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Think back on your best customer experiences. What made them good? Some of my favorites are those that took the least amount of time. They were interactions where I could call customer service and get help ASAP. And, as it turns out, I’m not alone. For most customers, first call resolution (FCR) and fast service are a top priority.

As many as 71% of customers believe that a quick response from a customer service team drastically improves their experience. And today, customer experience is everything — driving referrals and customer loyalty.

According to Salesforce, 88% of customers say good customer service makes them more likely to buy again. And 75% have recommended a company based solely on excellent customer service. But the opposite is also true. Bad customer service is expensive, costing businesses as much as $1.6 trillion per year. To put that in perspective, that’s enough to buy every person in the state of Nevada a $500K+ house.

One place you can start enhancing your customer experience is with first call resolution. By improving your FCR, you’ll improve your CX and operational efficiency across the board.

Why is First Call Resolution So Important?

So, what’s the big deal with first call resolution?

FCR measures your ability to resolve customer issues in a single interaction. That means follow-ups aren’t needed. Your FCR is more than a number on a spreadsheet. It profoundly impacts your customer experience and operational efficiency, plus it has strong links to customer satisfaction.

For every 1% increase in FCR, companies can expect a 1% increase in their CSAT. And a higher CSAT leads to better customer retention, loyalty, and revenue growth. According to Forrester, companies that quickly resolve customer issues are 2.4 times more likely to retain those customers. And they’re 10 times more likely to receive customer recommendations when all inquiries are answered the first time

But a high FCR doesn’t just help bolster customer loyalty. It can also improve agent morale and productivity. Let’s say your agents can consistently resolve issues on the first call. Imagine what that means! They feel more accomplished in their work and feel empowered to help customers independently. Plus, they will be less stressed by unresolved customer issues. This helps support a better employee experience and a more efficient workforce.

From a business standpoint, improved FCR rates give you a critical competitive edge. Companies that prioritize FCR reduce costs associated with repeat contacts. Over time, they earn a reputation for reliability that sets them apart from competitors.

Want to learn more about the customer experience? Check out our blog post.

What is a Good FCR?

We all want to know how we compare to our competition. Tracking your call center KPIs and comparing them to your industry peers helps you know whether you’re killing it or if your team is lagging in performance. So, what is a “good” FCR? Where should you aim to be?

Firstly, it’s important to realize that first call resolution rates vary based on industry, call center function, and season. But, according to global research, the standard benchmark for a good FCR is between 70% and 75%. If you’re within that range, you’re doing a pretty solid job meeting customer needs.

High-performing call centers with high first call resolution rates have some similarities. They have skilled agents who have access to extensive knowledge bases and resources. Agents aren’t slowed down by red tape. Instead, they’re encouraged and empowered to work through problems on their own and solve issues on the first try.

Want to improve first call resolution in your call center? Here are a few best practices to get you started.

5 Best Practices for Improving First Call Resolution in Your Call Center

Achieving and sustaining a high FCR requires a proactive approach and a commitment to excellence in your operations. Enhance your customer experience and efficiency with these best practices.

1. Prioritize Comprehensive Agent Training

Agents need the proper knowledge, skills, and resources to handle customer issues promptly and independently. They should have everything they need to answer a variety of customer inquiries. And then, train, train. Don’t stop training at the end of onboarding. Consistent training programs ensure agents stay updated on products, policies, and best practices so they can perform at their best.

2. Streamline Processes

Clunky processes and workflows create friction in your agents’ experience and make it hard to achieve a high FCR. Optimize workflows and processes to enable swift issue resolution. Then, add intelligent routing systems, automation, and knowledge management tools to facilitate better call handling and decision-making.

3. Encourage Agent Empowerment and Autonomy

Do your agents feel like they need to ask permission or double-check with a subject matter expert for every interaction? If so, you probably have a low first call resolution rate. To boost FCR, empower your agents to make decisions and resolve issues on their own whenever possible. Providing agents with autonomy fosters a sense of ownership and accountability and drives them to deliver exceptional service.

4. Build a Robust Internal Knowledge Base

Build a strong internal resource knowledge base to support agents during each call. Agents need a place to go when they can’t answer a question off the top of their head. They need a way to get product or service information without asking another department and slowing the interaction. With a robust knowledge base and accessible training materials, you set your agents up for success in every customer interaction.

5. Invest in the Right Technology

It’s hard to track contact center metrics like FCR and CSAT if you don’t have the right technology. And if you can’t effectively track these metrics, how do you know where to improve? If your existing contact center technology doesn’t have data analytics and reporting, your first step should be finding a solution that does. Plus, the right technology (*cough* like Broadvoice *cough*) can go a long way toward improving agent productivity and streamlining operations.

With these best practices in your back pocket, you’re ready to elevate your FCR, enhance your CX, and stay competitive.

Are you ready to upgrade your contact center solution for insights into key contact center metrics? Chat with one of our consultants.

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