What is first contact resolution (FCR)?

First contact resolution (FCR) is a metric that measures how often your customers’ queries are resolved after their first call, email, text, or chat session with your company’s support team(s)

It provides a view on how efficient your company is at responding to your customers’ challenges. 

Unlike “first call resolution”, a similar metric, first contact resolution examines your success across all channels, not just phone.

What is the first contact resolution rate?

You calculate FCR by dividing the number of cases resolved on the first contact by the total number of customer cases:

[Number of customer inquiries resolved on first contact during a given time period] ÷ [total number of customer inquiries over same time period] x 100 = [% of first contact resolution]

In order to gather the data necessary for this equation, you should ensure you’re recording how often customers’ queries are being responded to on the first contact, and how many queries you’re receiving overall. 

One way of gauging that is by surveying customers after they contact customer support to check if their issues were resolved. You could also track how often your first- or second-tier support personnel had to escalate customer issues, or how often the same customers contacted your support team with similar questions.

“FCR success looks different for every organization”

Research shows that a 70-75% FCR rate is the baseline for most industries. That number could fluctuate wildly, though, depending on your product or service. 

If you sell a highly customizable product, for instance, where it’s difficult to offer “standard” customer support resources or self-service tools, your support personnel might deal with a larger volume of incoming requests.

If your support staff is dealing with niche issues, it might take more than one interaction on average to resolve a case.

FCR success looks different for every organization, but there’s no doubt that higher FCR equates to higher customer satisfaction overall.

What is a good FCR rate? 

The industry standard ranks a good FCR rate between 70-75% meaning 25-30% of your communications with customers can be categorized as repeat calls. 

Generally, the higher the FCR rate, the better. Determining how to improve FCR first requires some root cause analysis. You have to figure out exactly why customers aren’t getting a resolution on the first interaction, so that you can address it proactively for future interactions. 

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Determine what drives repeat contact. Is there a specific step, product feature, or challenge that customers still don’t understand after contacting your team? Or are repeat contacts taking place after customers engage with a certain channel (say, after attempting to troubleshoot the issue with a bot)? Digging into where customers aren’t having their queries answered will be invaluable to providing a more seamless experience going forward.
  • Clarify your messaging. Are there places where your message is unclear, vague, or too complex? Err on the side of caution, and remember, clear is kind. Providing your customers with direct instructions and clear paths to resolution will help mitigate frustration and challenges down the line. 
  • Improve customer service training for your support personnel. If your customers are leaving confused or unheard after speaking with your team, chances are there’s a misunderstanding on the best way to resolve common issues. Be sure to continuously use your FCR data to revisit training and equip your team with the internal documentation and resources they need to best support your customer base.
  • Create a more robust knowledge base for your customers. Your customers are savvy – more often than not, they can troubleshoot on their own. Know the data on which queries are most commonly asked by your customers, and create easy-to-find resources that answer their questions.
  • Ensure there are multiple paths to resolution. Offer your customers several ways to get support across a variety of channels (phone, email, text, chat, video, self-service, etc). 

Why is first contact resolution important?

The lower your FCR rate, the higher the likelihood of your customers growing frustrated. That leads to lower customer satisfaction and net promoter scores, not to mention the dreaded customer churn. 

Resolving customer issues during first contact means your customer support teams are working more efficiently and are therefore able to help more customers over the course of a day. Additionally, this kind of environment – where customer support personnel feel empowered, knowledgeable, and appreciated – leads to lower rates of burnout and less employee turnover.

With a higher FCR rate, chances are both your customers and employees will feel cared for by your business.

Intercom Support