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Here’s a story about success: A customer calls your call center. They tell the agent answering that they have an issue with their service. The agent attempts some standard issue resolution procedures, but recognizes he cannot do anything so he transfers the call outside the call center to a different department. Call resolved.

Here’s another story: A customers calls about a billing problem. The agent assures the customer it has been resolved. 2 days later, the customer receives a phone call asking if the billing problem was resolved. The customer says yes even though he hasn’t gotten his bill yet, assuming everything was done correctly by the agent. Call resolved.

By now you can see where I’m heading. First call resolution is a powerful metric, but only if it is used carefully and measured accurately.

Failures in Finding First Call Resolution

A good deal of call centers fail to measure FCR. A 2010 study conducted by the Ascent Group found that many companies are not measuring First Call Resolution and would like to. Yet there are many challenges in measuring FCR and the study found greatly varying First Call Resolution tactics from company to company.

Most call centers measure First Call Resolution or FCR simply by whether the customer call was completed with the agent. When used inappropriately, it doesn’t measure what it’s truly aiming for–issue resolution. First Call Resolution is more difficult to measure than easily quantifiable statistics like average queue time, cost per call, or call durations. Yet FCR can tell a lot more about the effectiveness of a call center than these simpler operational metrics. Improving First Call Resolution can help you reduce operating costs, improve satisfaction, increase cross-sell opportunities, and improve employee satisfaction. For example, the Service Quality Management Group, a call center industry research provider, found that only 1% of customers who had their calls resolved the first time were at risk to go to competitors versus 15% for those with unresolved calls.

So How Do I Measure FCR?

The most important thing is to see resolution from the customer’s eyes. An issue isn’t resolved unless it’s resolved in the eyes of the customer. That is the ultimate decider of performance. Focus on measuring whether the customer’s issue was resolved, not simply whether the call was forwarded somewhere else or some action was put in the queue. The most important tool in measuring First Call Resolution is the post call survey. Ensure that this survey doesn’t occur too soon–if actions still need to be taken on the customer account then wait for those to be completed.

Another information channel that can contribute to a full view of First Call Resolution is the internal view of FCR. Agents should keep logs of what they did and what happened. Your call center should also monitor repeat call statistics and monitor call quality. These can help you improve your processes and identify why calls aren’t being resolved.

Remember these two key questions when determining First Call Resolution:

  1. Does the customer think the issue is resolved?
  2. Do you think the issue is resolved?

Also remember metrics only tell you one piece of the picture. View your performance from multiple viewpoints–that’s the only way to really see how your call center is performing.

 

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