What Is First Contact Resolution?
First contact resolution, otherwise known as FCR, is a metric that deals with whether a customer has had their issue solved the first time or not. You can tell whether you have achieved a first contact resolution by asking the customer the following questions:
- Has your issue been resolved?
- Is this the first time that you have contacted us about this issue?
First contact resolution can be measured across various customer service channels such as:
- Phone: whether a customer’s issue has been resolved in one phone call
- Live chat: whether a customer’s issue has been resolved in one live chat session
- Email: whether a customer’s issue has been resolved in one email response
- Social media: whether your issue has been resolved in a single message
The definition of first contact resolution is constantly evolving. It was first coined as “first call resolution,” back when the telephone was overwhelmingly the most popular customer service channel. It has since shifted to “first contact resolution,” or even “first conversation resolution,” to encompass how customer service is changing in response to an increasingly internet-based culture (i.e. the emergence of live chat and social media as important customer service channels).
Why Is First Contact Resolution So Important?
Increasingly, first contact resolution is being recognized as the most important metric for measuring customer contentment. This is because, as the Harvard Business Review puts it, “delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does.” First contact resolution is a necessary part of reducing customer effort and increasing customer satisfaction.
And it’s not just the Harvard Business Review that has words of insight into the matter. According to TELUS International, a study conducted by Customer Relationship Metrics found that “CSAT (customer satisfaction) ratings will be 35%-45% lower when a second call is made for the same issue.”
First contact resolution is not just an important metric for the customer; it is also important to customer service agents. FCR can provide the following advantages:
- Customers aren’t always sunshine and roses—the longer a customer’s issue goes unsolved, the more likely you are to find yourself on the receiving end of his or her frustration.
- Ensuring first contact resolution helps avoid a congested queue and reduces your workload.
- Measuring first contact resolution can uncover agent training issues, and can help you get the resources you need to succeed.
What Can You Do to Optimize First Contact Resolution?
While you can’t force a customer not to blow up your company’s phone line, there are steps that you can take to better your first call resolution rate. We have compiled the following list of best practices to help you resolve your customers’ issues the first time:
1. Make First Contact Resolution a Priority
There are times when you just want to get a customer off the phone. Maybe your queue count is through the roof, and you’re already more than 15 minutes into a call or live chat. Or maybe your supervisor is telling you to hurry up and wrap-up the email that you have been carefully composing.
Whatever the case, in order to optimize your FCR, it is important that you make resolving the customer’s issue on the first contact a priority, not an option.
2. Be Honest and Direct with Customers
Sometimes you have to be the one to tell a customer something that he or she does not want to hear. Other times, your customer might want an answer that you don’t have.
Instead of trying to soften the blow with avoidance or fluff, it is important that you be honest with your customers. This means refraining from lying or withholding information from them.
The reason behind this call to honesty and directness is simple: By being transparent with your customers, you can avoid them contacting the company again in search of more information. Being direct also helps your customers view you as an authority on their issue, which increases your credibility in their eyes. As a result, when you avoid vague answers, fewer customers will call back to try and speak with another agent who they hope will give them the answer that they want, or who they feel may be more knowledgeable.