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It's Time to Get Serious About FCR

by Rosanne D’Ausilio, Ph.D., President Human Technologies Global, Inc.

Once again it is time to revisit FCR.  There are quite a number of new studies and statistics, which I will cite below.
Enkata’s white paper (2009 reports that only 40% of centers are measuring FCR, SQM Group puts the percentage at 50% (SQM’s World Class Call Center Book excerpt, p. 1), and less than 20% are measuring FCR for all of their calls according to a study by ICMI (International Customer Management Institute).

It was further noted that 65% of all repeat calls are the result of agent errors.  For instance, if an agent:

  1. Doesn’t give a confident answer
  2. Doesn’t set the proper expectations
  3. Doesn’t follow through on a commitment
  4. Simply gives the wrong answer

A typical customer will not call back.  Not only does this keep costs high, but it decreases customer loyalty and increases turnover.  In addition, SQM Group suggests there is a 20% point drop in customer satisfaction for each additional call required to resolve the customer call. (SQP Group, FCR 2008, p. 3)  Additionally, customers who did not get their call resolved are 5 times more likely to defect than those who had their call resolved (p. 5).
On the other hand, improving FCR can

  1. Reduce overall customer calls
  2. Decrease rework
  3. Improve service
  4. Enhance customer satisfaction
  5. Up-sell and cross-sell opportunities
  6. High value customer interactions
  7. Take customers from satisfied to loyal

Six Common techniques for measuring FCR according to Service Agility (, March, 2009, p. 17)                            




1.  Agent self-reporting

- Ease of implementation

- Minimal investment required

- Agent bias

- No way to correlate to customer callback on the same issue

2. Ask caller at end of call

- Based on customer’s perspective

- Minimal investment required

- Customer may not know if the issue has been resolved until later

- No way to correlate to a customer callback on the same issue

3. Quality Monitoring System

- Utilizes existing formalized quality program

- QA team can validate all agent activity, including communication to customer and accuracy of documentation and follow up

- Ability to analyze results by call type and identify process improvement and call center training opportunities

- Ability to provide FCR-focused feedback and coaching to the call-handling agent

- Can be costly to get significant sample size

- Based on subjectivity of QA team

4. Post-call surveys (IVR)

- Provides immediate feedback from the customer’s perspective

- Moderate investment required

- No bias if customer opts for survey

- Ability to provide FCR-focused feedback and coaching to the call-handling agent

- Customer may not know if the issue has been resolved until later

- Agent bias if it’s their option to offer the survey

5. Post-call surveys (follow up call)

- Provides immediate feedback from the customer’s perspective

- Moderate cost to support

- Ability to provide FCR-focused feedback and coaching to the call-handling agent

- Customer may not know if the issue has been resolved until later

- Difficult to reach customers
6.  FCR-tracking technology

- Measures performance by call type

- Identification of process improvement opportunities

- Ability to track FCR by call type

- Major investment required

- If customer calls back from work, cell phone or other phone number data may not be captured

Research by TARP Worldwide found that agent self reporting typically results in 20% higher FCR than customer reported methods--reinforcing the importance of using several measuring techniques, like those suggested above, and then correlating the results, identifying the gaps, and initiating adjustments as needed.  By evaluating the types of calls that are not resolved on first contact, you can determine common causes and revamp training, workflow, and coaching accordingly.

In order to truly calculate FCR, you need to know 3 things:

  1. If it was the same caller
  2. If it was for the same reason
  3. If it occurred within a present callback time window

Top organizations recognize that agents are the true customer contact experts in the center.  Therefore, encourage your agents to make suggestions, as well as offer feedback in support of FCR success.

We believe the best practice for measuring FCR is:

  1. Ask the customer – ultimately they are the determining factor
  2. If the customer completes a survey, there should be questions that ask, “Was your call resolved?” and “How many calls did you made to resolve your call?”
  3. If the customer said the call was resolved in one call, then that customer experienced FCR
  4. If the call is transferred and the next person resolves the issue--without the customer having to call back--it is still FCR.  The customer only made the one call.

FCR is still the #1 driver of customer satisfaction.   Don’t be one of the 50% or 60% of organizations not measuring FCR.  Remember what gets measured gets managed, and what get managed gets better.

About the Author
Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D., industrial psychologist, President of Human Technologies Global, Inc., specializes in human performance management for contact centers, providing needs analyses, instructional design, and customized, live, world class customer service skills trainings.

Known as 'the practical champion of the human, she authors the best-sellers, Wake Up Your Call Center: Humanize Your Interaction Hub, 4th edition, Customer Service and The Human Experience and Lay Your Cards on the Table: 52 Ways to Stack You Personal Deck, and hot off the press How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: 101 Insider Tips as well as her popular ‘tips’ newsletter on How To Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch! available at Reach her at