Metrics MythBusters: Stop Measuring First Call Resolution

True or False: First Call Resolution is the best indicator of Service Desk performance and is a good indicator of the quality of service your clients are receiving.

Answer: False. While many organizations continue to use First Call Resolution for this purpose, entirely too much emphasis is placed on it. Let’s break it down.

First Call Resolution is intended to capture issues that are solved in the first call to the Service Desk while the agent is on the phone. The industry standard is that more than 75% of all issues should be resolved in this manner, resulting in higher customer satisfaction at a lower cost.

However, over the years this metric has been watered down and used inconsistently. Some of the reasons for this include:

  • First call resolution - Intact technology– The logistics of capturing and reporting this information in earlier versions of IT Service Management (ITSM) tools has proven difficult.
  • – The pressure to meet the industry-accepted target to be competitively ranked has created spin-offs of this metric with varying definitions. So many organizations are reporting First Call Resolution rates that do not necessarily maintain the integrity of the original definition. Therefore, any comparisons are invalid.
  • – The move to outsourced Service Desks has helped to further decline the integrity of this statistic. First Call Resolution is today used more often to create a false competitive advantage.
  • – There has long been a lack of clear understanding of what the measurement is and the ultimate outcome that it was meant to achieve, leading to multiple and individual case-by-case perceptions.

Our experience has shown that every organization measures First Call Resolution differently, so it’s not a true competitive measure. In fact, we would go so far as to say it’s an obsolete, archaic key performance indicator. While it still has some internal operational merit and can be utilized to identify personnel knowledge and training gaps, it rarely produces its intended outcomes.

In fact, it has a counterproductive effect on the ultimate ITSM goal of continued reduction in the total number of incidents, because it promotes bad behavior. Instead of permanently resolving easy-to-solve incidents, they’re often allowed to remain in the environment so that they can be easy contributors to the First Call Resolution rate of a Service Desk.

So while Service Desks are able to solve the problem, the bigger issue is the fact that the problem still has to be resolved. That’s why a high First Call Resolution rate rarely equates to a higher level of customer satisfaction.

So, how do we move to more meaningful metrics that will actually yield the desired results? Start with Incident Trending.

It’s no longer enough to just report statistics and meet a target. To stay competitive and to maintain or reduce operating costs, it’s necessary to focus on solid business practices and processes that aim to continuously reduce the incidents that are occurring, thus truly reducing service interruptions and cost while increasing customer satisfaction. You can do this in four simple steps:

Step 1: First gain full visibility into all of the relevant data. You need to correlate disparate data from multiple sources into a single source that can tell a true, accurate, and complete story.

Step 2: Focus on measuring yourself based on what’s important. Clearly identify the outcomes that as a business you need to achieve, and evaluate the indicators that will help paint a true picture of your success (or lack thereof). In short, you need to clean your own house before you start comparing it to someone else’s.

Step 3: Use incentives to motivate your organization to adopt a culture of improvement. Tie incentives to new ideas instead of rewarding people for meeting a static, old target that maintains the status quo.

Step 4: Educate your people on how to identify and read the story the data presents and then ask the questions needed to drive change.

The right data, read correctly, tells a story about your organization – and empowers you to change that story. Indeed, it is possible to create a “happily ever after.” Just remember that there is no end to the story, but a continuous journey and positive path to add chapter after chapter.

For a conversation about how to better understand the story your data is telling, reach out for a conversation.

Related Posts

The Buzz About AIOps

Way back in 1978 there was a Clint Eastwood movie called “Every Which Way But Loose”. That was a lifetime ago technologically, but the title is a great way to sum up the frequent and scattered use of the term AIOPS in the ITOM marketplace today. It seems we are …

Ale Infante • August 29th, 2019 Continue Reading

Why a Bad Software Deployment Is Worse Than Doing Nothing

When companies deploy a new software solution, they do so because they believe it will solve a growing problem, create a new capability, or drive efficiency. Part of your organization’s success may hinge on an effective deployment. If it goes well, that’s great. But if it doesn’t – well, you’re …

Peter Presland-Byrne • June 1st, 2016 Continue Reading