The first contact resolution (FCR) metric can be used to measure customer inquiries that could be resolved at the first contact. The first contact resolution addresses the need for customers to have solved their individual problem directly at the initial contact with the company. If a customer contacts the customer service center via telephone, email or chat, the FCR records precisely those communication situations in which the customer has been completely satisfied and no further customer service is necessary.
The initial solution rate is an important metric for call centers and customer support of mostly larger companies as well as SMEs, such as IT companies, banks or telecommunications companies. The initial solution rate is also an indicator of a good customer experience and satisfied customers or high CSAT rates (customer satisfaction). The FCR also indicates that customer service is effective, processes customer requests with high quality, and uses its budget efficiently. Alternatively, it can also be called FCR rate or first call resolution rate.
The first contact resolution rate can be measured using different criteria, which may result in different definitions.
The first definition is considered to be the standard, while the second one excludes cases where tickets need to be reopened. Strictly speaking, multiple customer requests, holding loops or call-backs do not count as first contact resolution. In individual cases, the definition can be adapted to the real processes in the company. Forwarding to certain departments is often unavoidable. The same applies to waiting times. Depending on how the first contact resolution is defined, different processes and related customer service agreements result. Customers should generally not have to call or contact the company in any other way for the same reason.
The FCR can be recorded in different ways:
Originally, the FCR rate only related to customer contacts over the phone, for example, in telecommunication companies. In the course of multichannel marketing and the technological possibilities of CRM systems, the FCR rate range was transferred to other channels in online media as well. If the FCR is implemented across the entire channel, an increase in customer satisfaction is very likely, provided the correct conclusions are drawn from the KPIs. Various studies show a direct correlation between improvements in FCR rates and the number of satisfied customers.
The objective to resolve customer inquiries at the initial contact usually results in the customer experience being quantitatively and qualitatively better. Customers no longer have to call or write multiple times and they will be immediately presented with a solution if possible. If not, such examples may be derived from the positive FCR statistics, but that does not mean that improvements are impossible. Regardless of whether customer requests can be answered immediately, a positive customer journey remains the ideal target. This includes deeper problems that require time, resources and multiple customer contacts.
The problem is internal processes which are handled by various employees and partly also in the infrastructure. The employees depend on access to all data, problem solving knowledge, and authorizations. Usually an employee takes the call and forwards the request to a technical department, without, for example, sending the data record along with it. The customer has to repeat their request and wait for a well-trained employee. Voice dialog systems (IVR), automated call distribution (ACD) and the connection to CRM software can also prevent the processing of a customer request. In particular, queries that do not fit into the pattern of the process are unsuitable for fast processing at the first contact. Interfaces to CRM, ERP or business intelligence systems are sometimes missing.
The first contact resolution rate is the standard for customer support in larger companies with a call center and standardized processes such as ITIL. But in online marketing, the FCR rate is only used to a small extent although it poses different advantages. The possibilities for tracking customer and user behavior are much greater in online media. Tracking, web analysis or dedicated customer empowerment are relatively easy to implement without losing sight of data protection and user privacy. Graphical user interfaces and the entire program dialog can be customized so that the first point of contact facilitates the processing of a request and will result in a positive customer journey during the interaction.
In online marketing, the customer experience can be influenced at almost every contact point. Even simple information on the company website or from the knowledge center in the support department can satisfy an informational search contact by customers and generate a positive customer experience. The purpose would be keeping user requests low with user-friendly technology, helpful content, or self-service tools. This enables you to control customer service utilization and at the same time, costs. However, the FCR rate refers only to one aspect of customer service, the first contact. In order to improve the quality continuously, other metrics are important, including customer satisfaction, cost per contact, average handling time, possible requests for other contact points, value, or the number of tickets that are reopened (reopened tickets). The weighting can be done individually.