In today’s competitive market, every business is focused on delivering excellent customer service. One of the best ways to ensure the same is by keeping track of the customer service level. While there are several Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that can measure customer service, one of them provides a clear indication of its effectiveness. And that is First Contact Resolution Rate (FCR).

What is FCR?

It is a well-known fact that solving issues in the first interaction will increase customer trust and satisfaction. First Contact Resolution Rate is a metric that measures the percentage of customer service issues that were resolved in the first contact. FCR is a metric that will directly indicate the efficiency of a customer service system, and it is a versatile metric that can be used for various customer service channels, i.e. calls, chats and mails.

How to calculate?

The following is one of the simplest calculations of FCR First Contact Resolution (FCR) = (Issues Resolved on First Instance / Total Issues) * 100 It is generally considered that a business with over 75% FCR will enjoy increased customer satisfaction. Even though the formula is simple, calculating FCR requires diligent tracking and discipline from customer service staff. Since some customers might report unresolved issues after a few days, businesses need to wait for at least a week before calculating the FCR metric.

Why is it important?

Since FCR directly calculates issue resolution efficiency, it becomes an important metric that helps businesses improve their customer service. Today’s customers do not like waiting. They want their issues resolved instantly. If issues are resolved faster, customers will be happy with the business. Therefore, we can clearly see that FCR is one of the very few metrics that has a direct impact on customer satisfaction.

In addition to increasing customer satisfaction, an increase in FCR also increases employee satisfaction. Generally, customer service agents spend more time on crafting multiple responses to resolve an issue. If customer issues are resolved during the first interaction, customer service agents will need to handle less calls, chats or mails. This makes the team more efficient and increases their satisfaction. Since businesses handle less interaction, FCR also helps the business save time and money.

Ways to increase FCR?

First and foremost, businesses should understand that it is impossible to resolve all issues in the first interaction. That being said, there are several ways they can train their workforce to increase their First Contact Resolution Rate. Some of them are listed below

• Know your Customer – When it comes to customer resolutions, knowing your customer is winning half the battle. Training agents to revisit the customer journey during the call/chat will help them understand the customer’s point-of-view and resolve issues faster.

• Understand the Issues – Most customer service resolutions fail because agents do not understand the customers’ issues clearly. Agents should take their time to properly understand the issue at hand before providing an ineffective resolution.

• Ask for Feedback – One of the best ways to know if an issue is resolved is by asking for feedback. Agents often forget to ask for feedback and presume that an issue is resolved. However, the customer might revisit after a few days feeling even more frustrated. This can be avoided by asking prompt feedback.

• Measure all Channels – This might feel redundant, but it is important to measure FCR rate across all available customer channels. This will ensure that customer service stays consistent across all service channels.

• Create a Knowledge Base – In some cases, agents might not have the knowledge to resolve an issue in the first interaction. If agents are expected to resolve issues faster, all available knowledge needs to be made available to them. By creating a centralized knowledge base, agents can easily learn things they don’t know. This knowledge base will also serve as a self-help option for customers and reduce the number of calls/chats/mails. This will further increase the efficiency of the customer service team.

• Empower your Agents – If your agents are not empowered to make decisions, they will spend most of the call/chat time asking for permissions. This will needlessly increase customer wait times and might even result in customer attrition. Therefore, agents need to be empowered to take decisions during a call, chat or mail.

Through this article, we learnt about First Contact Resolution Rate and its importance to businesses from all market sectors. This article also provides some guidance on how to increase the business’ FCR rate. We sincerely hope that this article will help emerging businesses improve their customer service efficiency.