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The ForeSee blog for CX professionals and the Voice of Customer community.

Improving the Contact Center Customer Experience: The First Call Resolution Myth

This is the first post in a two-part series based on contact center customer experience trends we’re seeing in our client benchmarks from the first quarter of 2015. Never miss a post: subscribe to The ForeSee Blog to receive an email alert whenever new content is published.

Listening to the voice of the customer is key to improving the customer experience. But “listening to the voice of the customer” takes on a very literal meaning when it comes to the contact center. Whether customers are engaging with your organization via a live agent, IVR system, email, or live chat, the contact center creates a single point of vulnerability that has a large influence on a customer’s overall view of your company. This is especially true in today’s multichannel, multi-device world where consumers demand seamless experiences wherever and whenever they interact with your brand. Is your contact center experience living up to consumers’ heightened expectations?

According to ForeSee benchmark data from the last three years, overall satisfaction with the contact center has decreased while consumer expectations of a “seamless brand experience” continue to rise:

Contact Center Customer Satisfaction is declining while customer expectations are on the rise
To truly drive success in the contact center, you need to understand the experience from your customers’ perspective.Traditional efficiency metrics like first call resolution, duration and average queue length do little more than tell you what happened and when. Adding voice of customer analytics to the mix serves to uncover deeper insights about your company’s most important asset: the customer.

For example, does first call resolution tell you what you need to know to improve the customer experience? When we looked at first call resolution for seven of our contact center clients, we found both the best performing (100% first call resolution) and the worst performing (59% first call resolution) had the same satisfaction score (94). Additionally, nearly 10% of callers who had their issue resolved during their first experience with a company’s contact center had a low satisfaction score and were 50% less likely than satisfied customers to recommend that company.

First Call Resolution and Customer Satisfaction

We also found that first time callers whose issue was resolved had the same satisfaction score (91) as repeat callers whose issue was resolved. However, the repeat caller group was more likely than the first time caller group to recommend the company and purchase from them again. It’s worth noting here that the “repeat caller” group includes callers whose issue was not resolved on their first call who had to call more than once about the same issue. This tells us that just because a caller’s issue was resolved the first time doesn’t mean they were satisfied with the experience. Some were just as satisfied with the experience even though they had to call multiple times.

So what are you missing? Clearly, resolving a customer’s issue the first time they call doesn’t automatically lead to a happy customer. First call resolution tells you how efficient you were, but looking at the metric alongside voice of customer data helps you uncover deeper insights about how your customers viewed the experience, and where you should focus improvements beyond call resolution.

ForeSee’s proven approach to customer experience measurement accurately and precisely measures customer satisfaction with individual elements of a customer’s contact center interaction—like accessibility, responsiveness, agent knowledge, agent professionalism and resolution—to identify top priorities for improving the overall experience. This helps you understand the impact individual elements of the experience have on overall customer satisfaction and how you should prioritize improvements to create a better experience from your customers’ point of view.

And better customer experiences are better for your company. ForeSee benchmark data from the first quarter of 2015 tells us customers who report being highly satisfied with a company’s contact center experience are 266% more likely than dissatisfied customers to purchase from the company next time and 286% more likely to recommend it. So even if you didn’t resolve a call the first time, a satisfied customer is always a win.

highly satisfied contact center customers-770
Next time, we’ll dig deeper into the contact center’s role in multichannel customer experiences. Sign up to receive email alerts from The ForeSee Blog here, or learn more about our proven voice of customer analytics for contact centers here.

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ForeSee | Eric Head

About the Author

As Senior Director, Sales Eric leads ForeSee’s business development efforts in the Midwest, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic regions. With more than 20 years’ experience managing advanced technology products and programs, he has played a key role in the company’s strategic growth, including helping ForeSee expand into the European market as well as launching ForeSee’s offline business. Prior to joining ForeSee, Eric was director of automotive programs for Internet Operations Center, a leading regional Internet applications service provider. There, he brought new Internet and e-commerce applications and solutions to the automotive industry. Eric earned a B.S. in marketing from the Miami University-Oxford and an MBA with distinction from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Read more posts by Eric Head


  1. Jason Faria

    Great points here. All metrics need to be compared relative to both qualitative and quantitative data points to actually see what they mean and WHY they are what they are.

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