First Call Resolution: How to Measure + 5 Steps to Improve

Iryna Koshelieva
Iryna Koshelieva
Senior Growth Marketer, Ring.io
First Call Resolution: How to Measure + 5 Steps to Improve

Business owners know that their success depends on customer satisfaction. No clients – no sales. That is why they also understand that giving everyone quality customer service is essential. So the contact center is a crucial element of it.

But how to determine whether your clients are satisfied and how efficient your managers are? There are a lot of different call center metrics which you can use, but FCR was recognized as one of the main among them.

What is the first call resolution (FCR)?

FCR stands for first call resolution. This is the percentage of customers who resolved their issues during the first contact with the support center. Thus, they do not need to call or text you again to try to solve the concrete problem.

The good FCR rate

There is a concept of a good level of FCR. It is commonly about 70-79%. Many call center leaders have this one, but 5% of those have a rate up to 80%. If a company has an FCR lower than 70%, its leader must consider improving it. We will talk soon about the reasons why to do this.

The formula of FCR

As you know, the percentage indicates what proportion of something larger is the part we have chosen. In our case, we are looking at the total number of inbound calls and finding those which have solved customer inquiries from the first attempt.

So, the formula of FCR is:

FCR = customers whose issues were resolved at the first call / all customers who had unique inquiries * 100%

Let’s simulate a situation. You had 1000 inbound customer calls in total last month. 700 of them were resolved during the first call. Then, your FCR is 70%, which is quite good, congratulations!

Negative factors which decrease FCR

But what if your rate is less than expected? Where should you try to find the problem?

SQM Group singled out 3 primary error sources and even found their frequency.

  1. Customer misunderstanding – 13%. It is sometimes hard to understand each other; therefore, it is not surprising that some customers are forced to call back to clarify details or receive additional instructions.
  2. A mistake of a call center manager – 38%. We are all humans, so errors are typical in reality. But it is crucial to decrease their count. So we’ll talk about how to do that next.
  3. Policy and procedures in the company – 49%. As you can see, almost half of all reasons a customer has to make more than one touchpoint to resolve his issue.

We can make an exciting and encouraging conclusion by looking at that data.

On the one hand, there are a lot of factors you cannot influence. For example, no matter how hard your managers try to explain something to the customers, there is always a chance someone will misunderstand and call back.

But on the other hand, you are capable of influencing several difficulties. First, we talk about the last source of errors. Your company’s policy is all in your arms if you are the business owner. If you are working as a head of the support department, you also have the power to improve your team’s workflow, which would strengthen your FCR.

Why is first call resolution calculation so important?

Are you not sure if you need to improve your FCR index and if it’s worth it? We have 5 compelling and well-reasoned arguments for you:

  1. 95% of customers continue to cooperate with companies with high FCR. The more your rate, the more clients will come back for your products again and again.
  2. A 1% increase in the FCR rate leads to increased customer satisfaction when interacting with you. When their inquiries are solved quickly, they are happy.So, you will be more successful in repeat sales, and you can also expect that they will recommend you to their friends.
  3. And not only customers will be satisfied, but also your employees, up to 5% for every 1% improvement in FCR. Will they work better and be more productive then? Of course.
  4. As a business owner, you will also have an impressive benefit. For example, your operating costs will reduce to 1% for every 1% increase in FCR.Let’s see how it works with a simple example.A support center received 1,000,000 calls per year, costing $5 each, and its FCR was 70%. It was good, but the company wanted to improve, so they increased their rate to 80%. Thus, the number of requests decreased by 100,000 calls, and as a result, the company saved about $500,000 in total.But they had to invest $150,000 to improve their working process and coach managers. So, their net savings are $350,000, and their ROI is about 230%.
  5. The FCR rate positively influences another important metric called transactional Net Promoter Score (NPS). It shows the customers’ satisfaction after concrete actions. In our case, after reaching the support center. And for a 1% improvement in FCR, you will grow transactional NPS by 1.4 points.

And one more thing. Some statistics show that 70% of those companies that track FCR have a 1 to 10% annual increase. And every 1% improvement gives an average of $286,000 in operational savings.

How to measure FCR?

You already know why you should measure first call resolution, don’t you? Now it is time to talk about how to do that in practice.

There are two main methods, internal and external measurement.

Internal measurement

This approach is based on the company’s opinion about whether the FCR rate has been achieved.

Commonly the main criterion is the customer’s callback for the same reason within a substantial period, on average 30 days. But it is sometimes difficult to choose the appropriate callback time, and there is no standard for this measurement. So, if you want to use it, you must create your system, depending on your business characteristics.

Another problem you may encounter is a conflict with external data, that is, the customer’s opinion about the success of your support center. When you use only internal measurement, you make your service less customer-focused. Thus, you risk falling into the category of poor customer service.

But there are also positive aspects of using this approach:

External measurement

In this case, customer feedback plays a crucial role in calculating the FCR indicator. Call centers with the external method use post-call and post-contact email surveys, or agents could ask customers if their inquiry was resolved at the end of the conversation.

The benefits of this type of measurement are:

  • more customer-service focused;
  • you have concrete data from customers, so your FCR will be more accurate;
  • it gives great insights for improving;
  • you know exactly why repeat calls are occurring, so you can adjust the FCR calculation system.

But external measurement is the most expensive method. You should also follow government guidelines to record calls or collect personal data.

Another issue is that some customers will refuse to complete quality of service surveys due to lack of time or other reasons. You can try to motivate them by saying that their feedback will help you to become better or just giving them small gifts.

Tips to improve your first call resolution

Improving the FCR rate is a complex task. So, you should be consistent and persistent in this process. We outlined five main stages and gave several recommendations for the implementation of each of them.

Analyze the current situation

Every path starts from the first step. But in which direction should you do it? You will find the answer only when you know where exactly you are at the moment. The following 4 questions will help you.

What is your current FCR?

Look at the number of repeating calls from one number within a specific period. Ask your customers whether they resolved their issues with one call or if they had to call again. Collect as much data as possible to have a complete picture of what is happening.

Why is that so?

For example, you found out your rate is 50%. We understand you are disappointed, but there is no time to be upset. So you need to take the next step because you lose your money and clients daily!

So, you should determine why your FCR is the way it is. Why do your clients call back?

In general, there are 5 main reasons for customer service inquiries:

  • to check the status of the unresolved issue;
  • due to disconnecting while being on hold;
  • agent’s lack of knowledge;
  • the request wasn’t made;
  • due to redirecting to a 3rd party.

What is your variant?

What are the most typical clients’ pain points?

All customers’ issues could indeed be segmented into several types. For example, tech trouble, price concerns, or lack of instructions that came with your product. When you see that many inquiries are the same, you should solve the problem, so your support center will receive fewer calls.

Set your priorities

If you are deciding what method to select, remember your main goal. For example, do you want to give good customer service or improve the efficiency of your support team?

The answer to this question will help you to choose the proper method. The external approach is more reliable and effective for improving customer service, and internal measurement will be enough to make your support department more professional.

Your main priority will also determine the KPIs which are matter. You should label them very clearly for your agents to avoid conflicting priorities.

Make things easier for your clients

Make sure the customer journey is well-organized

If you receive many calls with questions about your product, prices, or company, your customers do not have enough information. It shouldn’t be so. Instead, you need to determine at what stage you can answer these questions, so your clients will not call your support.

For example, give more information on your website. Write a few articles about your product, and provide instructions on how to use it and what benefits it offers. You should also have a clear catalog and explain how to order, pay and receive your product in detail. You can also use social media or send regular emails with helpful news.

Repeat Information

If the customer calls despite your improvements, your manager should give all helpful information or clear instructions on solving his problem. Moreover, he should repeat it twice and ask if everything is clear.

Follow up with dissatisfied customers

Don’t be afraid of those clients who are dissatisfied with the quality of your service or product. Firstly, this experience is temporary, and you can work with it to change for the better. Secondly, dissatisfied people will give you a lot of feedback, which will help you work on your mistakes. Thirdly, it will show those clients that you care about their troubles and will help you get closer to them.

Help your call center agents to give better customer service

Give all the information your managers may need

Sometimes, the support center is unaware of promotional offers, marketing initiatives, or nuances for the delivery or payment of goods. Don’t let that happen. Your agents must be armed with information and understand the details of the work of other departments.

Train your agents regularly

Use tools to record calls, so you can analyze them and change your strategy if it needs. Then, you need to convey this information to your employees so that each client receives the same quality service.

For example, you can use the Call Recording tool from Ring.io, which records all calls automatically and makes them easily accessible in your CRM system.

Repeat and reflect

Make sure that every manager follows the main instructions. If they are not, find out why it is so and try to solve the problem. For example, train that person properly or hire a new one if you see that there is no other way.

Reward your managers

Don’t forget to encourage your employees so that they have a greater desire to develop, learn, and work efficiently. Ideally, your managers should be interested in the success of your business like you are.

Optimize the workflow of your support team

Route customers to the right agents

Every agent has their own strong and weak sides. For example, someone knows everything about your product so that he can solve any inquiries about that. And another one is patient enough to explain why the price is ‘so high’.

So, organize your workflow to segment callers into several categories and route their calls to the appropriate managers. You can use interactive voice responses for this purpose. Ring.io also has an IVR feature that can even greet the caller by name and play audio descriptions of your company.

Automate your work process

You should be oriented on automation of all possible processes in general. The first reason is to make it more comfortable for your customers. They want to solve their problems quickly and efficiently, so help them do so. The second reason is to make your working process more productive and effective. Be sure that all your investment in automation will pay off handsomely.

Measure your progress regularly

Ask customers to leave feedback

Use any effective ways in your case (we’ve discussed them before). But try to get as much feedback as possible to calculate the most accurate first contact resolution rate.

Ask agents to evaluate one another

Customer service team members have the most important thing they can share – their experience. So, they could give an objective assessment of the work of their colleagues. But it is essential to organize the work of the team in such a way as to maintain respectful and friendly relations.

And the last thing we want to say. Don’t be afraid to change your approach to work if you want to improve. Follow our recommendations; your FCR will grow, and all costs will pay off.


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