The call center channel is still highly used for handling low- to high-complexity inquiries and problems. In fact, SQM research shows that the call center channel has the highest contact volume of all contact channels for resolving an inquiry or problem. Interestingly, the call center channel makes up 40% of total contact channel volume. Call center first call resolution (FCR) is 70% and one contact resolution (OCR) is 59%, which means an alarming 41% of customers had to contact the organization more than once to resolve the same inquiry or problem. For those customers who used the call center channel 20% of customers used two or more contact channels to resolve their inquiry or problem. OCR is a tougher metric to achieve than FCR because the calculation of OCR factors in whether or not other channels were used trying to resolve an inquiry or problem and FCR only factors in the call center channel being used to resolve the inquiry or problem. Organizations should strive for a 75% OCR performance level in their call center to reduce repeat contacts and to improve customer satisfaction (Csat). When the customer experiences OCR using the call center, Csat is 33% higher than non-OCR calls. Clearly, when a customer experiences OCR it is the leading indicator for Csat.

Call Center Customer Experience Research

The below data shows historical FCR performance for the call center industry has increased by 2% since 2008. FCR has moderately improved since 2008 with the exception of 2015, where FCR declined. It is SQM’s opinion that the reason FCR has been stagnant, or is showing a decline, in the last few years is that call complexity has increased drastically because self-service channels handle more of the simple inquiries and problems. In order to maintain or improve FCR performance, call centers have made many improvements to their people, process, and technology practices. However, it is SQM’s opinion that for most call centers, call complexity has increased at a higher rate than the improvement changes that call centers have made to their people, process, and technology practices.

Historical FCR Performance Research

The following data shows orders with the highest FCR at 81%, inquiries 73%, account maintenance 70%, billing 68%, technical 63%, claims 59%, and complaints with the lowest FCR at 40%. For many call centers, orders, inquiries, and account maintenance have low to moderate call type complexity and therefore typically have higher than average FCR performance. Billing, technical, claims, and complaint call types have moderate to high call complexity and therefore typically have lower than average FCR performance. As a general rule of thumb, SQM uses average handle time (talk and wrap-up time), new hire and existing CSR training requirements, call flow, and desktop applications as the main determining factors for call complexity. Another important component of call complexity is the emotional aspect of the call, especially for customers who are calling the call center with a complaint.13% of customers who used a call center channel define their call reason as a complaint call. Interestingly, most call centers do not define and identify all customer complaints. A complaint is a gift from the customer because it allows the organization to provide service recovery and the opportunity to improve.

FCR Performance Comparison by Call Type