How to Boost Your First Call Resolution Rate (+ Benchmarks)

In customer service, there’s nothing more important than achieving an excellent first call resolution or first contact resolution rate (FCR).

It’s the superhero of customer satisfaction, swooping in to save the day and keep customers happy. 🥰

But what does the first call resolution rate mean?
And how do you calculate it?

Let’s jump in and learn everything about the first call resolution rate, including industry benchmarks, benefits, and best practices for improving your FCR rate

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What Does First Call Resolution Rate Mean?

The first contact resolution rate measures your customer support team’s effectiveness in resolving every customer issue on the first phone call.

For instance, a customer calls your service desk with an internet connection problem. 

A competent customer service agent listens carefully, troubleshoots the customer inquiry, and resolves it during the same phone call — no callbacks needed!

That’s what the first call resolution metric is all about. ✅ 

Is it a Relevant Metric to Your Business?

The FCR metric is relevant to any SaaS-based business that resolves customer complaints, answers inquiries, or provides technical support via a call center or help desk. 

Why Is it Essential? 

It enables them to evaluate the quality of their service delivery for every customer inquiry and identify areas for improvement.

As a result, you can: 

  • Increase customer loyalty.
  • Generate repeat business. 
  • Garner positive word-of-mouth recommendations and many more benefits (more on these shortly).

Not to mention, a high FCR rate leads to lower customer call volumes and workload (because of fewer follow-up calls), improving your team’s overall productivity and efficiency.

But on the flip side, a low first contact resolution rate means you’re not meeting customer expectations, resulting in dissatisfaction and frustration.😒

Bottom line: A high FCR not only delights customers with speedy solutions but empowers employees to deliver exceptional service and feel fulfilled.

Ready to see how your customer support team stacks up regarding first contact resolution?
Then get ready to calculate the FCR metric.

How to Calculate Your First Call Resolution Rate? 

To calculate the FCR rate, you can use the following formula:

FCR Rate = Total number of issues resolved on the first call / Total number of calls received * 100

For example, if your team resolved 80 out of 100 customer calls on the initial contact, your FCR rate would be 80 / 100 x 100 = 80%.

However, defining “resolved” may vary depending on your industry and issue type. 

Some companies only consider an issue resolved if it’s fully resolved, while others settle for temporary resolution or customer satisfaction. 

Companies may even measure the customer effort score (CES) to understand the overall customer experience better.

How Often Should You Measure Your FCR Rate? 

The frequency at which you should measure your FCR rate depends on several factors, including:

  • Nature of your business.
  • The volume of customer interactions.  

That said, the resolution of a call is often determined by assessing the customer’s behavior. 

For example, certain businesses may consider a call resolved if the customer refrains from initiating a follow-up call within 30 days. 

Alternatively, post-call customer feedback surveys are employed by organizations in certain instances.

That’s why understanding industry benchmarks is crucial in accurately evaluating your team’s FCR rate.🕵️

Does Your First Call Resolution Rate Meet Industry Benchmarks?

While the average FCR rate hovers between 70-75% across all industries, it can vary depending on call complexity, customer service level, and organization or contact center size.

To provide a clearer picture, here are the FCR benchmarks by call type: 

  • Inquiries: 74%
  • Account maintenance: 73%
  • Orders: 72%
  • Billing: 71%
  • Claims: 59%
  • Complaints: 47%

And here are some industry-specific FCR benchmarks: 

  • Retail: 78%
  • Insurance: 76%
  • Energy: 71%
  • Financial: 71%
  • Call Center: 71%
  • Technology: 65%

Achieving an excellent first call resolution (FCR) rate can bring several advantages for your customers and your organization.

Let’s explore them in more detail. 

5 Benefits of a Good First Call Resolution Rate

Maintaining a good first call resolution rate can offer you the following five benefits

1. Improved Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty

Resolving customer queries on the first call can eliminate the inconvenience of customers having to call again, repeat their issues or wait on hold. 

The outcome is you have a satisfied customer, which enhances the probability of customer loyalty and referrals.🤝

2.  Increased Agent Productivity and Efficiency

A high FCR rate minimizes the issues escalated to managers or team leaders.

It may also reduce the average handle time and the need to transfer calls to another contact center agent.

This directly impacts the productivity and efficiency of your customer service team as agents can handle each customer request effectively, ultimately saving time and resources.

3. Lower Call Volume and Operational Costs

When you meet customer expectations, they are less likely to contact your customer service team again for the same problem.

Eventually, this may lead to shorter wait times and lower call volumes, reducing the need for additional resources. 

The result? 
You can lower operational costs while maintaining high customer service levels. 

4. Higher Sales and Revenue

Providing excellent customer service can significantly boost brand reputation and revenue growth.

Here’s how: 

  • It increases customer satisfaction, resulting in positive word-of-mouth marketing. 
  • It gives each agent more time to identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities. 

But more importantly, it improves customer retention and reduces customer churn rates.

5. Better Insights Into Customer Needs and Preferences

With a high FCR rate, agents have more time to understand customer needs, resulting in better insights into customer preferences. 

This can lead to personalized customer interaction, increased customer satisfaction, and targeted marketing campaigns.

By now, you’ll have realized the significance of a high FCR rate. 

But look: It’s essential to have effective strategies to achieve a good FCR rate.

So stick with us because we’re going to show you how! 

5 Best Practices for Improving Your First Call Resolution Rate

Here are five first call resolution best practices to help fine-tune your call center performance, elevating your FCR rate to new heights:

1. Monitor and Analyze Customer Feedback

Getting direct customer feedback after each customer interaction is the best way of gauging customer satisfaction and overall customer experience.

You can obtain this feedback through various channels, such as call recordings, post-call surveys, or follow-up emails. ✉️

Upon analysis of the feedback, providing targeted training to agents and improving the overall contact center operations can demonstrate your commitment to delivering top-notch service.

2. Empower Your Customer Service Representatives

Empowering agents with decision-making authority and issue-resolution capabilities can increase their flexibility in finding tailored solutions prioritizing customer satisfaction. 

Moreover, it can improve morale and job satisfaction, resulting in higher engagement at work. 

However, providing the necessary training, tools, and knowledge base to manage every customer issue effectively is essential to foster this sense of empowerment.

3. Use Call and Skills-Based Routing

Call and skills-based routing can be incredibly effective in improving FCR rates.

Here’s how: 

  • Identify the most common types of customer queries and the skills and experience needed to resolve them. 🛠️
  • Create routing rules that direct customers to agents with the right skills and experience.🔀 
  • Connect customers to the agent with the right skills and experience to resolve their issues on the first call. 😎

4. Implement Self-Service Options

Implementing self-service options on your IVR system (Interactive Voice Response) can significantly enhance the customer experience.

For instance, customers can quickly obtain account information, status updates, or order tracking without requiring the assistance of a customer service agent. 

The outcome? 
It reduces the call volumes agents handle, allowing them to focus on more complex issues that require a human touch.

This can boost customer satisfaction or net promoter score (NPS) — the likelihood of customers recommending your company’s products or services to others.

5. Set Realistic Goals and Benchmarks

Establishing realistic goals and benchmarks is paramount in achieving a good FCR rate. Here’s why: 

  • Provides clarity of direction and focus, allowing you to channel your efforts toward achieving specific objectives. 
  • Creates well-defined expectations and measurable metrics for customer success, enabling you to assess agent performance and make data-driven decisions. 
  • Serves as a powerful tool in identifying areas for improvement, like additional training, process improvements, technology upgrades, or enhancing your overall contact center performance.
  • Motivates and inspires your team to improve their performance and strive towards achieving customer success. 🏆

Unlock the Benefits of a Good First Call Resolution Rate! 

Improving first call resolution rates is critical to increasing customer satisfaction and revenue while reducing operational costs.

But remember: To measure first call resolution rates, you need to calculate and compare your contact center’s performance against the relevant customer call or industry type.  

What if your FCR rate is low? 
Simply follow the five best practices we put together and watch the magic unfold!

About the author

Startup Voyager is a content and SEO agency helping startups in North America and Europe acquire customers with organic traffic. Our founders have appeared in top publications like Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Inc, Huffpost, Lifehacker, etc.