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First Contact Resolution: Why Remote Teams Shouldn't Ignore This Metric

Increase first contact resolution with ScreenMeet

First contact resolution (FCR) happens when a service agent or support team answers a query or fixes a problem the first time around. There’s no need for a follow-up call, email, or text message—making for happier and more productive agents and employees alike!

FCR measures a business's ability to deliver a speedy and satisfactory resolution to customers and employees across a variety of channels. And it’s vital for IT help desks as they work to onboard hybrid and remote employees, solving their issues no matter whether they’re based at home or in the office. Fast resolutions allow agents and teams to focus on the next ticket—and employees to get back to work.

In this post, we’ll dive into why first contact resolution is such a fundamental metric, and why it’s a key performance indicator (KPI) for businesses to track.

First Call Resolution Improves Other Important Metrics

First contact resolution matters

Remote IT support teams have several KPIs to track and improve. Most track operational efficiency, satisfaction, and productivity, with first contact resolution among the most important. FCR indicates the quality of your IT agents’ help—and, in turn, the quality of your service as a company.

When the Covid-19 pandemic forced Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) agents to work from home, they needed a service that could easily connect their IT help desk with employees’ remote devices. After partnering with ScreenMeet, an industry leader in CRM software, OTPP was amazed by the results. They were able to:

  • Increase FCR by 10%
  • Decrease case re-open rates and handling time by 25%
  • Cut new hire setup time in half

Measuring your FCR metrics can offer tremendous insight into your operational proficiency and effectiveness. In short, the higher your FCR, the more efficient you are as a company. The longer it takes agents to get your remote employees back up and running, the less work both parties ultimately do.

Still, a high FCR isn’t always reflective of your IT agent’s performance. Other metrics, such as talk time and case re-open rates, can help paint a more detailed picture. For example, an agent may solve the problem during the first call—but if their talk time is high (they stayed on the call longer than anticipated), there’s room for improvement.

Nobody wants to see their business productivity dip or loyal clients fall into a competitor’s hands. Low FRC metrics can lead to frustrated employees and poor service. This, in turn, leads to higher customer churn rates. In the United States, avoidable client churn costs companies roughly $136 billion yearly in lost business.

How Do You Calculate FCR for Remote IT Support?

Now that we understand the importance of tracking first contact resolution metrics, let’s discuss how to measure them. With the right data-gathering tool in hand, you can take a few conventional approaches—each with its pros and cons.

A First Contact Resolution Formula

First, let’s look at a formulaic approach to FCR. With this method, your FCR equals incidents resolved after first contact divided by total calls and multiplied by 100. So, if you had 50 calls, and 33 of them were solved after the first contact, then your FCR would be 66%.

Many say the “standard goal” for FCR is between 65% and 75%, but the truth is that FCR metrics vary from industry to industry. It’s better to set your own FCR goals and compare your numbers against company benchmarks.

The formulaic approach simplifies the process as long as you have the data to plug in. However, things can get a little muddy, especially when someone calls back for different issues, uses other phone numbers, or re-opens the case.

Rely on Agents

You can put the power in your agents’ hands by having them mark tickets as “resolved” after first contact. Have them ask a simple question like “did we solve your problem today?” If the answer is yes, they can call the ticket closed after first contact.

To ensure accurate reporting, companies should perform random audits to confirm FCR metrics. They may also lean on call quality monitoring for data collection.

Follow-up Survey

A few days after the call, consider sending the caller a follow-up survey and a summary of their interaction with your IT agents. If they’re unhappy and the case isn’t resolved, they can opt to re-open.

How FCR Reduces Operational Costs

Fewer contacts mean lower operational costs. When you resolve issues on the first go-around, you minimize the time spent on a particular case. Time correlates with operating expenses, as you're paying IT agents and employees for that time regardless. When firms focus on improving FCR metrics, they can lower their operational costs significantly.

It’s estimated that a 15% increase in FCR can lead to a 57% reduction in repeat calls. In addition to boosting your bottom line, that has multiple benefits, from improving service agent performance and employee retention rates to cutting down dramatically on customer churn. Further, research shows that for every 1% increase in FCR, you can expect a 1% increase in your Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)—and those 1% increases can translate to operational savings of roughly $276,000.

As a KPI, first contact resolution represents your entire brand, not just the quality of your IT agents. Ensure your FCR metrics are meeting your company goals. If they’re falling short, it may be time to reexamine your practices to see where you can make improvements.

Quality assurance management provides an important touchstone, as you can monitor how your agents interact with callers. Perhaps it’s time for a complete software update, allowing agents more effective control over remote caller devices.

FCR Benefits Your Support Team, Too

FCR doesn’t only benefit callers, clients, and remote employees. It’s an essential metric for your support agents and team as well. Firms with high FCR numbers also register higher employee satisfaction—lowering turnover rates and saving on training, hiring, and onboarding.

Measuring FCR can give you a better understanding of support staff and employee dynamics, while simultaneously increasing revenue. It also identifies and promotes your strongest agents, who can help their fellow employees with best practices on decreasing call repeats.

Some 60% of firms that measured FCR for a year or more reported a 30% increase in company performance. Just telling the team that you’ll be measuring these numbers can make an impact. They’ll work harder to get those metrics up, as a high FCR rate reflects positively on them as agents.

Attaining first contact resolution is a win-win for both parties. IT agents don’t like taking repeat calls as much as callers hate making them. Avoiding repeat calls is imperative to fostering a positive workplace environment, so aim to reduce them as much as possible.

Unfortunately, help desk employee satisfaction is at an all-time low these days. Why? Well, aside from growth and salary concerns, the repetitive nature of work plays is a key driver of this downward trajectory. However, studies show that you can reverse this slump by paying closer attention to first contact resolution. In fact employee satisfaction can actually increase by 5% for every 1% increase in FCR.

Boosting First Contact Resolution Metrics

Let’s dive into some best practices for increasing your FCR metrics.

Agent Confirmation

One of the best ways to ensure FCR is by having your agents ask a handful of “survey-lite” questions before ending the call. Once they’ve provided the necessary assistance, they can ask:

  • Is there anything else I can help you with today?
  • Has the issue been resolved?
  • Have you previously contacted the help desk about this issue?

Internal Support Resources

Effective internal documentation ensures your remote IT reps have all the resources they need to resolve issues. While they’ll be able to solve some problems off the top of their heads, new issues arise every day.

They’ll feel better prepared to handle the call when they can lean on a Wiki, script, or knowledge bank. Additionally, callers don’t have to sit on hold or be transferred while your agent digs for answers. Making sure that all documentation is easily searchable allows for rapid access to information.

Leverage Incentive Programs

With FCR goals in place, it’s much easier to implement incentive programs that encourage IT agents to up their game. Don’t hesitate to get creative, either.

Monitor Multiple Channels

Measure FCR rates on phone and video calls, text messaging, and chat rooms to see where you can make improvements.

Boost First Contact Resolution with ScreenMeet

First contact resolution is a critical metric to track—improving productivity and cost efficiency while optimizing IT service delivery and the diagnosis of hardware and software issues. Regularly monitoring your FCR will tell you if you’re on track to reach your company goals.

For example, when ServiceNow partnered with ScreenMeet, they saw FCR metrics increase by 32%. ScreenMeet designed in-platform apps to assist ServiceNow’s IT help desk in supporting hybrid and remote employees. Agents can now engage with employees more efficiently, using ScreenMeet as an integrated extension to their legacy IT service delivery platform.

Save on operational costs when your IT agents resolve issues on first contact via video calling, screen share, and remote desktop functionality. Get in touch with ScreenMeet today to request a demo of what the platform, with its truly seamless experience, can do for your FCR metrics.

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