ASK SQD: Measuring First Contact Resolution
The “Ask SQD” column is a chance for you to ask for help with a particularly vexing problem. A panel of experts will provide a summarized, actionable response. Contact us if you have a question or a service-related story you’d like to share!

Question: I work in the Quality Assurance team for a Contact Center. We have been asked to start measuring whether our Customer Service Representatives are resolving issues on first contact from the customer. What’s the best way to measure this?

SQD Response: The measurement of resolving customer issues on first contact is typically referred to as “First Contact Resolution” or “FCR”. Alternatively, you may see “First Time Resolution” or “FTR”. The metric is typically measured following one of two basic options:
  1. Self-reporting with the Customer Service Representative (CSR) indicating whether or not the customer’s issue was resolved in the interaction, or
  2. Customer-reported through a survey.
A third option that is less basic but may offer more robust information for process improvement is whether there is a way to objectively measure: Did the customer receive accurate information, for example, or did the CSR provide information that will likely lead to another contact?

If you follow the CSR self-reporting approach, it is best to audit the results periodically (recommended monthly) to ensure accurate reporting. For example, pull a sample of support tickets and analyze to see if the customer contacted the Contact Center (or another department) again for the same issue. For telephonic and chat services, the expectation of FCR is that the issue is resolved before the customer hangs up the phone or the chat session is closed. For email services, resolution within one business hour is a standard expectation – at minimum, measure as resolution within 1 email response (avoiding iterative email strings) and within your resolution time SLA.

Historically, high rates of FCR have been correlated to high levels of customer satisfaction. In recent years however, we’ve seen emergence of the Customer Effort Score (CES) that may overtake FCR as a KPI in the Contact Center. The Customer Effort Score focuses on the amount of effort the customer needs to exert to get the issue resolved and can drive increased effective self-service opportunity development.

We also challenge you to think about how you might measure Issue Avoidance. For example, can you internally identify and resolve issues before they impact customers or before the customer is aware of the issue? What are steps you can take to proactively identify future needs and ensure they are being met?

Once you establish your metric(s), perform root cause analysis to understand how your measurement is affected by the type and complexity of your interactions, the knowledge of your CSRs, and other factors. Work to understand the reasons you are not achieving FCR where desired and then eliminate or mitigate systematic causes. The cycle of improvement through root cause analysis is the real value of the metric.

Good Luck!