You’ll be glad to know that your situation is common. First call resolution is what I call a “legacy metric” from the call center industry. It has been around since the very first call centers were created in the 1970s. It was defined then as the percentage of calls that solved a customer’s problem or answered a customer’s question on the first call. For more service-oriented calls (e.g., credit card bill inquiries, catalog orders, burnt out street lights, etc.), it was an excellent KPI to watch. Fast-forward to 2010 and we find that technical support operations are being held to forty-year-old standards. No one wonder managers are losing their hair!
FCR is just one key performance indicator (KPI) among dozens, and it has been endowed with far more importance than it deserves. If it is too high, it suggests that the calls the support operation are receiving are either very easy or what is being measured is very limited; cherry picking is never a good idea. FCR is merely one indication of a support operation’s performance; it is like blood pressure, pulse, and respiration—an indication of health. Just as you would not want your doctor to “fudge” these indicators, I suggest that the first thing you do is to stop parsing what you measure. If you don’t count everything, FCR is useless. If you are receiving calls about parts of the IT operation that you don’t control, then record the calls and track how they will be resolved, when they are resolved, and how often you receive these calls. Finally, don’t take FCR so seriously. Unless you have control over and can influence every aspect of the IT infrastructure, it’s just not that important. Look at it in the context of your entire operation and explain to your employees that FCR is just one KPI among many.