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Call Center Service Goal: Achieving First Call Resolution

Many clients do not get answers to their questions on their first call, and thus creating unnecessary callbacks.

Call center managers are dying to find ways to be able to measure performance as it relates to First Call Resolution.

Perhaps only those with unlimited resources might even get a glimpse at it.

I recommend in cases where it is virtually impossible to get an accurate score to focus primarily on proper methods to improve first call resolution and attach scores to each of these methods.

The methods are more easily measurable because you control them.

To better illustrate my point let’s begin by applying a problem solving approach.

At the end of which I promise you will have plenty of ideas to improve your customer satisfaction.

What are the possible causes of the FCR problem?

  • Client Influence
  • Process adequacy.
  • Employee understanding of process.
  • Employee adherence to process.
  • Employee knowledge base.
  • Employee years of experience.
  • Employee competency.
  • Employee commitment.
  • Product quantity and complexity.

Interesting Note

All of the causes of the FCR problem are the same causes that affect quality and handling time (AHT).

Therefore, a solution with a scope that solves FCR, quality and AHT will be a highly effective solution.

Let’s examine each possible cause a little closer.


  • The number of inquiries within a call?
  • The number of changes?
  • The client’s capacity to grasp the concepts/responses/information to his/her questions.
  • The complexity of the client’s questions/requests.
  • The language/cultural barrier.
  • The client’s readiness with paperwork or necessary information etc…


  • Are the processes well defined?
  • Are they as efficient as possible?
  • Too many steps? Too many rules?
  • Easy to follow? i.e. logically structured
  • Easy to remember?
  • Simple? i.e. intuitive
  • Cumbersome to the clients? The agents?
  • Are the systems adequate and helpful?
  • Do they work efficiently?
  • Are they reliable?
  • Are the right tools available?
  • Are they efficient?
  • Are they reliable?


  • How well does an agent understand the process?
  • How do we measure his/her understanding?
  • What impact does your not knowing the level of understanding have on the productivity & quality of our results?


  • How well does an agent adhere to the process?
  • How do we measure process adherence?
  • What frequency?
  • What version of the process is being adhered to?
  • How solid is our communications about process changes, or process improvements?
  • What system for following-up is in place when change has occurred?
  • What accountability exists for process adherence? For the agent? For the Team Leader? For the Manager?


  • How do we measure the knowledge base of an agent?
  • How frequently do we measure it?
  • How can we increase the knowledge base?
  • How do we ensure his/her knowledge base is up-to-the-minute?
  • How strong is our communications approach regarding updating knowledge base?
  • How can we improve continuous learning ?


  • From the moment a new employee hits the floor, how long does it take to reach the target productivity standards?
  • Do we have support/programs to develop new hires to full potential?
  • Are there different expectations for different experience?
  • What constitutes an experience level?
  • What is the number of experienced people? How much does experience cost? Or how much does the lack of experience cost?
  • How effective are we at recruiting experienced people?


  • Measuring Listening skills. Is the agent really understanding the client’s problem?
  • How do we measure the agent’s capacity to effectively take control of a call? Is he/she too forceful? Too timid? Diplomatic ?
  • How do we measure his/her organizational skills?
  • How do we measure
    • Typing skills?
    • Sales techniques?
    • Communication skills?
    • His/her self-assurance, confidence?


  • How do we measure employee engagement?
  • What is employee engagement?
  • What does engagement depend on?
  • What is the agent’s time utilization?


The more products and the more complex these are, the more difficult the agent’s job is.

  • Product changes?
  • New products?
  • Underwriting changes?
  • Legal changes and requirements?

What does this all mean?

What it comes down to is that your success depends on how much your agents know and do.

To have highly skilled agents capable of resolving client questions on the first call, we need to focus on our coaching approach, coaching skills and coaching manpower.

We need to constantly ensure that our people know everything they need to know, and do everything they need to do in order to improve the first call resolution, quality and AHT.

But the “KNOWING” must come first.

  • What can prevent an agent from knowing everything he/she needs to know?
  • If she is a new on the job,
  • If she missed a training session,
  • If she did not receive the communication,
  • If she did not read the communication,
  • If she misunderstood the communication, the training, the coaching,
  • If she doesn’t care,
  • Hired the wrong profile,
  • Information overload.
  • What can prevent an analyst from doing everything she needs to do?
    • If he did not know, and/or
    • If he is a new on the job.
    • If he doesn’t know and doesn’t care.
    • If he knows but doesn’t care.
    • Competing priorities
    • Barriers
    • They have a better way.


As you can see, what an employee knows is crucial to our success? And ensuring they know everything they need to know is a critical success factor.

You rely heavily on your team leaders and trainers to build and maintain your workforce.

The proper coaching methods and especially having the appropriate methods of follow-up are the keys to ensuring that our people know everything they need to know, and do everything they need to do.

This is certainly not news to any of us.

Yet, it is impossible not to feel as if we are discovering it for the first time as we see just how significant the impact really has on so many critical fronts mainly client experience (FCR), quality and productivity (AHT).


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