First contact resolution is a high priority metric for most contact centers, since it’s seen as a key driver of customer satisfaction. Customers increasingly want their queries resolved during their first contact with an organization.

They expect agents to be well trained, fully empowered and that agents will have access to all the technology they need to research and provide a prompt solution.

Company benefits

Of course, customer satisfaction scores aren’t the only benefit of first contact resolution. Satisfied customers ensure loyalty, repeat business and positive referrals. Resolving issues on first contact reduces the volume of calls and contacts a company has to handle. Quick resolutions reduce overall time spent resolving customer queries. It all adds up to more revenue and reduced costs.

Agent benefits

Agents benefit from first contact resolution, too. An agent’s job far more satisfying they have the tools and skills to properly address customer needs and it’s far more rewarding when they know they can really make a difference for their customers.

What to look for

So what do you need to look out for when creating a contact center that’s going to drive improved first contact resolution rates? Here are a few pointers that should be on any checklist when evaluating your options:

1.     An IVR (Interactive Voice Response) and scripting tool should be set up to direct customers to the agents or teams that are trained with the skills to deal with specific queries.

2.     Ideally, a customer should be automatically identified so that they can be routed to the agent they worked with previously—or at least to an agent who is trained to deal with their specific issues. Entering an account code or using caller line identity (CLI) are two ways of automatically identifying customers.

3.     A contact center should be able to integrate with your company’s underlying CRM system, so that your company can review histories and provide updates.

4.     In busy periods, a customer should be given the choice of requesting a call back as soon as an agent is available or at specific time that’s convenient for them customer

5.     Your contact center should provide open integration to one or more knowledge bases, which can be internal or external.

6.     Make the full range of digital communications available, so that a customer can interact in the way that they feel most comfortable—whether that’s by voice, email, SMS, fax, chat or social media.

7.     Properly integrated call recording is a must for agent training, monitoring customer interactions and ensuring agents are following correct processes.

8.     Built-in instant messaging and presence allow agents to quickly contact a subject matter expert while still communicating with the customer.

9.     Integrated analytics and reporting ensure you can properly measure, conduct root-cause analysis and deploy corrective action.

10.  Automated post-contact customer surveys evaluate if a customer believes their contact was resolved the first time.

Resolving customer issues when nobody’s around

Do your contact center’s operating hours meet the needs of every customer at every moment? If not, you may want to consider self-service capabilities too. If your customer wants to contact you in the middle of the night, does your contact center provide any of these options?

  • A 24/7 virtual assistant that automatically answers basic questions,
  • Self-service access to a knowledge base
  • Automatic account query answers with text-to-speech technologies,
  • Provide access to documents that can be selected and emailed out?

These are all helpful self-service functions to take into consideration when specifying and choosing a contact center.

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Digital transformation has become a top initiative for business and IT leaders. In today’s business world, sustainable market leadership is no longer based solely on which company has the best products or even the best people. Instead, organizations that are agile and can quickly adapt to rapidly evolving market trends will become market leaders.

Tim Kimber

Tim Kimber

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