First Call Resolution Guarantees Excellent Customer Experience, Or Does It?

Gary Schwartz

Some might argue that First Call Resolution (FCR) should be top of the agenda in the call center environment but traditional Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are not always the best way to measure customer experience excellence.

Call center metrics have historically measured on average call handling time, and their associated costs. They have also focused on metrics that are easy to capture: call abandonment rates, time to answer a call. These metrics are expected to provide information about levels of customer satisfaction but FCR—determining whether a customer’s problem was resolved on the first call—is not conclusive.

Call centers that handle a large number of fast and simple queries (such as directory enquiries), could, in theory, measure customer satisfaction by using First Call Resolution but it is not suitable for more complex enquiries or disputes when resolution is often dependent on actions that take place well after the call (for example, sending a customer a new ATM card).

Transferring a call to another call handler outside the center does not mean that the customer regards their query as resolved, just passed on. What is resolution to the company may not be resolution for the customer.

A large British retail bank nearly made the mistake of assuming it knew what its customers’ priorities were and was prepared to focus on reducing the time it took for a customer to get to a live person. Fortunately they asked their customers first and learned that customers don’t care how long they have to wait in a call queue, so long as their problem is resolved on that call. This led to a feedback program in which the very first question measured the customers’ views on call resolution.

Given that it is becoming increasingly important to view the world from your customer’s perspective, the only real way to find out if an enquiry was resolved the first time around is to ask the customer directly.

Companies should be measuring what is important to the customer if they want to track customer satisfaction or identify agents, processes or policies that make a real different to customer experience. Measuring customer attitude is the best way to find out if a customer is satisfied or dissatisfied. Responding to customer feedback and resolving issues quickly and thoroughly after each interaction – even if this takes more than one call - is the only way to improve customer loyalty and improve customer retention rates.

First published on Call Center IQ