Measuring and analyzing customer support performance can be challenging. The quality of a customer’s experience with your team is a bit more subjective than, say, the ROI of a marketing campaign, or the sales of a new product.
And when it comes down to it, the mark of a great support team is the ability to balance quality and efficiency. They can work their way through a queue of tickets at a steady pace, all while providing an excellent experience for each of those customers.
This means that to assess your team accurately, you need to take both sides of the equation into consideration. You need to track metrics that indicate the speed at which your team moves through inquiries, as well as the degree to which your customers are satisfied with the resolutions they receive.
One of the best metrics for both of these considerations is first contact resolution or FCR. But if you’re not yet monitoring FCR, you’re in the right place.
In this post, you’ll learn what FCR means and how to calculate and evaluate your score, as well as how to use that score to improve the customer experience your support team provides.
What is FCR?
FCR stands for first contact resolution. It’s also often referred to as “first call resolution,” and, in some cases, “one-touch resolution.” All these terms refer to the same piece of data—the average number of tickets that get resolved within the first response from a support agent.
And if you’ve ever worked in customer support, you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with this metric. It’s widely considered a standard metric for measuring team performance and is a popular one among team leads looking to establish a benchmark for employee efficiency.
That’s because it presents unique insight that other time-based support metrics can’t.
Metrics like response rate and resolution time focus on how long it takes support agents to respond to and resolve a ticket and typically get measured in terms of minutes or hours. But while they can give an accurate understanding of the length of time it takes your team to provide a solution, they don’t indicate how efficiently your team arrives at that solution.
FCR, on the other hand, focuses specifically on your team’s ability to deliver a complete, comprehensive resolution within a single response. And the more they’re able to do this, the more efficiently they can move through the company’s support queue.
How to Calculate FCR
If you’ve never used this metric to evaluate your support team’s performance, you might be wondering, “What’s the formula for FCR?” It’s a relatively easy one to calculate, as long as you have access to a few key help desk metrics.
That said, you’ll want to pay close attention to the time frame you use when determining your team’s FCR. To get an accurate rate, you’ll need to choose a period with no remaining open tickets.
If you attempt to calculate FCR for a time frame in which you haven’t fully resolved certain tickets, your data will be skewed and will essentially render your results meaningless. As a result, you’ll likely need to pull data from the previous week or month.
Once you’ve chosen the time frame, you’ll need to determine the number of tickets marked resolved after an agent’s first response (and not re-opened by the customer) as well as the total number of tickets resolved.
Divide the number of one-touch resolution tickets by the number of total tickets, multiply by 100, and you have your percentage. Easy!
But what makes it easier is that many help desk platforms now provide this metric automatically within their reporting interfaces. Some even calculate FCR for different support channels, ticket priority levels, inquiry types, and more.
This means that if you use a support platform with built-in reporting tools, you may already have access to this metric, without the need for manual calculations.
What is a Good FCR Score?
As with any metric, it can be challenging to get a sense of what your FCR means when you first calculate it. Without a concept of what other companies’ averages look like, it’s virtually impossible to even tell whether your score is good or bad.
That was one of the issues we wanted to address in our Customer Happiness Benchmark report. In this study, we analyzed support data from approximately 7,000 companies across 38 industries to establish concrete benchmarks for a few key support metrics.
We found that on average 71% of tickets were resolved in one response across all of the companies included in the study.
It’s important to note, though, that the average varies widely by industry. Hospitals and healthcare companies had the highest FCR, with an average of 83%, while companies in the banking industry scored just 55%.
And while our study didn’t reveal why these variances exist, it likely has to do with the nature of the inquiries these companies receive.
But surprisingly enough, we found that there wasn’t much variance between companies of different sizes. Small businesses averaged 71%, while enterprise-sized companies scored an average of 73%.
So even if your support team is relatively small, you can set your FCR goals high. And if you’re looking for data specific to your industry, you can find it in our Customer Happiness Benchmark report.
What does FCR Tell about Your Customer Support?
FCR can help you evaluate your customer support in a few distinct ways.
First, it can give you a general sense of the complexity of the issues your support team is receiving. After all, if you can resolve an inquiry with one response, it’s likely fairly straightforward.
If your FCR is exceptionally high, it indicates that many of the tickets you’re receiving have simple solutions. If your FCR is extremely low, on the other hand, it could suggest that your team is facing complex issues and inquiries on a regular basis.
Once you’ve calculated the rate, you can discuss it with your team to determine whether it’s an accurate reflection of overall ticket complexity. If your rate is low, you may need to assess whether there’s anything you (or other teams within your company) can do to reduce or eliminate those more complex issues.
Beyond ticket complexity, you can also use FCR to get a sense of your team’s efficiency. The more tickets each agent can resolve in a single interaction, the faster they’ll move through your queue. This means less waiting time for each of your customers, and less time spent on unnecessary back-and-forth messages.
How to Use FCR Results to Improve Customer Service
Any metric in your reporting strategy is only helpful if you’re able to use it to improve your performance. And with FCR, this is certainly the case.
First, you can calculate FCR for individual channels within your support strategy to determine which are the most efficient. If your email support has a higher FCR than live chat, for example, this signals that your team is better at providing satisfactory and comprehensive resolutions on this channel. You can then use this insight to structure your team and focus on the most efficient channels.
Beyond that, you can use FCR to establish clear-cut goals for your team. Measuring support can be a somewhat subjective undertaking, which doesn’t lend itself easily to goal-setting. But once you’ve calculated the FCR, you can use it as a benchmark of your current performance and use that benchmark to determine a reasonable goal for your team.
The clearer you are with your expectations and goals, the easier it will be to motivate your team to achieve them.
If you’re currently below your industry’s average FCR, this is a logical starting point for your team. Once you reach that average, you can set your sights on providing a better standard of service than the rest of the brands in your industry—and be more confident than ever that you’re delivering top-notch service.
Measuring and monitoring certain metrics is an essential step in the process of delivering excellent support. It’s the only way to accurately assess your team’s performance and establish a benchmark from which to improve.
And of all the metrics you could possibly track, FCR is one of the most valuable for any support team. That’s because it not only indicates how efficient your team is at delivering resolutions but also provides insight on how satisfied your customers are with the resolutions they receive.
Once you’ve established your team’s FCR, you can use it to set clearly-defined goals to work toward—which, as any support manager will tell you, isn’t always an easy process.
Plus, thanks to modern help desk platforms, it’s a relatively simple metric to track and analyze.
So if you’re not yet tracking FCR, there’s no reason not to start. Calculate yours today, and you’ll be taking the first step in providing a better support experience for each of your customers.
Main illustration done by Siddharth Kandoth