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The Pro’s Guide to Measuring & Improving First Call Resolution Rates

This article was published on July 9, 2024

First Call Resolution (FCR) is an essential metric for any customer service team, as it directly relates to customer satisfaction and overall efficiency. Plus, measuring and improving FCR rates means your business can improve customer experiences, reduce costs, and increase loyalty.


This guide will explore effective methods for accurately measuring FCR and actionable steps to improve it, helping your business achieve higher efficiency and customer satisfaction. Keep reading to discover how to master FCR for optimal results.

Photo of a smiling female call center agent sitting at her computer and talking to a customer through her headset. In the backgound, a small series of purple vertical lines run across the frame, representing communication.

What Is First Call Resolution (FCR)?

First call resolution (FCR) is a key metric in customer service that measures the percentage of customer issues resolved during the first contact without the need for follow-up interactions.

Essentially, first call resolution means you can measure the efficiency and effectiveness of your support team’s ability to address customer inquiries promptly.

FCR is crucial for your call center analytics, as it allows you to evaluate both customer satisfaction and call center efficiency. After all, your customer service representatives need to identify and address common problems quickly. This improves customer experience and frees up your agents to handle more calls.

High FCR rates indicate that customers are receiving quick and comprehensive solutions, while low rates suggest improvement may be needed in your call processes or agent training.

Why Is First Call Resolution Important?

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Now that you have a first call resolution definition, it’s time to find out why it’s so important. First, measuring FCR directly impacts your customer satisfaction rates or CSAT scores.

How often have you become annoyed at calling a support team multiple times over one simple issue? When issues are resolved on the first contact, customers experience less frustration. They’ll also see the service you provide as efficient and effective.

This positive experience can increase customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth referrals, which help boost your company’s reputation. For example, a subscribing SaaS (software as a service) customer who receives a solution to their software problem without needing to call back is more likely to give your agent a high customer satisfaction rating and keep their subscription longer.

Smoother Customer Journey

Reducing the number of interactions a customer has to go through to resolve their issue means the customer journey has been smoother. That’s because streamlined customer service processes minimize customer effort and confusion. They haven’t had to clear several obstacles — searching online for answers, placing multiple calls, joining live chats., etc. Instead, the issue is resolved right away.

If customers don’t have to repeat their issues to multiple agents or wait for callbacks, they’ll see quicker resolutions and undergo less hassle. Tracking FCR will help you identify and remove common obstacles in the customer journey so you can offer a more straightforward path to resolving problems.

Improved Agent Morale

Agent morale is essential in any call center. First call resolution, which means resolving customer issues on the initial contact, boosts agent morale by providing a sense of accomplishment and reducing the stress of handling repeat interactions.

This positive feedback loop also encourages agents to maintain high performance and efficiency — so it’s a win-win for all involved.

Finally, measuring FCR helps managers identify training needs and provide appropriate support. We’ll discuss this in more detail below, but for now, it’s worth stressing that with appropriate training that empowers agents to do their jobs, you can boost your agents’ confidence and effectiveness.

Efficient Resource Allocation

Efficient resource allocation is important in any business, not just a call center. However, understanding how well and quickly issues are resolved on the first call can also help you better allocate your support resources, such as staffing levels and training programs.

For example, if certain issues are consistently unresolved in the first contact, additional training or resources, such as in-call scripts or more accessible knowledge banks, can be created to address these problems.

This targeted approach helps optimize the use of resources in your call center and ensures that support teams are well-equipped to handle inquiries.

Reduced Costs

When you minimize the need for follow-up interactions, you automatically reduce operation costs. If issues are resolved on first contact, the call volume decreases, leading to lower labor and operational costs.

For example, a contact center that resolves 80% of its issues on the first call will experience a significant reduction in the number of calls per customer, leading to lower staffing requirements. Additionally, reduced call volumes free up agents to handle more unique or complex inquiries.

This streamlined process not only reduces labor costs but also decreases the expenses associated with training new agents to handle an increased volume of calls.

Increased Customer Retention

It’s not surprising that customers who have positive experiences are more likely to remain loyal to your business. After all, satisfied customers are less inclined to switch to competitors, leading to higher retention rates.

Better customer retention isn’t only about resolving problems right away. Measuring FCR helps businesses identify and address pain points. Improving FCR means improving your entire approach to the customer experience — and making your customers more loyal.

Enhanced Decision Making

One of the other benefits of first call resolution is that it helps you identify trends and common problems that both your customers and your customer support agents are facing. This information then helps you make informed decisions, which can range from training and resource allocation to product development.

For example, suppose FCR data reveals that a particular issue is frequently unresolved in the first call. In that case, you can proactively address it, such as updating FAQs or providing additional agent training. This data-driven approach ensures that decisions are based on real-time insights rather than guesswork.

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How To Measure First Call Resolution

How do you calculate first call resolution? Calculating first call resolution is typically done using this formula:

FCR(%) = (Total Resolved Calls on First Contact / Total Number of First Calls) x 100

For instance, in a contact center for a financial services provider using Vonage's communication solutions, if out of 1,000 initial calls, 800 were resolved during the first contact, the first call resolution formula and result would be:

FCR(%) = (800/1000) x 100 = 80%

SQM Group’s 2023 study found that the average FCR rate across industries is 68%. But this varies from industry to industry. For example, health insurance contact centers have an average FCR rate of 68%, while retail is at 77%.

Data Sources for Measuring FCR

  • Agent Feedback: Agents can provide insights directly to their managers on whether issues were resolved during the first call. This is a simple way to acquire first call resolution measurements, though it may be less reliable.

  • Post-Call Surveys: In a follow-up survey via text or email, customers can be asked if their issue was resolved after their interaction, providing direct feedback on the resolution.

  • Call Analytics: Automated call tracking systems can identify if repeat calls were made for the same issue.

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: Logs and records of customer interactions can be analyzed to determine resolution rates.

  • Quality Assurance Reviews: First call resolution metrics can also be gathered from regular assessments of call recordings to verify resolution status.

How To Improve First Call Resolution in 5 Actionable Steps

1. Analyze Your Existing Strategy

To improve your FCR rate, start by analyzing your existing strategy. Identify areas where your current approach excels, and pinpoint gaps that need attention.

You should use data from call analytics and customer surveys to understand common issues that require follow-up interactions. For example, if analysis reveals that many calls are escalated due to insufficient agent training on technical issues, targeted training programs can be developed.

Additionally, you should review successful resolutions to understand best practices and replicate them across the team. Continuous analysis will help you refine your strategies and align them with customer needs so you can resolve more issues immediately.

2. Set Relevant Goals

First, your FCR goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). Rather than setting big goals with no plan, a series of SMART goals relevant to FCR will help you work toward your larger objectives in smaller steps.

For example, you might aim to increase FCR by 10% over the next quarter. Rather than setting this as a single goal, break it down into smaller, actionable steps, such as improving agent training and optimizing call routing systems by using tools like interactive voice response and virtual receptionists.

Finally, you should regularly review progress toward these goals and adjust strategies as needed. Setting clear, realistic objectives will help you create a roadmap for continuous improvement.

3. Implement Customer Service Software

Implementing customer service software can significantly improve FCR. Vonage’s contact center solutions, for example, provide features such as ticket tracking and real-time reporting. These systems enable agents to access customer histories and streamline call handling, which all help reduce resolution times.

For example, integrated CRM systems provide agents comprehensive customer information, allowing for more personalized and efficient service. Additionally, automated workflows and knowledge bases can guide agents through complex issues, ensuring consistent and accurate resolutions.

Leveraging these technologies, support teams are better equipped to resolve issues on the first call. With the right software, you can expect an uptick in your FCR rates.

4. Build Your Team

Building a skilled and knowledgeable team is also essential for improving your FCR. You should invest in regular training programs to ensure agents are well-versed in your products and services and common customer issues.

It’s also important to encourage a culture of continuous learning and provide resources such as updated FAQs and troubleshooting guides. Additionally, consider cross-training agents to handle a variety of issues. Increasing their flexibility and effectiveness will help your agents handle problems quickly rather than needing to escalate or offer callbacks.

For example, a telecommunications company might train agents on technical support and billing inquiries, allowing them to resolve a broader range of issues on the first call. Ultimately, a well-trained and well-rounded team is one of the most important contributors to higher FCR rates.

5. Regularly Measure FCR Performance

Finally, you should use your FCR and call center data to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented strategies. Consistently tracking FCR can show whether recent training programs or technology implementations have positively impacted resolution rates.

Monthly FCR reports, for example, can reveal trends and patterns, indicating whether specific initiatives have resulted in improved first call resolution.

Regular measurement also allows for timely adjustments and continuous optimization of your support processes. If the data shows that FCR rates are not improving, you can quickly identify areas needing attention and make necessary changes.

First Call Resolution Best Practices

Define Your Measurement Criteria

To measure FCR effectively, it’s essential that you clearly define what constitutes a “resolved” call. This definition can vary by business and should include parameters for escalation.

For example, a call might be resolved if the customer’s issue is fully addressed during the initial interaction without further follow-up. However, you should also specify when a call should be escalated to a higher tier of support and make sure that your agents understand these boundaries.

Establishing clear criteria helps accurately measure FCR and provides a consistent framework for evaluating performance.

Track Reopen Rates

Reopen rates refer to the percentage of cases or tickets that are reopened after being marked as resolved. High reopen rates can indicate that issues were not fully addressed during the initial contact.

For example, if a healthcare provider notices many patient inquiries being reopened, it may signal the need for better initial diagnosis or follow-up procedures.

Analyzing reopen rates allows you to identify patterns and the root causes of unresolved issues. This will, in turn, lead to targeted improvements in processes and agent training.

Implement Automation

Automation can significantly enhance FCR by streamlining workflows and reducing human error. Vonage offers features like dynamic call routing and AI virtual assistants, which help direct calls to the most suitable agents or provide automated responses to common queries.

For example, AI virtual assistants can handle many routine questions, freeing up human agents to focus on more complex issues. Dynamic call routing ensures that customers are connected to the right department or specialist, minimizing transfer times and improving the likelihood of first call resolution.

Create a Knowledge Hub

Creating a knowledge hub is a valuable resource for customers seeking self-help solutions. A well-organized online knowledge base can include FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and even instructional videos. These empower customers to find answers without needing to contact support.

For example, a financial services company can develop a comprehensive knowledge hub that addresses common issues like account management or transaction problems. This not only reduces the volume of incoming calls but also ensures that customers receive consistent and accurate information.

A robust knowledge hub enhances the overall customer experience by providing quick and easy access to solutions.

Support and Train Agents

Supporting and training agents is fundamental to improving FCR. To help them answer customer questions efficiently, you should provide agents with detailed support documents and access to in-call coaching tools.

Make sure your training covers both your company’s products or services and essential communication skills. The latter ensures your agents can effectively listen to and understand customer needs.

Your agents should also know what metrics you’re measuring them by. They should have a good working understanding of defining first call resolution and any other metrics you have in place in your call center.

Actively Listen to Customers

Actively listening to customers is key to understanding and resolving their issues effectively. Encourage agents to practice active listening techniques, such as paraphrasing the customer’s concerns and asking clarifying questions.

This approach ensures that agents fully comprehend the issue before attempting to resolve it. For example, a telecommunications company can train agents to listen attentively and address the root cause of connectivity problems rather than offering generic solutions.

Genuinely engaging with customers and understanding their needs means your agents can provide more accurate and satisfactory resolutions, improving FCR.

Boosting First Call Resolution Drives Customer Satisfaction

Boosting FCR drives customer satisfaction by resolving issues promptly during the first interaction. This reduces the need for follow-ups and minimizes customer frustration.

High FCR rates also lead to more efficient support operations, increasing customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

Vonage Business Communications offers features that can enhance FCR. Dynamic call routing ensures customers reach the right agent quickly, while AI virtual assistants handle routine queries, freeing agents to focus on complex issues. Additionally, integrated CRM systems give agents access to comprehensive customer information. This means quicker and more personalized service.

These tools, along with the first call resolution tips provided above, will help you improve your FCR rates. But alongside all of these tools and tips, you need an engaged and knowledgeable workforce to implement these changes.

Still have questions about First Call Resolution?

FCR stands for First Call Resolution, a metric that measures the percentage of customer issues resolved on the first contact.

A good first call resolution rate is typically around 70-75%, though it can vary by industry.

Calculate FCR by dividing the number of issues resolved on the first contact by the total number of first calls, then multiply by 100.

Other important call center metrics include Average Handle Time (AHT), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Call Abandonment Rate.

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