a satisfied customer on the phone, benefiting from a company's improved first call resolution rate
Customer Experience Management

Improving First Call Resolution Rates

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Most customers who call your business have already exhausted all other options. They’ve tried to resolve the issue themselves, looked on your website for the needed information, and maybe even chatted with an AI agent. But none effectively worked.

Now they are seeking help from a live agent – and their satisfaction and loyalty lie in the balance.

At this moment, it’s critical that your customer service agents are able to resolve the issue quickly and efficiently. Yet many companies struggle with low first call resolution (FCR) rates.

How can you improve FCR rates and retain satisfied customers?

Let’s take a look.

Strategies for improving first call resolution

The good news is you’re not alone. Companies are constantly working to improve their first call resolution rates. And there are some tried-and-true best practices to turn to.

1. Enhance agent training and knowledge.

The most basic first step is to ensure your agents are properly trained. They should be knowledgeable about all areas of the company and have access to resources that enable them to resolve a wide range of issues.

Agents should also receive training in effective communication techniques, such as active listening, empathy, and clear articulation. Agents need to be able to understand customer issues and convey solutions effectively.

Beyond basic training, empower agents to make decisions themselves. They should be able to take action (such as offering compensation or a refund) without needing to escalate or transfer the call.

2. Implement effective call routing.

Advanced call routing technology manages incoming calls and directs them to the most appropriate agent. This technology can route calls based on:

  • The skills needed to resolve the issue
  • The urgency or complexity of the issue
  • The customer’s value to your company
  • The language your customer speaks
  • A customer’s history and preferences
  • Balancing the load of incoming calls between different agents and teams

Advanced call routing technology boosts FCR rates, enhances overall customer satisfaction, and reduces operational costs. It even improves agent morale by enabling them to solve problems more effectively. Effective call routing technology is critical for meeting customers’ needs.

3. Leverage customer feedback and data analytics.

As with all customer satisfaction services, customer feedback and data analytics provide invaluable insight. Review survey responses and analyze call recordings to understand why specific calls weren’t resolved the first time.

Are there gaps in your service? Do your agents need a bit more training? It could be as simple as improving your self-service options. Consider adding more detailed FAQs to your website, integrating chatbots, and implementing interactive voice response (IVR) systems. This allows customers to solve simple issues themselves.

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As you analyze data, look for common issues and trends. This will help you determine strategies to preemptively address widespread issues before they result in an influx of calls.

Technology and tools for supporting first call resolution

Leveraging technology significantly enhances both the efficiency and effectiveness of customer service operations. Here are five key technologies that help achieve higher FCR rates:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) system: A comprehensive CRM system provides agents immediate access to customer histories, including previous interactions, purchases, and feedback. This information allows agents to personalize their service and resolve issues more efficiently.
  • Knowledge management system: A centralized knowledge base gives agents quick access to information, guidelines, and solutions to common customer issues. This system significantly reduces the time it takes to resolve customer inquiries by providing accurate, consistent information.
  • Interactive voice response (IVR) system: A well-designed IVR system efficiently directs customers to the correct department and even provides automated solutions for common issues.
  • Chatbots and virtual assistants: AI-powered chatbots can handle routine inquiries and simple tasks, such as account inquiries, balance checks, and FAQs, freeing human agents to tackle more complex issues. Virtual assistants provide 24/7 customer service, offering immediate responses to customer queries.
  • Natural language processing (NLP): NLP enables machines to understand and interpret human language, allowing for more effective communication between AI systems and customers. This technology can be used in IVR systems to better understand customer requests and route calls more accurately. It can also be used in text-based communication channels to analyze customer sentiment and intent.

Challenges to achieving high FCR rates

If only all customer queries were easily solvable. But all companies face significant challenges, from gathering an accurate FCR rate to handling complex issues. Let’s look at three common challenges and how you can overcome them.

How to measure FCR rates

One of the most fundamental challenges to achieving high FCR rates is actually calculating it correctly. FCR is influenced by various factors, which makes it tricky to measure. Gathering an accurate assessment of your FCR requires a combination of methods. Here’s how to measure it:

  1. Track customer interactions in a comprehensive CRM.
  2. After each support interaction, send the customer a survey to see whether the agent resolved his issue. If the customer responds, record his answer in your CRM.
  3. If a customer doesn’t fill out the survey, review contact records in your CRM. You are looking to see whether a customer had to contact support multiple times for the same issue.
  4. Categorize FCR rates separately for different channels (phone, email, chat, social media) to later identify how well each channel performs.
  5. Calculate your FCR rate for each channel by dividing the number of issues resolved on the first contact by the total number of issues reported. Multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

FCR Rate = (Total Number of Issues Reported/Number of Issues Resolved on First Contact) × 100

Once you’ve calculated your FCR rates, monitor changes over time. Review them regularly to identify trends, note any improvements, and pinpoint areas that need attention.

Complex customer issues

Complex customer issues present significant challenges to achieving high FCR rates. Sometimes, an issue is just too nuanced or specific to address in a single interaction. Why is this?

  • Complex issues require specialized knowledge or skills that not all agents possess. Gaps in training or limitations on what agents can do to resolve issues lead to lower FCR rates.
  • Some issues simply take longer to diagnose and solve. An agent might need time to consult with colleagues or supervisors, resulting in multiple points of contact with a customer.
  • The intricacies of complex issues can lead to miscommunication between the customer and the agent. This might lead to the need for follow-up conversations and resolutions.
  • In some cases, the existing systems and processes may not support the efficient resolution of complex issues. Limitations in technology, access to information, or procedural constraints hinder an agent’s ability to resolve an issue on the first call.
  • Customers dealing with complex issues often have higher expectations. If their issue is not quickly resolved, it can lead to dissatisfaction, even if the follow-up is prompt and effective.

Businesses can adopt several strategies to mitigate these challenges:

  • Implement specialized training programs for handling complex issues.
  • Leverage advanced technology solutions for better data access and customer insight.
  • Enhance communication channels to ensure clear and effective interactions.

Complex issues are unavoidable. However, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and feedback helps businesses adapt and improve their strategies for dealing with complex customer issues.

System and process limitations

System and process limitations lead to inefficiencies and obstacles in resolving customer issues promptly and effectively. Here’s a closer look at how system and process limitations impact FCR rates:

  • Inadequate access to information: Agents need easy access to comprehensive customer information, previous interactions, and product or service details. Without it, they struggle to resolve issues without transferring the call or asking the customer to call back. This directly impacts FCR rates.
  • Lack of integration between systems: When different systems (e.g., CRM, ticketing, inventory) are siloed, agents have to toggle between multiple platforms to gather necessary information. This slows down the resolution process, increases the likelihood of errors, and makes first contact resolution more difficult.
  • Inefficient call routing: Without advanced call routing systems, calls are not directed to the most appropriate agent. This leads to unnecessary call transfers and lower FCR rates.
  • Limited self-service options: When self-service options are not comprehensive, customers reach out to live agents for issues that could have been resolved through self-service channels. This increases the volume of calls agents need to handle, potentially decreasing FCR rates due to overwhelmed resources.
  • Rigid procedures and lack of empowerment: Rigid, outdated, or overly bureaucratic processes hinder agents’ ability to offer quick resolutions. Agents need to be able to make decisions and take action to resolve complex issues on the first contact.
  • Limited analytics and feedback mechanisms: Without effective tools for analyzing call center performance and capturing customer feedback, it is challenging to identify trends, pinpoint areas for improvement, and understand why certain calls were not resolved on the first contact. This limits the ability to make informed adjustments to processes and training.

Strategies for overcoming system and process limitations

To overcome these challenges, businesses need to invest in modernizing their systems and processes. Focus on integration, automation, agent empowerment, and continuous training. Implement advanced technologies like AI and machine learning to enhance efficiency, enable better decision-making, and, ultimately, improve your FCR rates.


At Global Response, we pride ourselves on our high first call resolution rates. Our agents undergo in-depth training on your company, products and services, and proper communication skills. They are empowered to make real-time decisions to meet your customers’ needs and retain their loyalty.

Contact Global Response today to learn how our professional agents, cutting-edge technology, and effective strategies can improve your FCR rates and boost your customer satisfaction.


First Call Resolution measures the percentage of customer issues and inquiries resolved during the first interaction with an agent, without the need for follow-up from either side. It directly impacts customer satisfaction, loyalty, and operational efficiency. High FCR rates lead to happier customers, reduced operational costs, and improved agent morale.
Yes, technology plays a crucial role in enhancing FCR rates. Advanced call routing systems, CRM software, knowledge bases, and AI-powered tools like chatbots provide the support team with the information and capabilities they need to resolve issues more effectively. Implementing these technologies leads to more accurate call routing, better-informed agents, and, ultimately, higher FCR rates.
Measuring FCR rates offers direct insight into how effectively a business is meeting customer needs. High FCR rates correlate with high customer satisfaction, as customers appreciate quick and effective resolution of their issues. By analyzing FCR rates alongside customer feedback and satisfaction scores, companies can identify specific areas for improvement, further enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

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