Measuring First Call Resolution: More than Meets the Caller ID

First call resolution, or FCR, is one of contact centers’ most important metrics. The concept is simple, right? You just measure the rate at which contacts are resolved on the first call, without the customer having to call again, and you have your FCR rate. Okay, sure. But how do you know when the same customer calls more than once regarding the same issue? Here’s a hint: it isn’t by caller ID. Tracking calls by calling number yields too many false positives (a customer might call two times in a row for two completely different issues) and false negatives (a customer might call from home, then call again from a cell phone.) So how can you truly measure FCR?

Hear the voice of the customer. The best way to know a call is a repeat call is to listen to what customers tell you. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that, when a customer says “I called yesterday,” or “this is the second time I’m calling,” you have a repeat call. All it takes is good speech analytics software. This is the best way to avoid false negatives, and identify repeat calls regardless of the caller ID used in each case.  

Identify the customer, not the phone number.  What about repeat calls in which customers do not mention they already called? To cover these, rather than using caller ID, look for customer ID or, even better, problem or ticket ID. The best way to identify these is to peek at the agent desktop. Agents typically use a CRM application that shows the customer ID, account number or ticket number. This data may be “scraped” from the agent screen and associated with the archived customer call such that it can subsequently be used to identify repeat calls.

Measure first contact resolution, not first call resolution. Do you allow your customers to contact you via email? How about online chat? If you do any of those, you must measure first contact resolution across the different channels. A customer might send an email to address an issue, and follow up with a phone call if the issue is not resolved. Make sure you get a holistic view of the customer experience across all touch points, and that your agents truly do resolve customer issues the first time, every time.

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