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Is FCR a contact center metric anymore?

December 15, 2017 Amit Kachhawa

First Call Resolution metric measures the number of calls completed within a single contact between an agent and customer. This is an important performance metric which measures the quality of services provided in the contact center which lead directly to exceptional customer service. In particular, the FCR percentage indicates the ability of the contact center and its’ agents to resolve caller issues on the first call preventing a customer from having to call back into the center.

With the growth of contact center services, First Call Resolution has expanded to include all contact points with customers like social media, email, website and sms chats. It is now referred to as First Contact Resolution, which is the perspective we will carry forward in this article.

Why measure FCR?

  • Quality Measure
     
    Your contact center exists to provide quality customer care services for your clients. Today’s connected customer has high expectations of service and an informed pathway to your competitor. FCR is an important metric to use when measuring the quality of services provided by the contact center.For example, if the FCR rate is high, it means that customer issues are resolved during the first contact, thus leading to a satisfied customer. The higher the first contact resolution rate, the higher customer satisfaction levels should be. When FCR rates are low, you will have frustrated customers who are not getting their issues resolved effectively and efficiently.Important to note is that, the FCR rate will most like never be 100% due to misdirected calls and customers needing other departments for help.  Ways to decrease these issues and drive your FCR rate higher is to better publicize and itemize the routes for assistance or to create Universal Agents who are trained to handle all customer contacts.  While some levels of escalation may still be necessary for some issues – Tier II or III tech support for example – multiple call resolutions will be reduced.
  • Training Needs Identification
     
    Training is a key element for the success of your contact center. By tracking and analyzing the FCR rate you will be able to identify trends in information gaps that require immediate training for sub- groups of agents. For example, if your FCR percentage is very low, it may mean that the agents do not have the necessary knowledge and competencies to handle customers. Third party monitoring of your customer contacts will further highlight problem areas.
  • Provides Data For Root Cause Analysis
     
    When a customer contacts you, they have a pressing issue that needs resolution — the root cause. By analyzing the areas driving a lower than expected FCR rate you can identify the knowledge or process variances and provide solutions that eliminate the problem.

Potential Downfalls of an FCR KPI:

  • Does Not Allow For Complexity
     
    Since each customer contact is a branding opportunity, it is important that the agent understand that satisfying a customer need is a higher priority than meeting a KPI for First Contact Resolution.  Guard against placing so much emphasis on meeting this KPI that an agent feels pressure to give faulty information in order to provide resolution.  There will be a certain percentage of calls that require escalation or transfer to another team to fully resolve the customer’s issue.
  • Increase In Talk Time
     
    There will be instances when transferring to another team is the most efficient use of the agent’s time.  Agents who struggle trying to take care of issues that they are not adequately equipped to handle, will see an increase in average talk time.Increased contact time increases the operating costs of the contact center. High operating costs affect the profitability of the center.
  • Diverse Measurement Ways
     
    There are various ways to measure First Contact Resolution. In addition to traditional CTI and chat platform methods to gauge multiple contacts, three emerging measurement vehicles are social media tracking, post contact surveys, and third party monitoring. In our current environment, unsatisfied customers express their frustration to a mass audience by a single social media posting.  If you do not have a process in place to monitor social media, you could miss the opportunity to reach out to unsatisfied customers and provide resolution.Post customer surveys and third party monitoring also provide valuable feedback on customers’ attitudes toward their engagement with your center.  These two methods can identify specifics around the engagement and provide important information to bridge knowledge and process gaps.

In summary, we have looked at some reasons why measuring FCR – quality measure, training needs identification and root cause analysis data, are important to your center.  We’ve also briefly touched on some of the cons – does not allow for complexity, increase in talk time and the various measurement ways.

FCR is an important metric to measure the effectiveness of a contact center and customer satisfaction. However, it should not be used in isolation. Best results will come when it is combined with other quality metrics, service metrics, efficiency measures and profitability measures.