Blog - First Call Resolution

Enhancing First Call Resolution Rates

Mark Luffman, resident CX expert at Marlin Communications explains the pivotal role of First Call Resolution in customer service. Mark discusses the ripple effect on customer satisfaction and operational efficiency and explains how it affects operations and customer interactions.

The Domino Effect of Low First Call Resolution

Dominoes Falling Down - First Call Resolution

When customers don’t get their issues resolved on the first call, they have to call back. Every repeat caller effectively doubles the number of calls you have to handle. This surge in call volume affects several key areas:

Customer Service Impact

Repeat calls mean customers are dissatisfied from the outset. If their issue wasn’t resolved the first time, they’re likely already frustrated when they call again. This frustration can turn what might have been a straightforward call into a lengthy and unpleasant experience. The longer the issue remains unresolved, the greater the chance of eroding customer loyalty, which can ultimately affect the company’s bottom line.

Call Queues and Handling Times

With more calls coming in, call queues become longer. Longer queues lead to longer average handling times as well, especially if the calls are complaints about unresolved issues. This makes customer service levels drop.

High call volumes can also overwhelm your systems, leading to increased wait times and, in some cases, dropped calls. This further aggravates customers and diminishes their overall customer experience.

Agent Stress and Attrition

Your agents bear the brunt of these repeat calls. Dealing with frustrated customers can quickly lead to burnout. High-stress levels among agents not only reduce their effectiveness but also contribute to higher staff turnover. Nobody wants to stay in a job where they constantly face unhappy customers. Additionally, the constant strain on agents can result in decreased morale and productivity, creating a cycle of inefficiency.

Breaking the Cycle

Woman Breaking Glass - First Call Resolution

To tackle low first call resolution rates, I’ve found that listening to your agents is crucial. They’re on the front lines and often have valuable insights into why issues aren’t being resolved on the first call. Here are some strategies I’ve implemented in the past:

Agent Feedback

Regularly consult with agents to understand the challenges they face. They might lack the necessary information or tools to resolve issues effectively. Implementing regular feedback sessions and anonymous surveys can uncover hidden obstacles and allow you to address them proactively. It’s also important to foster a culture where agents feel their feedback is valued and acted upon.

Leveraging AI

AI can be a game-changer in improving first call resolution. Real-time monitoring of calls allows your systems to identify what the customer is asking for and provide the agent with the required information instantly. This technology minimises the need for agents to search through various systems, giving them the answers they need right at their fingertips. Additionally, AI can predict common issues based on historical data and guide agents through resolution steps, making the process more efficient.

Intelligent Screen Pops

Integrating your CRM systems to provide relevant information based on the customer’s phone number or recent interactions is essential. For instance, if a customer has an appointment the next day, the system can automatically bring that information to the agent’s attention. This level of preparedness can significantly improve the customer’s experience and reduce call duration. Furthermore, having a comprehensive view of the customer’s history allows agents to personalise the interaction, which tends to enhance customer satisfaction.

Optimising IVR Systems

A well-designed IVR system is vital. Simplify the options to ensure customers reach the right department quickly. Avoid adding unnecessary options just for data collection purposes. This reduces the chances of customers getting frustrated and ensures they don’t get lost in endless menus. Regularly reviewing and updating the IVR menu based on customer feedback can also help in keeping it relevant and efficient.

The Role of Technology in First Call Resolution

Man and Woman on Laptops - First Call Resolution

AI and other advanced technologies can significantly boost your first call resolution rates. By reducing the time it takes to train agents and providing them with real-time assistance, you can handle calls more efficiently. AI can also help ensure that agents are consistently delivering high-quality service, even when dealing with complex issues. For example, AI-driven real time monitoring can monitor call quality and provide agents with instant feedback, allowing them to improve continuously.


Additionally, technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) can help in understanding customer queries better and faster, leading to quicker resolutions. Implementing chatbots for common enquiries can also free up agents to handle more complex issues, improving overall first call resolution rates.

Training and Empowerment

Investing in comprehensive training programs is another key to improving first call resolution. Agents need to be well-versed not only in the technical aspects of their role but also in soft skills like empathy and problem-solving. Regular training sessions and workshops can help keep their skills sharp and up-to-date with the latest best practices and technological advancements.

Empowering agents with the authority to make decisions can also enhance first call resolution. When agents have the autonomy to resolve issues without needing multiple approvals, the resolution process becomes much more efficient. Providing clear guidelines and support from management can help agents feel confident in making these decisions.

Continuous Improvement

Improving first call resolution is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process. Regularly reviewing performance metrics and customer feedback is crucial. By identifying patterns and areas for improvement, you can continually refine your processes and strategies. Setting up a dedicated team to monitor and improve first call resolution can ensure that this remains a priority.

Achieving high first call resolution rates is essential for delivering exceptional customer service. By addressing the root causes of low rates, leveraging advanced technologies, investing in training, and fostering a supportive work environment, you can enhance both customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

It’s a continuous journey, but with the right approach, it’s certainly attainable.

Mark Luffman – Customer Success Manager

Expert Insights ML

Customer Experience Solutions from Marlin Communications

Marlin Communications offers enterprise-grade customer experience solutions that cater for all business types and sizes, we work with the best solution providers out there (Zoom, Five9, Luware, GoTo) and take a consultative approach to working with your business and only select the right solution that aligns with your business goals.

We offer a free 30-minute discovery call to discuss your requirements and the network resilience options available to your business.

Call us on 0800 032 8274 or book a discovery call here.


About Marlin Communications

Marlin Communications is an award-winning, leading provider of Unified Communications & collaboration solutions including voice, data, mobile, video, network security and contact centre technology for businesses of 50 – 5,000 staff.

We have clients across the UK and in Europe and our own, on-premises, 1,000 ft² Technology Suite at our Bath office, where we host regular events and showcase technology solutions for our clients. Contact us for your free comms audit or product demo.

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