Metrics: What’s the “C” in “FCR”?


by Roy Atkinson
August 11, 2016

The answer to the title’s question used to be easy: The C stood for “Call,” first call resolution (FCR). Everyone tracked it. The “one and done” call was the ideal of every support center; pick up the call, provide the solution, make sure the customer or user was happy, and mark the ticket resolved. The success of many support centers rode on that nice, high FCR. If FCR was down, senior management wanted to know why.

The “one and done” call was the ideal of every support center.
Tweet: The “one and done” call was the ideal of every support center. #metrics @HDI_Analyst @ThinkHDI

Then along came other channels, and one of the first alternatives introduced created a problem with the metric: What is the “one and done” equivalent in email? The industry quickly responded by telling us to think of the number of email exchanges involved in providing the solution. If a customer emailed and the support center emailed a solution back, that was one exchange, and the “one and done” rule applied. Or did it? Didn’t the customer then have to email (or call) back to confirm the solution? Was that part of the first exchange? Rather than address the complications, many organizations simply stopped trying to track the email equivalent of first call resolution.

Then came chat. A user or customer types in information and has a text-based conversation with a support analyst. So, wouldn’t one chat session equate to one phone call? But what if the user had to reboot? They would have to abandon the chat session, restart the computer, navigate back to the appropriate page, and start a new chat session.

And what about fax? (Yes, fax is still used in support, and in some verticals it is required.) What about a web form submitted by the user? What about social media? Mobile app? SMS text?

One well-developed answer to the title’s question was suggested by social media customer service leader Al Hopper, in his SupportWorld article, From First Call to First Conversation Resolution.  If the resolution is a result of one continuous conversation, then it’s first conversation resolution.

Of course we want getting assistance to be as effortless, rapid, and successful for the customer as possible, and we want to keep customer satisfaction high. One way to do that is to acknowledge that customers have different channel preferences and may change those preferences based on: 

  • Time demands
  • Type, severity, and complexity of the issue
  • Location
    • Desktop, laptop, or mobile device
    • Private or public space

For our own benefit in support, as well as that of our business, we need to be able to gather metrics across all channels in a way that makes sense. Because we live in a mobile and multichannel world, we need to adjust our thinking and our metrics. We cannot just stop measuring because our old ways no longer fit the bill. It’s important modify the old phone metrics (first call) to reflect today’s channels. In order to do that, you must decide:

  • What constitutes a single exchange for each channel
  • Whether or not it is important to your customers to track a “one and done” metric
  • Which is more important: Time to resolve or number of exchanges to resolve

Once you make those decisions, you can modernize your metrics and keep better track of how your customers are being served.


Roy AtkinsonRoy Atkinson is HDI's senior writer/analyst, acting as in-house subject matter expert and chief writer for SupportWorld articles and white papers. In addition to being a member of the HDI International Certification Standards Committee and the HDI Desktop Support Advisory Board, Roy is a popular speaker at HDI conferences and is well known to HDI local chapter audiences. His background is in both service desk and desktop support as well as small-business consulting. Roy is highly rated on social media, especially on the topics of IT service management and customer service. He is a cohost of the very popular #custserv (customer service) chat on Twitter, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on December 9, 2014. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @HDI_Analyst and @RoyAtkinson.


Tag(s): metrics and measurements, supportworld, first call resolution, multichannel support

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