First-Call Resolution by Six Sigma

Part two in a two part series on First-Call Resolution. Read Part one, Inputs Driving Poor First-Call Resolution

Here’s how to get started with a Six Sigma project:

Step 1. Define: Conduct an information-seeking drill-down with SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) who are proven resources in the center. This can help determine the objective and scope of your project. Those SME’s should also be a part of your project team.

Step 2. Measure: Track calls for a 30 day window in an excel spreadsheet, if you do not have a more sophisticated system.

Step 3. Analyze: Flag repeat calls by analyzing those agent logs and any IVR system data (if you have an IVR or any other self-service tools, they should be included here). Identify whether an issue was resolved on the first call and if not, the actual reasons for repeated calls. Look at all customer interface points, because if the customer first contacted you via self-service systems, that counts as a call.

Step 4a. Improve: Make certain you provide a measurement system of record to measure FCR from the first day forward. You need useful information to conduct further root cause analyses and provide data for your control charts. What’s one ideal outcome? Could it be one where you continue to use the technology now in place – but making it work better for you or leverage new technology?

Handpicked Content:   For Want of a Nail

Step 4b. Improve: Perform an MSA once that measurement system is in place on IVR transactions and track where calls go once they are handled (*handled = call is answered) — Look at calls and how the IVR is handling them. Many customers merely opt to zero out. That choice, however, isn’t giving you interpretable data. Callers choose to zero out for numerous reasons, including their desire to speak with a live agent.

One method of measurement can be a standard question agents can ask the customer at the close of a call:

“Is there anything else I can do?” or “Is this what you wanted?”

These questions allow a crude estimate of FCR. The best way to measure FCR as part of Improve, is to add a question to your post call survey (if you have one), that asks:

“What your call successfully resolved the first time you called?

If No, follow-up that question with a series of options asking the caller why wasn’t it resolved during that 1st call:

a) Agent lacked authority
b) Agent lacked knowledge
c) etc…

Step 5: Build control charts around the “Done in One” concept (a.k.a. FCR) and publish, like we do, to an intranet that the agents have access to. Make sure you multi-dimensionalize it to allow agents to drill though center metrics to their individual agent FCR score.


Comments 7

  1. Sue Kozlowski

    Thanks. Laura, for your series on call centers. As a former call-center manager, I wish I had known about the DMAIC approach during that time!

    Thanks for sharing your learnings.

  2. Sue Kozlowski

    Thanks for your series on Call Centers, Laura. As a former Call Center manager I wish I had known about Six Sigma methdology at the time!

    You make very valid observations on a process that is CTQ for customers. Thanks for sharing.

  3. laura

    Hi Laura,
    thanks for the drill down you gave on FCR, do you have any ways where we could measure the FCR in house in the first place with out actually going on to the survey? If yes could you please explain them.

  4. Ryan

    Great article Laura. First call resolution really is the most important metric a call center can track.

  5. Laura

    I am working on overall FCR improvement in a technical process where customer contact due to technical issues related to products. There are 3 contact lines Viz., Phone, Chat and Email. The current overall FCR performance is around 70 and the target is at 76%. The major impact is from email FCR which is at 50%. Post brainstorming with the team we had come across the below causes for overall low FCR % – 1. Ineffective Probing, 2. Agents not using knowledge base tool, 3. Agent Technical Knowledge, 4. Lack of Real-Time Support from TL/Sup, 5. Lack of practical knowledge of troubleshooting issues, 6. Impact of agents within 0-30 days of experience, 7. Long time to resolve the problem, 8. Lack of complete information (Email).
    We have data coming from CSAT survey filled by customer after every contact. Survey response rate is good.

    I would like to carryout Hypothesis analysis to validate the causes. Need help in selecting the right type of hypothesis tests or other statistical tools to draw correct inferences. What are the different types of other analysis we can carry out in D,M,A,I,C steps. Will really appreciate help.

  6. the analyst

    Hi Laura,

    I’m currently working on a service desk for a global account. I’ll be leading a project for FCR improvement and since a service desk needs to have a short term solution, we applied the dispatch tracking process where agents needs to have an approval from their supervisor before they can dispatch tickets to other resolving group in this way your team can filter those "should be" resolvable incidents and have it fixed. Now we’re almost meeting our FCR SLA but we are still on the analysis part of our FCR improvement project.

  7. philippine call center

    Nice article. First call resolution is important in a call center industry. Thanks for posting this article.

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