Featured Image for the blog: FCR Not Improving? Fix It With Happier Agents

A high first contact resolution (FCR) rate is the ultimate goal of almost every contact center – and for a good reason.

According to research by SQM, 86% of customers expect their issue to be resolved on the first call. Each time a customer has to call back because the prior issue that was not resolved, customer satisfaction (CSAT) drops, on average, 15%.


But, it goes beyond customers. Repeat calls drive up costs, kill efficiency, and frustrate agents.

The struggle is real.

The industry average FCR is 70%, with the top performers achieving an FCR level of 80% or higher. The 10% that separates the average performers from the top performers seems insignificant, but improving FCR, even a little bit, isn’t easy.

FCR is impacted by so many factors that the cause could be anything – poor culture, bad processes, or inefficient technology. Improving it can require a deep dive into operations and data to find and solve the issues standing in the way of progress.

But, if you’re a contact center with a low FCR, and you’re not ready to do a total overhaul of operations, research from MetricNet indicates there may be an easier way.

Create rockstar agents.

A study by MetricNet found that a lack of agent training may be the cause of consistently low FCR.

The study concluded that when agents received less than 20 hours annually, contact centers experienced below average FCR.

On the flipside, contact centers that provided their agents with 50+ annual hours of training had a higher than average FCR.

First contact resolution

The importance of supporting new agents with sufficient training is also crucial, as the study found that contact centers whose new agents received 350+ hours of training also reported a higher than average FCR.

The business benefits of improved FCR

FCR impacts the overall performance of the contact center, and any improvement will set into motion a ripple effect of betterment. Using a collection of surveys and data, SMG found that improving FCR has been shown to:

Reduce operating cost – for every 1% improvement in FCR, a contact center reduces its operating costs by 1%.

Improve CSAT – for every 1% improvement in FCR, there is a 1% improvement in CSAT (top box response).

Reduce customers at risk – only 2% of customers who have their call resolved on the first call expressed their intent not to continue to use the organization’s products and services as a result of their contact center experience.

The Agent Satisfaction Connection

In a recent survey by ICMI, 61% of contact centers reported that their agents only receive 0-50 hours of ongoing training each year. In that same survey, 50.8% of agents admit they quit due to lack of training and advancement opportunities.

If we combine the data from the FCR study and the ICMI stats above, then, in theory, more training should result in both improved FCR and higher agent satisfaction.

And, indeed it does.

In the same SMG study as above, it was discovered that for every 1% improvement in FCR, contact centers, on average, experience a 1% to 5% improvement in ASAT.

It’s clear that agents who aren’t getting the training they need to be successful are unsatisfied with their job and their performance suffers. Agents who are being sufficiently trained thrive and perform better than average.

Take care of your agents and performance improvements will follow.

If contact centers want to improve key performance indicators like FCR, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce operating expenses, they have to start with the foundation of their contact center – their agents.

Putting an untrained agent on the floor and expecting high performance is like building a house out of straw and expecting it to survive the huff and puff of the big bad wolf. Spoiler alert: it won’t survive.

Training is the only way to empower agents to handle the challenges of their job. When they are empowered, they are happy. And, when they are happy, contact centers and customers win.