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What is the definition of first contact resolution and why is it so important?

The definition of first contact resolution (FRC) is exactly how it sounds. It is having the ability to resolve a customer's issue with a single interaction, this could be a single phone call, email or online chat. A first contact resolution eliminates the need for a second follow up. The FCR metric itself is calculated by the percentage of enquiries that are dealt with in the first interaction. 

First contact resolution

The techtarget definition of first call resolution (now more popularly known as first contact resolution) is:

“…properly addressing the customer's need the first time they call, thereby eliminating the need for the customer to follow up with a second call.”

It goes on to say “Talk time (the average time an agent spends on each call) is a common call center performance metric. In general, fast talk time averages are desirable. However, fast talk time averages accompanied by poor first call resolution rates are a sign that customer calls are not being answered satisfactorily.”

The first contact resolution metric is key to achieving high customer satisfaction

If your call centre can achieve a high first contact resolution rate, then the chances are, your customer’s satisfaction will also be high. Issues nowadays are expected to be resolved quickly and with minimal customer effort; if a customer is having to ask the same question multiple times to different people, their satisfaction levels will likely plummet. For this reason it is vital that customer service advisors have the expertise, systems and support to solve customer issues first time round. A good first contact resolution rate shows customers you are capable and empathetic to their needs, and that they can trust you to help in the future.

Complaint-Handling-case-study

How does having a good first contact resolution percentage help your business?

The main improvement you can expect to see from an enhanced FCR is reduced customer effort scores, and increased customer satisfaction. In a study, conducted by Customer contact research and consulting firm Service Quality Measurement (SQM) Group, they stated that for every 1% improvement in FCR, you will see a 1% improvement in customer satisfaction. 

On average a consumer must call a company 2.3 times before having issues resolved. This may not sound like a big deal, but crucially future purchase intent drops from 76% to 55% with a second call. (Portland Research Group | secondary source). Eliminating the need for that second interaction and reducing customer effort can have a significant impact on sales.

What first contact resolution rate should I be aiming for?

There is no ultimate FCR rate that can be simply compared across sector or service types for these main reasons:

  • FCR rates are closely tied to the nature of the service. FCR will naturally be higher in contact centres handling fast or simple queries or transactions (e.g. directory enquiries, ticket sales or information requests) and lower in centres handling a wider range of complex enquiries (e.g. insurance claim, policy renewals etc.).
  • FCR is not a performance contact measure such as speed of answering a call, but is related to consumer expectations created through their experiences of contacting various kinds of organisations. As such, FCR measurements are not understood as clearly as Performance Measurements and as a consequence are not built into systems that calculate them automatically.

In developing a target FCR rate then it is important to look at similar types of organisations with similar customer profiles to your own.

How can you improve your FCR?

From our own experience, the best methods for improvement is to have a high level of employee engagement. As recognised in the Report to Government ‘Engaging for Success’, it is only the organisations that truly engage and inspire their employees which produce world class levels of productivity, performance and, in this instance, a high FCR rate. 

To learn more about engaging your employees to improve first contact resolution, download an extensive guide entitled “Engaging for success: enhancing performance through employee enagement” below. (this guide) Written for the UK Government, Unipart Expert Practices’ work is included within the report.

Better outcomes and improved financial Performance Understand the link between  enhanced performance and employee engagement, the barriers and how you can make  engagement work.   Read the report now: Engaging for Success

To speak to one of the Unipart team about how you can achieve a better FCR, get in touch with us using the form below.

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