Blog

First Contact Resolution Rate: Your Guide to Understanding the Metric

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min
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Halee Sommer
-
Dec 28, 2023

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Blog

First Contact Resolution Rate: Your Guide to Understanding the Metric

min
-
Halee Sommer
-
Dec 28, 2023

TL;DR:

  • First contact resolution rate is the percentage of support tickets resolved in one interaction
  • How to calculate FCR: # of tickets resolved on first contact / total # of tickets * 100
  • FCR doesn’t distinguish between successful and unsuccessful resolutions, nor does it tell you the reasons for a low or high rate
  • You can increase FCR by automating responses, offering self-service resources, and automatic ticket triage

You know what customers love? When their problems are solved on the first try. 

Being able to resolve issues right away is a clear sign that your support team is on the right track to provide great customer experiences. 

To maintain that level of excellence and efficiency, you’ll need to understand first contact resolution (FCR) rate. 

In this article, we’ll deep dive into first contact resolution rate. You’ll learn how to calculate and monitor FCR, how to increase your FCR for better customer experiences, and look at what other metrics to monitor alongside FCR.

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What is first contact resolution?

First contact resolution rate is a metric that measures the percentage of customer support tickets that your agents resolve on the first interaction. 

Generally, this measurement is used in call centers, but it’s also considered one of the most essential customer support metrics in ecommerce.

Like a lot of customer support metrics, FCR also goes by a few names, like: 

  • First call resolution rate
  • First interaction rate
  • Single reply resolution rate

Whichever name you prefer, the goal of the measurement is the same: understand how efficient your team is at resolving customer issues.  

The impact of first contact resolution on a support program

Time-consuming interactions erode trust over time and drive customers to shop with the competition.

According to The Effortless Experience, 96% of shoppers with a high-effort experience feel disloyal to brands afterward. 

By aiming to solve customer issues from the very first interaction, you can combat the escalation of poor customer experiences and use positive interactions to improve loyalty and satisfaction, gain repeat customers, and boost revenue to meet your bottom line. 

A guide to calculating first contact resolution

Let’s walk through the formula to figure out your FCR and look at an example. Then, we’ll unpack some challenges behind the FCR metric to make it as useful for your support agents as possible.

FCR formula

FCR formula

         

The formula to calculate first contact resolution rate is: 

(Number of support tickets resolved on first contact / total number of resolved support tickets) x 100 = FCR rate %

The goal is to have an FCR percentage that’s as close to 100% as possible. A higher FCR indicates how successful you are at solving tickets at the first interaction without follow-up questions from customers.

Example FCR calculation

Here’s what calculating FCR looks like using real numbers: 

(15,000 tickets solved on first contact / 20,000 total resolved tickets) x 100 = 75% FCR 

That means, on average, your team can solve 75% of support tickets on the first try.

The challenges of measuring FCR 

First contact resolution is a fantastic starting point to improve your support team’s resolution time. But, like most customer support metrics, FCR has some limitations. 

FCR doesn’t provide you the reason for a high or low rate

Simply knowing your first contact resolution rate doesn’t give you the whole story. 

A low FCR means you aren’t solving most problems on the first try but it doesn’t explain the root causes.

You’ll need to track other metrics that look into customer interactions more qualitatively, like customer satisfaction (CSAT).

FCR doesn’t distinguish ticket quality

Second, a high FCR isn’t an automatic indicator of a successful support strategy. The challenge lies in accurately categorizing tickets resolved in one interaction. This process can be complicated by instances where automated responses may be quick but unhelpful.

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4 tactics to increase first contact resolution rate

Here are four tactics you can use now to improve FCR performance and your customer experiences.

1. Provide support agents with customer service scripts

Your agents are your front line, and it’s important they’re armed with customer service scripts to resolve common issues efficiently. Scripts are pre-written responses that agents can use to avoid typing the same answers over and over again.

At Gorgias, we call scripts Macros. Gorgias allows you to personalize each Macro with customer information pulled from your integrated ecommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce.

Deja Jefferson, CX and Consumer Insights Manager at skincare brand Topicals uses Macros “to help maintain brand voice while handling a high volume of customer service tickets.” As a result of this automation tactic, her team influenced 72% more revenue.

💡 Pro Tip: Exceptional customer experience depends on a robust customer service training program. Keep agent knowledge fresh with a knowledge base or Help Center of scripts. This way, agents can continuously upskill or grab information whenever they need it.

2. Automate responses to frequently asked questions

At Gorgias, we’ve found that automation increases both FCR and sales. 

An automation tool like Gorgias Automate can help resolve up to 30% of incoming tickets. With features like Quick Responses and Article Recommendations, customers can get answers to their questions without waiting to speak to an agent.

Article Recommendations at work
Gorgias Article Recommendations is an AI-powered tool that helps customers choose the right products on their own.
         

For example, luxury shoe and garment care retailer Kirby Allison used Gorgias Automate to deflect 30% of incoming tickets and boosted revenue from support by 46%. 

Kirby Allison reached a 30% automation rate in one month

3. Offer self-service options to resolve simple customer inquiries

Chances are, a bulk of your tickets can be answered by customers themselves. In fact, 88% of U.S. customers expect a customer self-service portal according to a 2022 Statista survey.

On Gorgias, we solve this issue by giving merchants the ability to create a Help Center.

A Help Center is an article database that includes information commonly sought by shoppers, like product information, policies (like shipping, returns, or order cancellations), and billing and payment information.

Self-service options
         

Below, Loop Earplugs makes the customer experience seamless by linking to their FAQs in the top navigation bar of their website.

Loop Earplugs has FAQs on their menu
Keeping FAQs prominent makes it easy for shoppers to quickly find policies and other information about their brand and products.
         

4. Categorize tickets automatically and route them to the most suitable agent

Resolving your low-priority tickets quickly is a surefire way to improve your FCR. It would be a full-time job if you had to manually prioritize and categorize your tickets. 

With a helpdesk like Gorgias, you can automatically categorize incoming tickets into low-, medium-, and high-priority based on customizable parameters called Rules. Better yet, Gorgias can take care of routing high-priority tickets to your most experienced agents to maintain customer retention. 

Autotagging in Gorgias
         

For example, snack brand Chomps created a Rule that tagged customer tickets with an “Urgent” tag if their message included phrases like “cancel order,” “wrong,” or “update my address.”  

Chomps created a Rule that auto-tags tickets with an "Urgent" tag
Auto-tagging helps Chomps become more efficient with resolutions. It also allows their agents to update incorrect customer orders before they are fulfilled and shipped from their warehouse.
         

How FCR works with other important customer success metrics 

To give deeper context to your customers’ shopping experiences, it’s important to use FCR alongside other customer success metrics and KPIs.

Let’s look at how FCR works with key customer support metrics, like Customer Contact Rate, Average Response Time, Average Resolution Time, and Unresolved Ticket Rate.

Customer contact rate

Customer contact rate (CCR) looks at the percentage of customers who ask for help over a given time. It's an important metric that gives you a snapshot of your company's overall health.

Calculating CCR in combination with FCR will help you see how many people need support versus how effective your team is at deflecting lower-priority tickets.

Average response time

Average response time (AVT) or average reply time measures how long your support team takes to respond to a customer message.

90% of shoppers agree that an immediate response is important when they have a support request, so it’s crucial that you have as low an AVT as possible. 

The longer your response time, the longer it’ll take to get to a resolution. That’s why it’s useful to calculate AVT with FCR together. It’ll help show you the time it takes for an agent to respond, getting you even closer to a lightning-fast solution. 

Average resolution time

Average resolution time (ART) is similar to FCR in that it looks at your support team’s ability to resolve customer issues.

The difference with ART is that the metric looks at your team’s average ability to resolve issues, not just the first time.

A benefit of calculating ART is that you can understand how efficiently your team resolves higher-priority issues, like complicated returns, customer retention rates, or problems with loyal shoppers

Unresolved ticket rate

Unresolved ticket rate (UTR) lets you track and measure abandoned conversations and tickets that could not be solved. 

It’s critical to calculate UTR because unresolved tickets are a key indicator of unhappy customers — and unhappy customers can negatively impact your bottom line.

Calculating UTR can help you find gaps in your support strategy by locating tickets where a resolution is difficult and working to build a resolution for similar problems in the future.

Measure, track, and improve first contact resolution with Gorgias

If you’re stuck manually calculating first contact resolution, you’ll never have time to improve your strategy. 

That’s where Gorgias comes in. Gorgias Helpdesk automatically tracks and measures data like FCR so that you can focus on optimizing your strategy to provide a more positive customer experience. 

Sign up for Gorgias or book a demo to track and improve your first contact resolution rate today!

FAQ’s

What is a good first contact resolution?

A good FCR rate is around 70-75%. However, industry standards will vary based on your industry. In addition, different support channels, like email, SMS, and live chat, have varying averages. In the end, a high FCR rate is not the only factor in creating better customer experiences.

What factors tend to drive down first contact resolution?

Factors that tend to drive down First Contact Resolution (FCR) include inadequate training of customer service representatives, unclear company policies, lack of access to necessary information to resolve issues promptly, and poor communication between customers and support teams. These deficiencies can lead to unresolved issues and an increase in follow-up interactions.

What is the easiest way to improve first contact resolution?

Automating your customer support workflows is a great way to lower first contact resolution. A tool like Gorgias can deflect up to 30% of tickets using automation, helping free up your customer service team to focus on complex customer requests or customer problems. It also reduces operating costs and the overall time it takes to resolve low- and high-effort tickets.

How can Gorgias help my company improve first contact resolution?

Gorgias is the gold-standard helpdesk for building automation to improve customer support workflows. Over 13,000 ecommerce brands trust us to provide helpful support. Our AI tool, Gorgias Automate, helps brands deflect 30% of their tickets on average, freeing support agents to think critically about how to provide the best support to shoppers.

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Christelle Agustin
Content Writer at Gorgias
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