Calls and tickets are essential concerns of IT managers. Excellent customer service, efficient response and fast resolution indicate your department is running smoothly or your company is excelling. Therefore, one of the most important metrics in IT services is First Call Resolution (FCR).
First Call Resolution measures the rate of problems resolved after the client’s first contact with your team. FCR will allow you to understand if your support team has the autonomy and the capacity to solve problems and if internal processes are easy enough to optimise your team’s work.
If you have a low FCR, your team might need more time to be ready to solve problems, or processes are too complicated, slowing your service down.
This article will teach you how to measure and achieve FCR, improving your service and your relationship with clients.
How to measure First Call Resolution
To learn what is your company’s FCR, you need to divide the number of problems solved in the first contact with the client by the total number of tickets opened.
For example, if you received a total of 200 calls in the month of February and 160 of the problems were solved right away, your FCR is 0.8, or 80%.
What seems to be simple maths might get complicated if it is unclear what solving a problem is or what exactly a resolution means. How can you be sure a client was left happy and satisfied after a first contact?
The best way to do it is to implement a client satisfaction survey after problems are solved. It can be a simple questionnaire in which clients will say if their problem was solved, if customer service was helpful and if they are happy with the resolution. Depending on how the first contact was done, you can send the survey via SMS or email or ask them to stay on the line after the assistance call has ended.
In a survey, you can also ask if people would recommend your business or how likely they are to become clients again. All of these questions will help you measure not only your FCR but also other important metrics for your IT service.
What are the benefits of achieving and monitoring FCR?
Monitoring your FCR allows you to identify problems that might slow down your service, so you can work to improve them. If the FCR rate is not clear, issues that could easily be solved can take up more time and causes problems in resolving more complicated cases.
Good customer service is essential to the success of any IT business or department. According to Microsoft’s Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report, 97% of people say customer service plays a very important role in deciding to work with a brand or a company, and 62% of people say poor customer service leads them to end relations with a brand.
Not only that, the report shows that one of the most frustrating things customers have to deal with in the United States and the United Kingdom is to be passed between agents. In the UK, 23% of respondents said having to contact the company multiple times to resolve the same issue is a source of irritation. These are issues that can be addressed with a reasonable FCR rate.
Once you identify why your customers might have to contact your company or department multiple times or speak with too many people, you will be able to devise solutions to optimise your service.
Furthermore, a good FCR rate also means your team is performing efficiently, which also means your business is more lucrative.
What influences your FCR?
Many factors can influence your FCR rate, bringing it up or leading it down. Here are some of the factors you should consider when assessing your First Call Resolution rate.
Knowledge and technical capacity of your team
A knowledgeable and technically capable team will resolve issues at first contact. People that don’t have the capacity to deal with certain problems will have to pass them on to the next person.
When analysing your FCR rate, you will be able to assess how often the first respondent team needs to get help from someone else. If your initial team is qualified and prepared to deal with most issues, your FCR rate should be high.
Call waiting time
People don’t like waiting too long to resolve an issue. If your clients need to stay on hold for a long time, they will most likely give up and end up calling again later. This means your FCR will be low. Your team won’t even have the opportunity to try fixing an issue on the first call.
Call waiting time can be fixed with automation or even self-serve solutions that provide clients with enough guidance and information to resolve minor issues themselves.
As mentioned above, people don’t like waiting. If your company’s processes mean longer waiting times, lengthy requests forms, or even a complicated process to open a ticket, your FCR will suffer.
If you wish to improve your First Call Resolution rate, be sure your processes are streamlined and as automated as possible.
Access to information
A fast response rate depends heavily on what information your team can access.
If procedures prevent your team from accessing the relevant information they need to fix issues, your FCR will be low.
It is also important to consider what people needing assistance will have to inform when requesting help. Ensuring that data, such as what assets a user has, what software they are using, and what services they require, can be maintained within a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) will improve an agent’s ability to resolve issues.
Complexity of the problem
Sometimes, problems will be more complicated and difficult to resolve, and your customer service will invariably have to involve more people or more calls to fix the issue. That is only a problem if you are receiving more complex calls than easy-to-resolve problems.
If that is the case, you might need to understand what the main problem is, why people are facing so many complex issues and what can be improved to avoid these situations.
Fixing problems quickly requires familiarity with processes, requests and technologies. A constantly changing team will have a hard time understanding your client’s needs.
An efficient team is a team that can solve problems without involving other people. However, to do that, people need autonomy.
If you have a low FCR rate, it might be worth looking at what your team is allowed to do on their own or how often they are required to ask permission or check if they can do something.
How to improve your FCR rate
Now that you understand everything that could be influencing your FCR and how important the measure is to your company’s success, you can start taking the steps necessary to improve it.
Of course, it will all depend on how you monitor your FCR and what you have identified as an opportunity to improve. However, some tips you can follow will likely increase the number of problems resolved after the first call.
Provide reference materials
Some problems can be straightforward and quick to resolve, but your team might not be prepared for them. By providing reference materials or knowledge articles, you prepare your team to solve these problems, even if they are not trained or don’t feel they are capable of resolving them.
Written materials focused on helping employees also address the issue of a high turnover. New workers will be able to consult the guides you provide and quickly get to work.
Many ITSM tools now use AI to automatically recognise the issue that the user is experiencing and provide the agent with the correct knowledge articles that detail how to resolve the issue.
There is no need for certain problems only to be resolved by one specific employee or for every ticket to go through a dozen stages before someone addresses the issue.
The more streamlined your processes, the more efficiently your team will work. Give your team enough autonomy to solve everything necessary.
Keep monitoring the FCR
To increase your FCR, it is important that you are aware of what your rate is and what the opportunities to improve are.
Every time you make a change or try to improve something, it is worth verifying if the FCR has changed. Without constantly monitoring the metric, you won’t identify what has made a difference and what might have made things more difficult.
Monitor unresolved issues
If your FCR is not 100%, it means you have problems that are not resolved at the first call. This is an opportunity to assess what these issues are and why they were not immediately resolved.
Was it a matter of lack of knowledge? Lack of autonomy from your team? Was it the client that did not provide enough information? Was the waiting time too long? These are all possibilities. Monitoring these issues will give you an answer to what needs to be improved.
Define goals and targets for your team
Every improvement requires goals and targets. Determine what you aim to achieve when it comes to your FCR and work towards this goal.
Metrics are essential to understand the development of your department and your company, indicating what must be addressed.
Pay attention to feedback
Your clients’ feedback is key to improving your employees’ performance and understanding that the entire process is working correctly.
Paying attention to whatever feedback you might receive will also improve your customer service. Ask your clients to give you their opinion on the service you provide, and use this information to set your goals.
Improve your recruitment process
Finding the right professionals is also important in improving your customer service and FCR rate. Ensure you are looking for the right people and hiring qualified personnel to handle the number of requests you receive every day.
Implement an ITSM approach
Information Technology Service Management, or ITSM, is a strategic approach to IT, improving your company’s services.
With an ITSEM system, you can define roles and responsibilities, determine priorities and create a better flow of communication between your teams. As a result, you will have optimised processes.
A high First Call Resolution rate is a sign that your IT company or department is working efficiently and can solve problems easily.
FCR is a crucial metric for customer service, which in turn is an important factor in the success and growth of a company.
Many different issues might affect your FCR rate, and constantly monitoring and understanding these possible problems will give you an idea of what you can do to improve.
As with any other essential metric, the FCR rate needs to be assessed frequently and understood, so you can set clear goals and identify opportunities. The FCR can be improved with better processes, a properly trained team and tools that can help you determine roles, priorities and problem areas.