How FCR improves Customer Satisfaction

FCR or first contact resolution, one of the most important IT support metrics has a vital role in improving customer satisfaction.

First contact resolution includes the percentage of incoming service requests resolved during the first interaction with the customer, eliminating the need for the customer or IT Support to follow up with a second contact.

Basically, FCR indicates the efficiency of our service desk agent’s training and the tools we make available for them. Further, it may also indicate their ability to service more people with fewer resources.

Here at Ibmi Media, as part of our Server Management Services, we regularly help our Customers to add value to their business.

In this context, you will learn the FCR metric, including calculating and defining it, best practices and strategies for improvement.

Benefits of FCR

Tracking IT Support first contact resolution rate is important for two main reasons:

  • The role of FCR is an important role in improving customer satisfaction.
  • High FCR rates usually associates with high levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Low FCR rates usually indicate more follow-up for customer issues, which require more service desk agents to service the available requests.
  • A high FCR rate indicates that IT Support properly addresses customer needs at the first time. This reduces or eliminates the need for the customer or IT Support to follow up with a second contact.

How to measure FCR ?

Gross FCR or net FCR is the common criteria to measure FCR. We use the following equations for this:

  • Gross FCR = Tickets resolved on first contact / All incoming tickets
  • Net FCR = Tickets resolved on first contact / (All incoming tickets - Tickets that cannot be resolved at level one)

Net FCR is a more valuable and common metric because we cannot resolve many tickets simply on the first contact due to:

  • Hardware requisitions
  • Software rollouts
  • Local or regional issues such as an email or Internet outage.

This will require many touches and support levels to resolve. When we calculate the net FCR rate, we need to define the tickets FCR-eligible and only count those tickets.

Best practices for measuring FCR

Here are some tips for more accurately measuring FCR:

1. Adjust first contact resolution for direct and indirect tickets

In an organization, there will be many different channels for entering service tickets. We need to adjust the definition of what constitutes first contact resolution. For instance, based on whether each service ticket was entered directly or indirectly and through which channel.

Service desk requests resolved immediately through directly opened tickets should automatically count as first contact resolution tickets. For requests from other channels, we have to adjust the definition for when service ticket resolution occurred. This applies for tickets initiated indirectly through voicemail, email or company Web site

Indirect tickets may be considered the first contact resolved if the resolution and notification occur within the organization's Service Level Agreement (SLA).

2. Decide whether a ticket was resolved on the first contact

Some of the more common ways of scoring first contact resolution status for directly and indirectly answered tickets are:

  • Automated counting: The ticketing software finds if the resolution was on the first call and automatically marks the ticket as an FCR resolution.
  • Agent reporting: For directly initiated tickets, the IT Support agent decides whether the ticket was resolved on the first contact and marks the ticket as such. If using agent reporting, we should perform monthly ticket auditing to make sure our agents are accurately reporting their FCR tickets.
  • Customer/self-reporting: A post-call survey with the customer asking to confirm if the tickets come under FCR. Update the FCR count based on their response.

3. Define first contact resolution when live transfer occurs

Many people assume FCR means that if the customer contacts IT Support and IT Support solves the issue in a single unbroken contact, the ticket includes on first contact. Suppose the customer contacts IT Support, the agent performs level 1 diagnostics and then hands the ticket off to a level 2 agent. The level 2 agent was able to solve the issue on the handoff from the level 1 service agent. It is important to determine boundaries for whether to include live transfer tickets in Net FCR rate.

4. Consider FCR and reopened tickets

At times we may need to reopen the ticket marked as FCR resolved when the issue recurs. It is common practice for organizations to keep a ticket open for 24 hours after resolution and reopen the ticket if the customer reports back that the fix did not work. It is important to take reopened tickets into account when determining FCR rates.

Make sure we have FCR eligibility and tracking criteria defined, that all involved parties know our FCR criteria and that our system is set up to count FCR tickets based on that criteria. Being consistent in marking and counting FCR tickets is critical to getting an honest count.

Tips to improve FCR

The Service Desk needs to improve its FCR rates. Some of the ways to improve FCR rankings are given below:

1. Empower Tier 1 support to perform Tier 2 tasks

Eliminate the need for tier 1 support agents to escalate certain requests to tier 2 support by giving them the knowledge and authority to solve common issues. Here at Ibmi Media, we look at the items that tier 1 typically escalates. Then, we check whether any of them can be accomplished by tier 1 agents with the right authorities or a script for making the change or fix. We conduct periodic training sessions for tier 1 support. The more tasks or tickets that tier 1 agents can solve, the more will be the count of FCR.

2. Create knowledge base items for common, easily fixable items

One of the reasons to escalate tickets is that the customer or tier 1 support does not have the knowledge to fix the ticket on their own. Analyze incoming tickets and determine the easily fixable items by the customer or lower-level IT support through a knowledge document.

Make those knowledge documents accessible and first contact resolution rates will increase, as specific incidents, events and requests do not need escalation. 

3. Automate common problems

Implement self-service automation for common ticket items. One of the most common IT support items is password resets — the customer has an old or forgotten password. Implementing an automated self-service password reset system would provide immediate help in resetting such passwords.

This is particularly helpful on weekends when available IT support personnel is few. Automation can increase customer satisfaction if it can easily fix a problem without having to contact the support desk.

4. Improve the process

Perform ticket analysis to determine the customer’s common problems, where things frequently go wrong, and what technical support must step in to fix. Then, fix those problems. Issue elimination improves FCR rates. It also reduces the number of IT support requests — something both staff and customers will cheer.

For example, most of the customers will face IP blocks and has to contact support to unblock their IP address. It will be better if customers have the option to unblock IP addresses from their client area.

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This article covers how to use First contact resolution to increase customer satisfaction. Basically, The role of First contact resolution or FCR is important in improving customer service satisfaction. First Call Resolution (FCR) is a term used in call and contact centres to measure the number of customer support queries successfully resolved first time.

Best Practices to increase your first call resolution rate in no time:

  • Create an informative knowledge base.
  • Require minimal customer effort.
  • Get clear on the issue.
  • Be precise and don't overwhelm.
  • Anticipate customer needs.
  • Empower your customers.
  • Answer all of their questions.
  • Provide your team with quality training.