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Tracking First-Call Resolution in the Call Center

In an ICMI research report published in early 2011, we found that first-call resolution (FCR) wins out as the key measurement for success in call center efficiency but less so as a customer satisfaction metric. 
Our research showed that FCR goals are aided by centers allowing their agents to work outside the script to satisfy customers on the first call (82.4%).  But FCR goals are hit-or-miss for many centers, with most centers keeping transfers under 10% while more than a third transfer or escalate more than 11 percent of calls or don’t know their transfer rates.
Just to back this up, a recent ICMI QuickPoll showed 58% of centers measuring FCR.
We see a different story, however, among some of the top-performing call centers, those centers that have made it into the semi-finals and finals for Global Call Center of the Year 2011. They’re not only monitoring FCR, but they’re making sure that their scores are accurate, with technology and by letting the customer tell them so. We won’t call out their specific practices, but we can look at their practices regarding FCR as a group. 

Ensuring that the Call Center Delivers on FCR

Many of our Global Call Center of the Year candidates are tracking FCR, and they’ve got performance scores in the mid-80%-mid-90% range. How do they know this is accurate?
Many calls centers today that are focusing on FCR are using technology that tracks repeat calls that occur within a designated time frame after the initial contact came in. Setting the proper time frame is important. For example, did you give the customer enough time to try the solution? 
Some of those centers are pairing repeat call tracking with their quality monitoring technology and feedback, as well as with speech analytics technology. 
Voice of the Customer
Those centers and others are using FCR tracking reports, quality monitoring and speech analytics with their voice of the customer (VOC) programs. In some cases, VOC collection falls under technology, but here, let’s look at it as a process, including post-call surveys, complaints and comments. 
It’s very powerful to match up data across several points to determine if the call center is actually delivering on its FCR goals – for the center’s efficiency and for customer satisfaction. The point here is that customer satisfaction, FCR and quality scores should be pieces of the same picture for contact centers – they all go hand in hand. Brand management doesn’t want to know about FCR or quality scores, and they misunderstand the value of customer satisfaction scores without these two key pieces.
What top management wants is customer retention at the lowest possible cost. Combining FCR and quality scores with CSAT scores allows the center to get an accurate performance picture while understanding ways to increase retention and cut cost by eliminating unnecessary calls or customer defection.
Look for upcoming spotlights on how individual top-performing call centers are succeeding with FCR.