First Contact Resolution (FCR) Defined

by | Jun 5, 2019

First Contact Resolution measures the efficiency and effectiveness of Support’s ability to provide the right answer the first time a customer engages with Support.

The Elements of FCR

The definition of FCR includes the following four key elements. Each element is explored in detail within the next section.

  • Initial Interaction – Initial Interaction defines what “first contact” means. Initial interaction clarifies when the “clock starts” for measuring FCR.
  • Resolution – The objective is to provide a solution to a customer issue and not just an answer. In order for FCR to provide an accurate measure of how many cases are truly resolved a clear definition of “resolution” is required.
  • Qualified Support Representative – The first person a customer interacts with many not be responsible for providing an answer to his/her question. The determination of who is qualified to provide support further clarifies which cases are included within the FCR measurement.
  • Assisted Support – This reinforces the notion that FCR is a metric for assisted support cases and not suitable for self-help interactions.

First Contact

The term first contact refers to the initial interaction between a customer and a qualified support representative.  During this initial interaction, the support representative provides a meaningful response to a customer question resulting in the case to be resolved.  An initial response can vary by support delivery approach.  Descriptions for when the initial interaction occurs by delivery model are presented below.

Model Model Description Initial Interaction Occurs FCR?*
Front-Line Triage Phone calls are answered by a non-technical team to determine which group or individual is best qualified to provide a response. When the call is answered live, or message returned by a qualified support representative.

Yes – If the case is resolved as a result of the initial conversation between the customer and the qualified support representative.

No – During the initial live interaction with front-line triage team.

No – If the case is NOT resolved during the initial conversation between the customer and the qualified support representative.

Call Back Customer leaves a voice message for an individual or support team. When the message returned by a qualified support representative results in a live conversation with the customer.  Messages left for the customer are not considered an initial interaction.

Yes – If the case is resolved as a result of the initial conversation between the customer and the qualified support representative.

No – If the case is not resolved during the initial live interaction.

No – If a message is left for the customer.

Phone or Chat / Direct to Rep Phone calls or chat requests are directed to individuals qualified to provide an immediate response to customer questions. When the call/chat is answered live by a qualified support representative.

Yes – If the case is resolve as a result of the initial conversation between the customer and the qualified support representative.

No – If the case is not resolved during the initial live interaction.

Electronic Customer issues are reported through electronic means (e-mail, web-post, social). When a message is returned by a qualified support representative containing a recommended answer or request for additional information.

Yes – If the case is resolve as a result of the initial message sent from the qualified support representative to the customer.

No – If the response contains a request for additional information / clarification.

*Note:  Initial interactions that provide customers with suggested solutions to issues, but the resolutions are not yet verified should be classified as “Pending.”  See the complete First Contact Resolution playbook for more information.

Resolution

A resolution and an answer are not the same.  A case cannot be considered closed when an answer is suggested but not verified.  These situations result in a case being classified as “Pending.”  If the answer provided is verified as the solution then a pending case can be classified as resolved at first contact.

For a case to be considered closed at first contact a customer must accept and acknowledge that there is no further expectation for continued research or alternative course of action.

The term resolution is easy to comprehend when there is a clear response to a customer question and the answer satisfies the customer issue.  As much as we would like to provide a satisfactory response to all customer questions there are situations where cases are closed even though the customer did not get the answer they were looking for.

The term “resolution” may therefore be misleading because not all cases can be resolved to the satisfaction of the customer. In these cases, resolution more accurately indicates that there is no further action possible.  The question or issue has been explored to the point where there is no reasonable course of action and does not warrant an escalation or ongoing investigation.  This is not a typical scenario for cases handled at initial contact, but it can occur – sometimes the answer is “no.”

Qualified Support Representative

Making a distinction for what is a qualified support representative allows the measurement of FCR to be free of non-technical interactions with customers.  Support models that rely on front-line groups to triage cases and then direct them to support representatives should begin their measurement of FCR when the customer is engaged with a support representative that is designated to assist them with their specific issue.

Assisted Support

FCR is specific to assisted support delivery regardless of the channel used to interact with a customer.  FCR may be measured for each assisted support channel individually or across all assisted support channels collectively.

Want to learn more?  Download the First Contact Resolution playbook.

Featured: First Contact Resolution

The First Contact Resolution playbook provides a step-by-step guide for defining and implementing a First Contact Resolution (FCR) metric.   The playbook defines a consistent and effective process to measure how efficiently each customer question gets to the person that has the skills, knowledge and tools to provide the right answer the first time the customer engages with Support.  The playbook offers practical guidance about how to measure and optimize FCR performance to improve customer satisfaction, NPS and increase overall support efficiency and effectiveness.

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