How to Calculate First Call Resolution

Four white caricatures are sitting in a row in front of their laptops and are wearing headsets

A primary goal of the service desk will always be to resolve incidents and fulfill service requests as quickly as possible which, by definition, implies the first call or contact. For this reason, First Call Resolution is the service desk outsourcing industry metric that matters the most. While many IT professionals agree this is a fair assumption, how FCR is calculated is often easier said than done.

First, you have to capture the data. Since the information gathered by the ACD/phone systems must be documented into a separate ITSM platform or ticketing system, the accuracy of FCR remains the responsibility of the individual agent handling that call. Next, tracking and reporting on such measurements requires a unique field for FCR only so there is no inaccurate reporting during the operational review of the service desk’s performance. To achieve that from a development standpoint, the ITSM platform should include a dropdown field to tickets (service request parent and incident) that would be labeled “First Call Resolution” and contain either “Yes”, “No,” or “N/A” selection options with “N/A” being default.  A failsafe FCR field should remain “read-only” once the information is entered by the initial handling service desk agent. Otherwise, if it remains editable to any subsequent personnel who may update the ticket including members of the client’s IT group, there is a risk of data contamination versus accurately reporting FCR. Procedurally, the agent then marks that field as either “Yes” or “No” when they submit the ticket, a simple proposition since they’ll know during the call whether they resolved it or had to escalate it.

Then we base a calculation on only those tickets that were marked thus avoiding tickets that require approval, auto-route, or are client engineer created. So once the parameters are properly set within the ticketing system and the procedural steps established and released to the Level 1 team for training, FCR equation itself is as simple as the following example:

15 total tickets submitted with either “Yes” or “No” marked.

6 total tickets submitted and marked “No” (i.e. not resolved on the first call)

The calculation becomes 15-6 = 9 ÷ 15 x 100 = 60% FCR

Once we’ve established the mathematical calculation and how it is documented in the ticketing system, the more important question becomes, how do we qualify instances where FCR is beyond the realm of capability? Depending on the client, the disclaimers are varied:

  • For new software rollouts, there is no knowledgebase article in existence and the agent has to call back after researching the solution.
  • Access limitations to a particular network or application force ticket escalation.
  • The call is related to a client-side server outage or other problem not resolved at Level 1
  • The end user is missing required multi-field data for authentication and has to call back.

The good news is reviewing all incidents that weren’t resolved in the first call is a great place to start for root cause analysis during operational review meetings. Apart from evaluating the service desk’s performance and meeting SLA’s, the metrics are intended to provide such insight and identify opportunities for service improvement. Typically, the service desk Team Lead or Operations Manager will evaluate those metrics to make recommendations for expansion of capabilities whether through additional access, documentation, or training. While the latter two recommendations are often easily approved by the client, when dealing with their more sensitive data and risks associated with infrastructure vulnerability, certain access should understandably remain segregated from the service desk.

In addition, the metric can be tracked to a specific agent using a change table record and tied to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure individual performance. In such instances, FCR can also be used as a motivational tool by holding contests that reward agents with the highest FCR rate. This proactive approach to increasing FCR encourages agents to hone their subject matter expertise in the client’s IT environment and processes so that escalation occurs mostly due to access or documentation limitations as well as the need for an onsite presence. Whether addressed individually or by a group during the operational review, maximizing FCR means getting end users back to work as quickly as possible which is why it remains the biggest driver of customer satisfaction.