices with the agents, or other departments through the Invoca platform.

Additionally, Invoca's conversation intelligence can analyze all your agent-customer conversations for non-compliant language. Since the analytics are shared immediately after the call ends, you can address these compliance issues right away, before they get out of hand.

7. Create a Recognition Program for Agents Who Go Above and Beyond

Establishing a recognition program for agents who go above and beyond in delivering exceptional service is a great way to foster a positive contact center environment. Recognizing and celebrating outstanding performance not only boosts morale but also creates a culture of excellence within the team. By acknowledging agents who consistently achieve high levels of First Call Resolution (FCR) or excel in customer satisfaction metrics, organizations can inspire others, driving a collective commitment to delivering outstanding customer experiences. Recognition programs can take various forms, including awards, incentives, or special mentions in team meetings, ultimately motivating agents to consistently go the extra mile for customers.

8. Measure CSAT and NPS Frequently

Sometimes, First Call Resolution rate doesn't tell the whole story — it's important to keep a gauge on other metrics as well so you can ensure every aspect of the customer experience is exceptional. Measuring Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS), for example, can give you deeper insights into customer perceptions and loyalty. Regularly tracking CSAT and NPS provides a real-time pulse on customer satisfaction levels, enabling companies to identify areas for improvement and promptly implement strategies to improve the overall customer experience.

Increasing FCR Impacts Your Company’s Bottom Line

Depending on the industry you're in and the products or services you offer, your FCR might be affected by several factors — however, by providing easy access to problem-solving information, empowering agents with cross-training, and implementing cutting-edge content center technology, you’ll be sure to move the needle on this metric. 

First call resolution rate is an extremely impactful metric to measure and optimize, as it has widespread affects across your entire organization. When you improve your first call resolution rate, you reduce operating costs, increase agent productivity, and ultimately, create seamless experiences that keep your customers returning again and again.

Book a personalized demo today to learn how you can use a revenue execution platform to improve your FCR.

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