Customer Experience

Updated On: Apr 10, 2024

First Contact Resolution: Definition, Importance & Ways To Improve It

Reading-Time 15 Min

First contact resolution

In today’s world of ever-evolving customer demands, businesses must devise innovative ways to meet these customer expectations. One sure-shot way for businesses to stand out is to deliver seamless access to customer support without friction across touchpoints. 

With CX becoming a crucial business differentiator, focusing on the individual components like handling time and resolution rates that make solid customer experiences is the only way to go.

One such critical customer service metric to keep a close watch on in your contact center is first contact resolution (FCR).

And with businesses gradually adding new channels to their service mix, calculating your contact center’s first contact resolution rate will give you actionable insights into your support strategy’s effectiveness.

What is the First Contact Resolution (FCR)?

First contact resolution, or FCR, is the ease at which your customer service channels can effectively resolve a customer’s problem or doubt on the first attempt. This includes all your service channels like email, social media, chatbot, self-service portals, phone support, etc.

To measure the effectiveness of your service channels, you can calculate the FCR rate to extract the percentage of customer cases resolved in the first contact across service touchpoints.

A common misunderstanding is that first contact and call resolutions mean the same thing. However, while the former encompasses resolutions across customer touchpoints, the latter (first call resolution) only includes resolutions via customer calls and voice channels.

Why is measuring First Contact Resolution (FCR) important?

To gauge the effectiveness of your customer service, it is crucial to track key performance indicators (KPIs) that reveal insights into the efficiency of your support strategy. One of the most critical customer service metrics is first contact resolution, which indicates how easy, quick, and effective your problem-resolution strategy is.

The higher the FCR rate, the better it is for your contact center. A higher FCR rate testifies that your support team and self-service portals can successfully address customer problems on the first go without subsequent follow-ups. Your customers will appreciate swift and accurate help in a busy world like ours today.

How to calculate the first contact resolution?

The standard formula for calculating the FCR rate is given below:

First contact resolution formula

However, while the formula is straightforward, nuances like how to qualify a ticket as truly resolved and how long contact centers should wait to mark a ticket as resolved arise in the data collection process.

To avoid such roadblocks, clearly define how to track the different parameters needed to calculate the FCR rate at your contact center. Some helpful tips are listed below:

●   Set a specific benchmark time frame – if the customer does not call again within the set period, consider the ticket resolved

●   Ask the customer on call if they are satisfied with the resolution

●   Send out feedback surveys a few days later to see if the customer is happy with the resolution 

What is a good First Contact Resolution rate?

Like every customer service metric, FCR varies across industries and the methods used to measure it. A standard FCR rate is usually between 70-75%. Only about 30% of customers (at most) should return to you for repeat resolutions.

However, as companies collate data differently to get insights into their first contact resolution, the rates will naturally differ from one business to another, even in the same industry.

3 Challenges to achieving a good FCR

Research shows that 83% of customers feel more loyalty towards brands that listen to and resolve their complaints. More so, brands that solve their problems effectively in the first go. However, there are challenges that businesses face that affect their first contact resolution rate. A few are listed below:

1. Scattered product and process information

Businesses deal with tons of data daily. If this data is scattered across multiple sources, it leads to data silos, affecting democratic knowledge dissemination. As a result, your support team struggles to find the information they need at the right time for effective problem resolution.

2. Disconnected support channels

In today’s digital world, businesses continue adding new channels to their service mix to serve customers across touchpoints. However, if your service channels are not in sync, it will lead to inconsistent knowledge distribution.

Consequently, this will result in confusing and contradictory brand messaging that will reflect poorly on your customers and their interaction with your brand.

3. Inefficient self-service channels

Modern customers are becoming increasingly self-sufficient each day. In fact, over 80% of customers try to resolve their own problems first before contacting a service rep.

But the challenge arises when customers cannot find the information they need on your website, forcing them to contact your support team directly.

Perhaps your website help center is not easy to navigate, or your public KM platform is not loaded with content that customers find valuable or helpful. Either way, this leads to a bad customer experience that could harm your business.

Now that we know the challenges impacting your contact center’s FCR rate, let’s consider how to improve it.

Looking to improve FCR?

Learn how Knowmax helped a leading fintech improve its FCR by 12%.

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6 Ways to Improve First Contact Resolution (FCR)

1. Offer omnichannel customer support

Modern customers are now accustomed to real-time responses, so they are no longer used to viewing brands as siloed entities. With omnichannel customer support, customers experience your business as one seamless unit without disconnecting in their customer journey, irrespective of the channel they opt for.

An omnichannel support strategy ensures all your service channels are synced with the most updated information. So whether your customer opts for email or live chat support, they will receive consistent knowledge access all around.

For instance, a knowledge management solution like Knowmax effortlessly allows for consistent and seamless knowledge dissemination across your service channels to enhance first contact resolution. 

Knowmax omnichannel content distribution

2. Employ visuals for faster and more accurate problem resolution

Everyone processes and engages with information differently. One proven method of improving communication significantly is stimulating visuals like pictures, videos, GIFs, and animations.

By incorporating visuals in your support content, consumers can avoid reading lengthy texts and documents. Instead, clear visuals aid in conceptualizing and visualizing the exact problem better to provide effective resolutions. In addition, complicated processes also become easier to understand with the help of visuals.

With Knowmax’s visual guides, you can embed visual media in your support content to enhance the problem-resolution process with clearer and faster support.

With picture guides, your agents can quickly identify your customers’ problems and guide them with the right steps to fix their issues. These guides can also be sent to your customers’ email as videos for future reference.

Knowmax visual guides

3. Organize complex customer service processes into guided workflows

SOPs and business policies ensure a business is operating smoothly. However, they can only be effective if they are used efficiently.

Often, support agents land in difficult situations when they try to decipher complex troubleshooting processes, especially under tight deadlines. Finding an easier way to tackle these complex processes will make your agents’ lives easier.

With Knowmax’s decision trees, you can break down complex SOPs into the next-best actions for accurate troubleshooting. This helps your support team deliver quick, mistake-proof support, decreasing handling time.

You can also interlink any content with a decision tree step to ensure that all the information your support needs is easily accessible in one place. This way, your support agents can deliver seamless support without searching for relevant information for effective problem resolution.

interactive decision trees sofwares to create agent scripts

4. Ensure operational efficiency with integrated systems

All contact center technology should be integrated for smooth operational efficiency to ensure no disconnect or disruption in customer data flow and exchange. This is crucial as it ensures that support teams get all the data and information they need in one place to solve any customer problem effectively.

Knowmax’s chrome extension makes knowledge exchange seamless from your knowledge repository to the agent screen. Agents can access any content piece with a simple search on the widget.

This feature reduces the friction in toggling between multiple tabs and screens to get the relevant information for support. With these minute distractions out of the way, agents can focus on delivering customer support anytime.

knowmax chrome extension

5. Optimize knowledge base for self-service

Data by Harvard Business Review shows that up to 57% of customer service calls come from customers who have already tried to use self-service options. This implies that most businesses must optimize their external knowledge base for customers to effectively self-serve.

To ensure that your self-service software is efficient, always stock up your knowledge base with up-to-date, quality content that serves your customers’ search intent.

Some best practices for an optimized knowledge base include:

●   Organizing information structurally with appropriate tags and subheadings to increase its findability

●   Leverage customer data to prepare help content like FAQs, guides, and articles

●   Incorporating an intuitive search feature to make content easily discoverable

●   Conduct thorough content audits to ensure that there are no loopholes in your knowledge base content

6. Invest in agent knowledge and training

As the backbone of customer service, agents constantly deal with different customers for innumerable support scenarios under high-pressure deadlines. To help your agents rise to this tremendous challenge, providing proper training and resources will ensure they are well-equipped to handle any support case.

Knowmax LMS

With digitalization transforming businesses’ operations, agent training is now easier and more efficient than ever. eLearning provides all the benefits of thorough training programs with lowered costs and in-person training challenges.

Knowmax’s lite LMS integration allows you to create training resources and quizzes to check your agents’ proficiency at their job. This way, you can invest more time in agents who need extra help and train them to become efficient problem solvers.

Bottom line: As agents deal with customers directly, investing in their knowledge and skills will improve their efficiency at solving customer problems, resulting in better first contact resolution rates.

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Summing up

First contact resolution (FCR) is a crucial customer service metric that reveals how efficiently your support team resolves your customer’s problems in the first go. While FCR varies from company to company, higher FCR rates convey greater problem-resolution efficiency.

With the right customer service tools and a solid customer service strategy, your team can scale how they deliver support to make it quicker and more accurate. Higher resolution rates can boost your support team’s morale and keep your customers happy.

Pratik Salia


Pratik is a customer experience professional who has worked with startups & conglomerates across various industries & markets for 10 years. He shares latest trends in the areas of CX and Digital Transformation for Customer Service & Contact Center.

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