Guide to First Contact Resolution in SaaS: Best Practices For Measuring and Improving FCR
For SaaS companies, providing exceptional customer service can be a key differentiator from their competitors who offer similar products and prices. But how do you provide top-notch customer service? The first step is to improve first contact resolution (FCR).
This metric measures the company’s ability to resolve a customer’s problem within the first interaction, with no follow-up.
Your business can reap countless benefits by improving FCR, including lower costs, improved employee productivity, and better customer experience.
In this article, we’re going to go over first contact resolution, and its benefits, then offer strategies for you to improve this important customer success metric.
- First contact resolution rate means a query was resolved within a single interaction (on any platform) while first call resolution is a metric that only tracks performance for phone support agents.
- The average first-call resolution rate is 70% to 75% which means a quarter of all incoming communications are follow-up calls from customers.
- Increasing FCR rates can improve customer loyalty, and employee productivity, and even create revenue growth opportunities through upsells.
- Follow up with customers who just had an interaction with your customer support and gauge satisfaction with CSAT surveys.
- Identifying recurring issues through qualitative feedback and dealing with them can also benefit your FCR.
- Automate common problems and repetitive tasks to save time and focus on more important issues.
- Provide contextual guidance through user interface feedback to eliminate friction and also need to contact a human agent.
- Create a knowledge base for easily fixable issues. Not all questions need hyper-personalized responses and therefore, some can be fixed with self-serve educational resources.
- Use video tutorials to explain complicated things in a simple way. Shortening the learning curve and making sure the information isn’t overwhelming is a huge step in preventing repeat calls on the same issue.
- Analyze in-app user behavior and anticipate customer needs. Then proactively provide guidance or have a customer support agent reach out to the user if they are stuck.
- Investing in agent training to fill their knowledge gaps and impart soft skills can drastically improve the support experience.
- FCR should be paired with CSAT data to ensure you’re getting a comprehensive, unbiased view of your support performance.
What is the first contact resolution?
First contact resolution (FCR) is a term used by support teams to measure the ratio of customer queries that are resolved on the first attempt.
First contact resolution vs first call resolution
First call resolution and first contact resolution are usually used interchangeably. However, the first-contact resolution is used to describe the resolution rate across all platforms like email, live chat, social media, etc.
On the other hand, the first-call resolution is a metric that only tracks customer queries received through a phone hotline. The fact that both terms use the same acronym (FCR) can also add to this confusion.
These metrics may also be referred to as one-call resolution or, more rarely, right first time (RFT).
First contact resolution rate vs. first response time
First response time (FRT) is a metric that measures the time between a customer opening their ticket and getting their first response from one of your support agents. First call resolution (FCR) is the percentage of customer queries that are resolved without the need for follow-ups.
Why is first contact resolution so important?
In SQM’s research on call center CX, we found that measuring and improving First Call Resolution has the following benefits:
- As a result of achieving FCR, 95% of customers will continue to do business with the company.
- For every 1% improvement in FCR, there is a 1% to 5% improvement in employee satisfaction.
- Whenever a ticket is resolved, the success rate for cross-selling increases by 20% which creates opportunities for expansion MRR.
Removes friction and improves customer experience
Reaching out to a support team multiple times and talking to three or four agents explaining the same issue over and over just to get your ticket resolved is far from an ideal customer experience.
In fact, even one bad experience like this is enough to frustrate your customers and make them switch to a competitor.
Results in higher customer satisfaction
For every 1% improvement in FCR rates, there’s an equivalent 1% improvement in customer satisfaction. That’s no surprise, frictionless customer experiences result in higher customer satisfaction.
Drives loyalty and retention
With the SaaS industry being flooded with options — most of which have similar features and pricing models — customer service is the one differentiator that can help you stay ahead of your competitors.
No matter how many features you add or how low you drop your price, users won’t stick around if they have a negative customer experience and struggle to get their problems resolved by your customer support agents. Good and frictionless customer experiences are what drive long-term customer loyalty and retention.
Improved agent productivity and less customer support costs
There’s a negative correlation between first-contact resolution and SaaS operating costs. For every 1% rise in first contact resolution rates, your operating costs drop by 1%. This means that investing in a better customer support strategy will actually save you money in the long run.
Solving customer requests in a single call means your agents will be able to get to the next ticket faster. Spending less time on a string of calls with dissatisfied customers will also cut down on employee stress which increases their productivity.
From a user churn perspective, higher rates of first contact resolution also mean queue times will be shorter which reduces the odds of customer churn as a result of high call volume.
How do you calculate the first contact resolution rate?
60% of companies that measure first contact resolution data for one year or more report a 1% to 30% improvement. To calculate your first contact resolution (FCR) rate — either on a gross FCR or net FCR basis — you’ll need to use these equations:
What is a good first contact resolution rate?
Before you can improve FCR, you first have to figure out what a good FCR rate is. Most reports place the industry standard first call resolution rate at 70% to 75%. This means that around a quarter of all customer tickets consist of follow-up calls to unresolved issues.
Improving your company’s ability to provide good customer service is the best way to improve your FCR and retain customers. Measuring FCR is only the first step in reducing follow-up calls and keeping your customers satisfied.
How to improve the first contact resolution rate
Now that you’re familiar with the importance of reducing repeat calls, it’s time to look at 8 actionable tactics that can help improve your FCR rate.
Follow up with customers and gauge satisfaction with the provided service
Whether or not support requests have been successfully resolved, you should try to measure FCR throughout every stage of the process. After a call ends or a live chat is closed, trigger an NPS survey or CSAT survey so you can see how satisfied users are after their customer inquiries.
By getting immediate feedback, you’ll give the agents at your contact center a second chance to reach back out and fix the issue that the dissatisfied customer is facing. Think of it as the call center equivalent of reading someone’s mind after your first date.
Identify repeat contact reasons and eliminate them
One way to eliminate recurring issues and avoid repeat calls is to have your support staff reach out to customers who didn’t get their tickets resolved in a single interaction. Use this opportunity to ask open-ended questions about why it took multiple customer interactions to solve the problem.
This type of qualitative feedback is invaluable for identifying certain issues that could be prevented in the future. A great approach would be to create specific categories on your call center software for every recurring issue.
Every time a repeat call occurs, assign it to one of the categories or tags such as:
- Agent soft skills
- Agent knowledge
- Billing details
- Nature of complaint
- Lack of FCR training
The bottom line is that gathering data on the causes of follow-up calls (and the underlying reasons behind these causes) is paramount to improving FCR performance in the future.
Use automation for common problems and repetitive tasks
Automating certain areas of the customer support process can help your human agents focus on the most pressing, complex issues that actually need their attention. Using chatbots, CRM automation and other SaaS tools to optimize the support workflow is an absolute must.
A few processes that are ripe for automation include onboarding new users, resetting forgotten passwords, adding integrations, and other common tickets that your support agents really shouldn’t have to deal with manually.
Provide contextual guidance through UI feedback
User interface feedback refers to how your product responds to user interactions and the type of output it generates based on user actions. Setting user expectations and providing contextual guidance through UI feedback can be critical to improving your FCR.
For example, a user hovering over a specific feature might see a tooltip pop-up that explains how the feature works. This tooltip could also share a link to a tutorial resource like an article or video so they don’t have to immediately open a ticket when they get stuck.
Create a knowledge base for easily fixable issues
Creating a knowledge base with resources on how users can fix simple issues themselves can reduce call volume and increase FCR rates as a result. After all, statistics from the Harvard Business Review show that 81% of consumers try to solve issues themselves before reaching out to a company representative.
Creating a self-service portal with step-by-step solution articles, tutorial videos, and frequently asked questions can take care of tickets that don’t merit a personalized response from your team.
This approach to product education is considered zero-call resolution since the issue is solved before users even have to pick up the phone.
Use video tutorials to explain complicated things in a simple way
Since relying solely on text resources isn’t the most effective path, diversifying your knowledge base resources with video tutorials is a step in the right direction. Long articles have a tendency to overwhelm new users whereas short videos can take them through every click until they accomplish their job to be done.
The fact that videos are less likely to overwhelm users also reduces the odds that they’ll resort to contacting an agent – which is a common occurrence when impatient customers are met with a long, text-based resource.
Loom is a great example of how short micro-videos can eliminate the need for manual support for common issues:
Train your customer service team
The better-trained your agents are, the more likely they are to solve tickets within a single interaction. Filling their knowledge gaps and addressing the areas that require the most improvement is a quick way to improve the customer experience.
Building up a repertoire of internal documentation and troubleshooting SOPs is another way to ensure every support agent is adequately equipped for the task at hand. Having these resources at their disposal also eliminates situations where they’d have to put the customer on hold while they try to dig up the relevant information.
Teaching soft skills to your agents like how to listen to customer feedback, effective conflict resolution, and time management will further improve performance.
Analyze user behavior and anticipate customer needs
Analyzing user behavior can yield useful insights into the issues that customers face when they first start using your product or service. This proactive monitoring will often help you nip issues in the bud before they become widespread which boosts your FCR in the process.
Customer success platforms like Userpilot are one of the easiest ways to monitor the in-app customer behavior for your product. You can even create custom events that offer up help in the form of tooltips or modals whenever a user gets stuck.
Problems with using First Contact Resolution Rate as a metric
It’s important to realize that FCR rates aren’t the be-all-end-all metric. Having a high first-contact resolution rate does indicate that tickets are being successfully resolved within a single call but that doesn’t guarantee that you have an efficient customer service process.
Conversely, it could actually indicate that you’re not investing enough time and attention towards building out self-service systems or fixing the product bugs that lead to these support tickets.
Don’t tunnel vision your way to better contact center metrics. If you only focus on preventing the simple issues from making their way into customer tickets, you may begin to overlook complex problems that are taking up the brunt of your support team’s time.
Speed is also another key element that is overlooked if first contact resolution is the only metric you’re tracking. The perfect reply that solves the problem in a single interaction is useless if it took a week to reach the user’s inbox.
Just because a customer didn’t reach out again doesn’t mean the root issue was actually solved by the agent. The user may have solved the problem themselves through self-service, looked for a solution on Google, or given up on the problem entirely.
To avoid these issues, you should always combine both FCR and CSAT scores. Viewing these metrics as a pair ensures that you’ll have a more holistic and objective perspective of how your customer support team is performing.
As you can see, your FCR rate is so much more than just a support metric. It can have a massive impact — both positive and negative — on your retention, and revenue and give you a competitive advantage against other products in your industry.
If you want to improve your FCR with contextual in-app experiences, it’s time to request a Userpilot demo and we’ll show you how!