Customer Service Glossary - First Contact Resolution

What is First Contact Resolution?

First Contact Resolution (or First Call Resolution) is the percentage of customer queries in the contact center that are resolved during the initial contact with the customer, without requiring the customer or agent to follow up on the issue. 

catherine heath

Last updated: September 29, 2022

8 mins read

When dealing with customer service requests, a strong indication of good customer service is how many interactions it takes for customers to get their issue resolved. If your agents are well-trained and competent, a high proportion of your customers will have the problem dealt with within a single service interaction, and won’t have a need to contact your team again. 

If you want to analyze your customer service performance, then an important metric to track is First Contact Resolution (FCR). First Contact Resolution is a good indication of quality, especially when combined with other support metrics like First Response Time (FRT). 

According to research, 61% of contact centers are measuring First Contact Resolution, making this an extremely popular metric to track

To be able to successfully resolve a customer’s query on the first try, your agents must be skilled at diagnosing the problem and knowledgeable enough to be able to suggest a solution. Agents should be empowered to implement the solution, without needing to hand off to a more senior colleague.  

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What is First Contact Resolution

First Contact Resolution (or First Call Resolution) is the percentage of customer queries in the contact center that are resolved during the initial contact with the customer, without requiring the customer or agent to follow up on the issue. 

It requires a customer service agent to understand, diagnose and troubleshoot the issue for an effective resolution first time. 

First Contact Resolution is an important metric to track because it gives an idea of how satisfied a customer is with the service they have received from your customer service team. If a customer only has to contact you once to get their issue resolved, this results in a positive service experience that allows the customer to move on with their day. 

First Contact Resolution can be a little tricky to track because it’s now always obvious how to define when an issue gets resolved. What happens if an agent marks a query as resolved, but the customer gets back in touch a week later to report that the problem is still recurring? Businesses handle these kinds of issues in different ways. 

What is a good first contact resolution benchmark?

There is no single good First Contact Resolution benchmark that your business can measure itself against. Every contact center is different and there are different variables in place that affect your First Contact Resolution. 

For example, you might have heavily invested in self-service support materials, which most of your customers use. This might mean that more of your customer service requests result in multiple interactions with the support team because they are typically more complex. Your First Contact Resolution rate will then be lower than another company that still has customers getting in touch for simple requests.  

Furthermore, an ecommerce company may have simpler enquiries to deal with than, for example, an IT company. The IT company may require several interactions to troubleshoot complex customer issues, whereas the ecommerce company is dealing mainly with refunds and returns. 

If you’re still interested in a standard benchmark, however, research suggests that a typical rate for First Contact Resolution is 70-75%. Remember, though, that First Contact Resolution will vary according to industry, sector, the purpose of the contact center, and the time of year. 

How to make a First Contact Rresolution calculation

Luckily, there is a simple formula you can use to calculate First Contact Resolution which is returned as a percentage. That formula is: 

First Contact Resolution FCR (%) = Resolved Incidents on First Contact  ÷ Total Incidents × 100.

For example, if you have 80 resolved incidents on first contact and 100 total incidents, your formula is 80 ÷ 100 x 100 = 80%. 

The way you collect data for measuring First Contact Resolution can vary. One way is to simply ask the customer at the end of the interaction whether the agent solved their issue satisfactorily. 

Another way to gather the data is sending the customer a follow-up email to find out if their issue has been resolved. This can work better as some customers won’t feel comfortable stating whether the agent has been effective during the service interaction. The most common way to measure First Contact Resolution is with no repeat calls in a given timeframe.  

How to improve First Contact Resolution

Having a strong FCR strategy in place is important if you want to increase the number of times that customer issues are resolved on the first try. 

Improve the questions you ask customers

It’s worth coming up with a detailed script of questions that your support agents can run through when they first receive a customer service request. It’s important to really get to the bottom of the customer’s problem and often customers lack the necessary language to communicate their point. All they know is that something is wrong and they are looking to you to find a way to fix it. 

When you ask the right questions to customers getting in touch with your customer service team, this is a quick way to eliminate a number of scenarios that might be causing the issue. Asking follow-up questions makes it less likely that customers will need to contact you again with a similar problem. 

It’s always a good idea to ask customers: “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” to prevent recurring follow up calls. 

Implement a knowledge base

Self-service knowledge bases are a great way to deflect more customer queries and give your agents more time to devote to First Contact Resolution. Even if the customer consults the knowledge base and still needs to contact your support team, at least this rules out the solutions that were offered by your self-service content. 

When customers come on the line and they haven’t made use of your knowledge base, you can help them out and point them towards a resource they can use next time. This serves the dual purpose of ensuring the customer has their problem fixed and empowering them to solve an issue themselves in the future. 

If you make use of self-service documentation, this can often be used to guide customers through a fix, reducing the amount of time agents need to spend helping your customers. 

Empower your tier 1 reps

Usually, it’s not considered a First Contact Resolution if your tier 1 service reps need to escalate the problem. Therefore, to improve your First Contact Resolution rate you’ll want to reduce the number of support tickets that need to be escalated to tier 2 agents or a more technical support agent by empowering tier 1 agents to solve problems themselves. 

For example, you might want to give your tier 1 agents the ability to authorize a refund without having to consult a colleague. This means your customer’s issue gets resolved and your agent doesn’t have to escalate the issue up the chain. 

It’s all about streamlining your processes and removing the roadblocks that prevent your frontline agents from helping customers. 

Adequately train your support staff

It seems simple but many companies forget to provide their support staff with regular training in your products and services. The more skilled and knowledgeable your service reps are, the more likely it is that they can resolve the customer’s issue in the first interaction. The solutions they come up with will be more effective and take into account a multitude of factors. 

Of course, nothing beats experience when it comes to solving customer problems. When you invest in the professional development of your seasoned service reps, it’s more likely you will retain staff in the long-term. 

At the end of the day, it’s your service reps who are going to be increasing your First Contact Resolution, so you need to equip them with the skills to do so. 

Emphasize the importance of First Contact Resolution to your agents

If your agents don’t know that you’re trying to improve First Contact Resolution rate, they won’t be able to concentrate their efforts into quickly solving customer problems. You need to emphasize FCR throughout your customer service team and let them know that it is being tracked. 

You can offer incentives to those agents who achieve the highest First Contact Resolution rates, and ask them to let other colleagues to job shadow them and learn from their success. If agents are aware that FCR is being tracked, they can offer their feedback for how processes could be streamlined.

First Contact Resolution needs to be part of your agents’ KPIs and targets so that their job performance is tied to increasing FCR.  

First contact resolution best practices

Avoid measuring conflicting KPIs

When tracking First Contact Resolution, it’s important not to overwhelm your support reps with conflicting KPIs. For example, if reps are worrying about Average Handle Time (AHT), which is how long they are spending on an interaction with a customer, this will divert their attention from FCR. 

The metrics and KPIs your contact center is tracking should reinforce one another and ensure that your team is working towards achievable goals. It shouldn’t matter if a call is a little longer than usual if the agent is able to resolve the issue first time and prevent a recurrence. 

Harmonious KPIs ensure that your agents are working effectively to support your customers. 

Let customers decide when the issue is resolved

We’ve already discussed how there can be difficulty in gathering the necessary data to track First Contact Resolution. If there is pressure on your agents to meet aggressive contact center targets, they may be motivated to mark customer tickets as closed before they have really been resolved. 

That’s why it’s best to let the customer decide when the issue has been resolved, ideally when they haven’t reopened the ticket within a specific timeframe such as ten days. Agents should be incentivized to thoroughly deal with tickets to the customer’s satisfaction, not the agent’s satisfaction. 

You can always ask the customer during the interaction whether their issue has been solved, then mark the ticket as closed. 

Measure FCR across channels

First Contact Resolution is not going to be the same across email, phone, live chat, and social media. It’s important to measure these channels individually to get an idea of how well your agents are responding to customer enquiries. 

When you have an idea of the standard your agents are performing across channels, you’re looking at customer support from an omnichannel perspective. No matter what channel your customers contact you on, they’re going to receive the same highly effective support from your service reps. 

If customers have a seamless customer experience over all your channels, they are more likely to be satisfied with the support they receive. When customer satisfaction increases, this leads to enhanced brand loyalty.  

Focus on the channels with the best FCR rate

That being said, some channels may be better for resolving queries than others. For example, your team may be fantastic at resolving queries through email but not so effective on live chat. It benefits your business if you can emphasize those channels where customers get the best experience and this leads to an increase in customer satisfaction. 

Some channels might be more effective than others because it is easier for customers to explain and illustrate their problem. Some agents might prefer customer calls because it is easier to build a rapport with customers and ask follow-up questions to check if the problem really has been solved. With live chat or email, customers may simply stop replying if they think their problem has already been fixed. 

Find out for sure what channels are better for supporting your customers and direct customers towards them. 

Collect customer feedback

Your First Contact Resolution rate is only as good as your customers think it is. If you’ve rushed customers off the phone but they don’t think you solved their issue, their feedback isn’t going to be good. It’s important to consistently gather feedback on how well your customers think your team has been doing and whether their issue was resolved on first contact. 

You can use this feedback to regularly improve your processes and check that your agents are performing to a high standard. You want your agents to be friendly, helpful and effective, or customers will be leaving their support interaction dissatisfied.

Developing a customer-centric culture is crucial for improving First Contact Resolution, and listening to your customers is an important part of that.  

Respond to customer enquiries quickly

First Contact Resolution is closely related to First Response Time, which is the amount of time that elapses between when a customer submits their ticket and an agent first responds to them. Not only do customers want resolutions in one interaction, but they want them quickly. 

In order to reply to customers in a timely manner and close their cases, your customer support team needs to be fully staffed and able to handle the volume. Unfortunately, there is no way around having the right number of agents to be able support your customers, apart from ticket deflection tactics like a self-service knowledge base.

Support your agents in successfully handling your customer enquiries and ensure they have the necessary resources at their disposal.  

Wrapping up

First Contact Resolution is a powerful metric to measure because it tells you how well your support reps are handling customer enquiries. 90% of customers consider issue resolution to be their most important customer service concern, so improving FCR is a good way to keep your customers happy and ensure they remain loyal to your business

When agents resolve a customer issue in a single interaction, they come across as competent and helpful and able to meet customer expectations. 

FCR is best considered alongside other customer service metrics like customer satisfaction, because it’s no good if your agents are providing a solution but customers consider your service unprofessional or slow. You should track a range of important metrics and KPIs to obtain a full picture of your customer service quality. 

catherine heath

Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She often writes case studies, help documentation and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at

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