First-Call Resolution (FCR): Customer Service Super Metric

When it comes to customer support metrics, first-call resolution (FCR) stands out because it touches so many important aspects of the customer service and support experience—customer satisfaction, service efficiency, and operating costs. When achieved consistently, high FCR rates have a positive impact on each of these areas and deliver a handful of significant overall benefits.

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Defining FCR

The definition of FCR is quite easy: A customer calls with an issue, and an agent helps fix the issue on the first call. Hence, first-call resolution. Naturally, not all calls can be resolved the first time around. Complex problems may require multiple troubleshooting steps, additional research, or longer processing times. In fact, the call center industry average is 1.4 calls to resolve a customer’s problem.

Regardless, many call types can and should be settled quickly. For routine issues such as minor technical support, account information, and order status; FCR should be the standard.

Measuring FCR

While there are a number of internal and external measurement methods, FCR is best determined by the customer. The only person who can tell you decisively whether or not the issue was resolved in a single call is the customer.

Internal measurements

  • IVR survey: Immediately after resolution or within one hour of call

  • Phone survey: Initiate survey within two days of resolution

  • Web survey: Invite customer to complete online survey within three business days of resolution

  • End-of-call script: Agent asks customer about FCR after resolving the issue (link to QA evaluation)

  • Voice menu: Customer asked in IVR menu if issue was resolved in a single call

External measures

  • QA call monitoring: QA evaluators decide if FCR was met

  • Call backs: Check call record with 2-5 business days to see if customer called back regarding the same issue

  • Case management CRM: Agent uses CRM software to keep track of FCR

While there is some value in each of the measurements listed above, it’s best to use some combination of internal and external measures to gain the greatest benefit. Also, keep in mind, the internal methods are generally more expensive, more time intensive, and less accurate (inflated about 15%).

Click here to download the new PhaseWare eBook: First-Call Resolution (FCR)—Customer Service Super Metric

Why FCR matters

FCR is the single-most useful metric measured in the customer service and support environment. As a measure of both service efficiency and effectiveness, high FCR rates have a significant impact on your business. It might be enough to simply say that FCR matters because it improves customer satisfaction; however, the benefits of a successful FCR program also show up in the bottom line.

  • Reduce operating costs: Every 1% improvement in FCR results in a 1% reduction of operating costs

  • Improve customer satisfaction (CSAT): Every 1% improvement in FCR results in a 1% improvement in CSAT

  • Improve employee satisfaction (ESAT): Every 1% improvement in FCR results in a 1%-5% improvement in ESAT

  • Gain more sales opportunities: FCR increases customer cross-selling acceptance rates up to 20%

  • Increase customer retention: 98% of customers experiencing FCR will remain loyal to your company

FCR in Action

Now that we can define FCR, measure it, and understand why it matters; how do we get there?



  • Remember: customer perception of FCR is most important; and requires follow-up, closure, feedback, and monitoring

  • Focus on FCR alone without multiple perspectives

  • Make FCR reflective of customer values, expectations, and perceptions

  • Only measure that “it was done” (checklist) versus “how it was resolved and what was the experience”

  • Make sure FCR results drive continuous improvement at all levels

  • Make it self-serving in scope, definition, and data collection and manipulation; it’s not about “hitting the numbers”

  • Give agents the proper training, empowerment, and tools to support higher FCR rates

  • Be more concerned with call resolution than issue resolution

  • Market and communicate: Recognize and reward FCR contribution, achievement, and results

  • Measure only the FCR; balance with other quality metrics

From McGarahan and Associates: The 5 Do’s of FCR



From the customer perspective, FCR delivers the correct answer in a timely fashion. These are two critical elements of a great customer experience. With the additional benefits of reduced operational costs and the potential for more revenue through increased sales opportunities; the bottom line benefits are obvious as well.

With all that in mind, it probably makes sense to keep getting better.

Click here to download the new PhaseWare eBook: First-Call Resolution (FCR)—Customer Service Super Metric


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