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What is the correct definition of First Call Resolution?

1. Q. What is the correct definition of First Call Resolution?

A. The correct answer is # 3.  Any call that is answered and solved without any further work required before the phone is hung up.  (i.e. The call is solved between the time it is answered and the phone is hung up without a call transfer, call back or follow-up email sent.)

If someone else is involved on the call who works in the same group, even if it is a warm transfer, this is called First Point of Resolution NOT First Call Resolution.

Some companies exclude calls from their metrics they know for a fact can't be resolved on the first contact. (i.e. hardware repair). Some call centers assume that if they tell the customer they need to call a different department, this would be a resolved call.  Both of these examples are deceiving ways to depict First Call Resolution.

What FCR is not

1. A call that required a callback to the customer, though it never left the frontline team to get the solution identified.

2. A situation where a ticket is opened and closed, though it has been escalated to a vendor or another department for resolution.  The situation is not closed in the customer’s mind.

3. A case where the solution is not resolved fully to the customer’s satisfaction but considered done given certain criteria (i.e. customer called about a problem with their order – an answer is offered and the issue closed, but they still don’t have their order).

If a call is being resolved with a call back, but does not leave the frontline, this is called First Point of Resolution (FPR).  There is a difference and it is key to your measurements and customer satisfaction levels.

So why are these semantics so important?  The industry suggests that 80% FCR is the best practice.  I propose that many help desk groups are measuring this inaccurately.  Many call centers are measuring FCR correctly but may be closing requests before the customer’s issue is closed.  The impact to the business overall is very high.  If you think you are solving calls at a high First Call Resolution rate but not actually doing so on the first call, what is the true impact on the cost of the call and to the customer’s satisfaction level, retention, and loyalty?

The industry suggests that for every call not solved on the first call, three to five more calls are generated.  This represents calls back to the user, which may take multiple attempts as you call them and they call back playing telephone tag, testing suggested solutions, chasing down other people who need to get involved, etc.  The cost per call is known by you to be somewhere between $10 – $100+ (estimate includes call centers and help desks).  The cost of one call is now three to five times the cost had it been solved on the first call. 

You can measure this effectively using your technology.  You must count how many calls are outbound, and be sure people are not using other lines to make the call backs or your numbers will be skewed.  You will find by providing the tools, training and staffing, with the most skilled staff members on the frontline, you can contribute significantly to the bottom line. 

What if you could eliminate 2 out of 3 calls to your group?  What if you could decrease your outbound calls to less than one half of what they are today and solve a higher number of calls on the first contact.  You will find fewer staff members will be necessary, that the workload can be balanced more effectively, and that the customer satisfaction levels will increase significantly.  The intangible numbers represent exponential amounts.

The question is: Are you measuring FCR correctly.  Could it actually be FPR and not FCR? 


How to truly misrepresent FCR statistics. We found these un-edited comments on a Blog where people were responding to the question about "how to measure FCR".

  • "Why don't you take those calls out of the equation first and then measure your performance on the actual number of calls that do fit your FCR spec."

  • "I have a similar situation, where the business rule(s) dictate that certain enquiry streams and/or types must go to the respective team concerned. I exclude these from my FCR stats, and therefore get a true reflection of the controllable FCR I deliver."

  • "The best way to measure FCR is to ask the customer in your customer satisfaction surveys how many times they needed to contact you to get a solution to their problem."

Cost of not delivering FCR

First Call Resolution – introduction to Quality Management



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