FCR: What It Is, Why It Matters, And How You Can Optimize It

By Deon Nicholas

When agents are answering customer support questions and requests, they’re hoping for two things: to be able to answer in a timely manner and give the most accurate information. 

That’s because they’re focused on what your customers want. Your customers want quick, accurate answers. They don’t want to wait in queues for too long or get canned email responses telling them someone will respond within the next couple of days. To the customer, support is meant for now. 

The metric most important to customers looking for immediate help is your First Contact Resolution rate. Let’s discuss why FCR is so important, what it tells you, and how you can optimize your efforts to meet goals. 

What Is First Contact Resolution Rate? 

First Contact Resolution rate, or FCR, tells you the percentage of customers’ questions and requests that are being solved during a customer’s first contact with your support team. 

FCR is really a measurement for helpfulness. Resolving issues the first time means your team is accurate in their answers, which can sometimes be a challenge.

First Contact Resolution is sometimes confused with First Response Time (FRT). While FRT is a measurement for speed (how long it takes to get a response to a customers, your FCR measures accuracy (whether you were correct with the answer or not.) FRT measures the average amount of time between customer contact and agent responses. But as much as your customers care about speed, they care about accuracy more. 

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What Is Good FCR? 

To calculate First Contact Resolution, you’ll divide the total number of customer cases resolved on first contact by the total number of cases received that day, week, month, quarter, or year.

FCR = (Total Resolved Cases / Total Number of Cases) x 100%

You want your team to aim for high quality service that results in a low First Contact Resolution rate. This can be a little complicated to manage since support team leaders need to dig for the root of the cause if metrics are poor.

Industry standard for good FCR is between 70-75%. A good rule of thumb is the higher your First Contact Resolution rate the better. The closer your rate is to 100 the more accurately our customers are getting the answers they need the first time they contact your team.  

Why Is FCR Important? 

By tracking First Contact Resolution, you can check to see how efficient your team is at providing support, finding the correct information, and can help you indicate how satisfied your customers are with your company, product, or service.  

When you combine FCR with other metrics like Average Response Time (ART), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES), you’ll have a pretty clear picture of which Key Performance Indicators are making the most impact on your organization. 

Your customers will give you the feedback you’re looking for when they spend less time and effort solving issues with your product or service. Helping solve customer issues the first time they try to contact you highly impacts your customers’ satisfaction.

Challenges of Improving FCR 

It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how to improve your First Contact Resolution rate if you’re not sure of the root of the issue. You have to first figure out what is contributing to poor FCR for your team and how you can navigate that. 

If agents aren’t able to support customers, it may be because you’re seeing a large increase in support tickets, aren’t able to leverage the information in your organization properly, or aren’t sure what support agents need. 

You should ask a couple of things of your support team: 

  • Do your support agents have the tools they need to answer questions? 
  • Does our support team feel confident through their training? 
  • Where or what is our support team missing? 

You’ll be quick to find it’s usually a training or tools issue. Without the right tool to support your support teams, you’ll be slammed by support requests and unable to find a solution that can grow with your team. 

Improving FCR With Customer Support AI  

So what all goes into improving First Contact Resolution and in the end, your overall customer satisfaction and even their customer experience? 

Our answer: making sure agents feel supported with the right tools and training in place as well as have the time to focus on building ideas to improve the overall experience for everyone. 

Your org’s support team might be inundated with repetitive tickets that all require easy answers. Or maybe getting simple information out isn’t your problem and you’re looking to better leverage the tools you do have but aren’t sure how to. Maybe it’s both. 

Our suggestion: you implement customer support AI

Customer support AI can help you improve First Contact Resolution rate by automatically replying to your team’s most commonly asked questions. AI for customer support works by learning from your organization’s historical data which includes past tickets, internal knowledge centers, and any additional stored notes. 

By using AI for your customer support teams, you enable your customers to have access to the best answers while allowing agents to focus on more complicated support requests. 

AI for customer support can help you leverage your current tools while putting a better one in place to cohesively give you an idea for how to create overall success.

If you’re ready to take your support team to the next level by using AI-driven auto-triage for your customer support, we encourage you to book a demo.

Have questions? Browse our customer case studies. We have loads of information on how Forethought has changed support teams for a variety of organizations.

Dive in.

Interested in generative AI for customer support? Check out this guide to learn about the 3 key pillars you need to get started.

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