Increase service desk performance: How to improve first call resolution

In the ITSM world, the indicators of success are based upon customer satisfaction and service desk efficiency. A proper metric combines not only the efficient handling of customers, but also the level of customer satisfaction. There is currently a widespread debate within the industry on what benchmark is the best indicator of service management success. In this article, I’d like to explore selecting First Call Resolution as  the main service desk benchmark.comic.jpg

 

What exactly is First Call Resolution (FCR)?  FCR means fully addressing the customer’s needs during the first call they place to the service desk. If this is achieved, then there is no need for a second call, thus saving time and establishing the efficiency of the interaction.  For the service desk, the faster the issue is resolved, the lower the support costs. One would think that short call lengths would be the best indicator of success in the service desk . But even if call lengths are short, if the FCR is low, then customers are still generally dissatisfied with the results of their call. Most people would prefer to spend more time on that first call to experience FCR than to have a very short call, hang up the phone, and need to wait for followup status, still unable to be productive.  This is the reason why FCR is weighted higher than call length when it comes to performance metrics.

 

Besides adopting FCR as the main metric of service desk efficiency and success, benchmarks must be set to determine if service desk standards are being met. Recently, a survey was done with HP customers about what they believe is a good benchmark for FCR. Respondents felt that 75 percent should be the benchmark for FCR.  So are most organizations meeting this benchmark percentage? The study results also showed that only 12.5 percent of IT organizations are reaching this benchmark, with most having FCR at 65 percent or less. This leads to the question “how can an organization improve its FCR?”

 

In order to improve FCR, service desk employees must be well-trained and have a wide breadth of knowledge. Investing in top quality employee training is the first step towards a higher FCR. An organization should also invest in developing a select group of employees and train them to handle the extremely difficult customers and repeat callers. This will help ensure that customer loyalty is maintained.

 

Keeping service desk employees happy is also very important in achieving a high FCR. So much of service management revolves around employee and customer relations that the happiness of service desk employees can greatly improve one’s chances of delivering successful business outcomes. To make employees happier, organizations should adopt employee incentive and motivational programs to maintain devoted employees.

 

Lastly, customer satisfaction with the interaction is key.  Customers must feel that they received all the help they needed from the call, that they believe the issue was resolved to their satisfaction and that they can once more be productive. Customers should be given the opportunity to analyze the interaction and recommended solution, and make changes, if necessary, before deeming the call complete.  The customer should also be given full contextual information about the diagnosis and resolution to educate them (essentially, teaching someone to fish for themselves instead of just giving them a fish). This diminishes the need for future calls from that customer on that same issue.

 

What other measures of service desk success, besides First Call Resolution, are essential to implement and track? Are there more effective measures for capturing efficiency and customer satisfaction? We want to hear your thoughts!  Join the HP ITSM LinkedIn group and weigh in.

 

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Comments
chuck_darst | ‎11-01-2013 12:14 PM

Yvonne, I think your comments about balancing FCR with satisfaction surveys (and a few other metrics) is essential. There has been a lot of debate about FCR being manipulated to make a desired number. Survey results can balance this out. I think a more important dimension relates to the recent blog post by David Baron pulling in automation to reduce calls. If FCR's are in the 90% range, a reasonable (leading) question can be "if we can reasonably answer them, why are some of these calls coming in - in the first place" followed by "can't some of these be avoided". And a reasonable answer is yes.

 

There is a reasonable continual service improvement loop. If FCR percentages are going up (a good thing), then doing some preventative work is likely even better - even if it adversely impacts FCR.

 

Chuck

Yvonne_Bentley | ‎11-02-2013 07:00 PM

Hi Chuck,

 

Thanks for your comment.  True when the same call keeps coming in to the service desk, it is important to pull in automation and save the humans for new issues.  And there are always new issues -- that's where the high-quality, well-trained happy humans with savvy customers come in to improve FCR.  :) 

 

Yvonne

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About the Author
A 25+ year veteran of HP, Yvonne is currently a Senior Product Manager of HP ITSM software including HP Service Anywhere and HP Service Man...


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