In 1750 BCE, in the bustling heart of ancient Mesopotamia, a copper merchant named Ea-nāṣir thought he had closed another routine sale of copper ingots. Little did he know, his customer wasn't exactly thrilled. In fact, the customer was so displeased that he decided to write Ea-nāṣir a strongly worded letter. Yes, you heard that right! A literal stone tablet of dissatisfaction, complaining about the shoddy grade of copper and some other delivery mishap. Here's a glimpse of that ancient Yelp review:

first call resolution stone tablet in British Museum
Tablet on display in the British Museum

Back then, complaints traveled at the speed of a camel, with no guarantee they'd even be addressed. Fast forward to today, and the world has shed its stone tablets for digital pixels. In our age of instant information, computing, and AI, complaints zip through cyberspace in the blink of an eye.

The era of waiting anxiously for a response is over. Modern customers demand instant gratification and lightning-fast service from their IT providers. This is where first-call resolution (FCR) proves essential. Unlike merchants from ancient times, who probably had to chisel out a lengthy reply and hope for the best, today's businesses aim to resolve issues on the very first contact. Indeed, this is a desire for most customers, as shown by some compelling statistics in the infographic below -

Statistic: What is the most important aspect of a good customer service experience? | Statista

Imagine a world where every time you had an issue, it was resolved with a single phone call. No follow-ups, no waiting, just instant solutions. Sounds like a dream, right?

For businesses, this dream is called first-call resolution (FCR), and it's a game-changer!

What is First Call Resolution?

Picture this: You're running customer service for Dunder Mifflin. In June, you got 500 calls about paper orders, and you managed to resolve 400 of them on the first try. Your First Call Resolution is (400 fixes ÷ 500 total calls) x 100, giving you an FCR of 80%.

First Call Resolution (FCR) rate = (Total number of incidents / tickets resolved in the first attempt) ÷ Total number of tickets received) x 100

Why is First Call Resolution Important?

FCR is the gold standard in customer service, ensuring that issues are addressed swiftly and effectively, keeping customers happy and loyal.

In a world where patience is scarce and expectations are high, mastering first-call resolution is essential. It's a whole new world of expectations, far removed from ancient Mesopotamia's marketplace, but the goal remains the same -  satisfied customers!

When customers reach out with a problem, they're already a little frustrated. Making them repeat their issue to multiple agents or wait for days only fuels the fire!

First call resolution workarounds
No one has time to wait until the end of the world!

First-call resolution means their concerns are addressed immediately, leaving them pleasantly surprised and incredibly satisfied. It's like offering them a glass of cold lemonade on a scorching day - they didn't just want it; they needed it!

But what happens when first-call resolution falls short? The consequences can be catastrophic, as a few well-known companies have found out the hard way.

Examples of First-Call Resolution Failures and the Fallout

1. Comcast's Customer Service Debacle

Remember the infamous customer support mishap with Comcast that went viral in 2014? A customer trying to cancel his service was subjected to a relentless barrage of questions and refusals from an unyielding customer service department. Despite multiple interactions with customer service, the problem seemed to go on forever, showcased a glaring lack of first-call resolution.

I don't know how I could have handled it any differently. I tried for months and months and months to just have somebody look at my bill.
- Conal O'Rourke to CNN News

The result? Millions of views on social media, a PR nightmare, and a significant dent in Comcast's reputation. The Consumerist blog crowned Comcast the 'Worst Company in America' in 2010 and 2014, complete with the 'Golden Poo' award delivered to their Philadelphia HQ. Because, you know, nothing says "we need to improve" like a golden turd.

When First Call resolution fails, it does leave a foul impression.
Flushing Customer Service Down the Drain does leave a foul impression.

2. United Breaks Guitars: The Dave Carroll Saga

One of the most memorable instances of poor first-call resolution involves Canadian musician Dave Carroll and United Airlines. After United's baggage handlers damaged his guitar during a flight, Carroll's attempts to seek compensation were met with a frustrating runaround. Multiple calls and interactions yielded no resolution. The musician tried to reach out to them for over nine months but his call bounced from department to department with no clear answers.

Finally, Carroll took his frustration to YouTube, creating a song that quickly went viral. The video garnered millions of views, leading to a PR disaster for United Airlines. Reports even suggested that United Airlines lost 10% of its market value after the song was released.

Curious to check out the song? Stick around till the end of this article for a treat. We promise you, it's a smash hit, literally!

3. Airbnb's Cancellation Policy Controversy (2021)

Airbnb faced backlash in 2021 over its handling of cancellations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many customers struggled to cancel reservations and obtain refunds despite travel restrictions and health concerns. Customers who contacted Airbnb's customer service reported difficulties in getting clear information and timely assistance, leading to frustration and negative reviews.

AirBnB's reputation on Twitter during COVID-19
AirBnB's reputation on Twitter during COVID-19

A 2021 study analyzing 127,183 Airbnb guest complaints revealed that a staggering 72% of customer complaints on Twitter were related to customer service issues. These included complaints about unreachable or rude customer service representatives, disorganized processes, provision of incorrect information, and instances where customers were abruptly disconnected during calls - all of which severely impacted first-call resolution rates.

72% of AirBnB's complaints on Twitter were related to customer support issues

The poor first-call resolution in managing cancellations exacerbated customer dissatisfaction and impacted Airbnb's reputation.

These examples above underscore why first-call resolution is crucial. When businesses drop the ball on addressing issues promptly, the fallout can be brutal - public shaming, lost customer trust, and a hit to the bottom line. It's like throwing a party and forgetting the drinks - nobody's happy, and everyone talks about it.

How First Call Resolution helps

Customers remember how you make them feel. If their issues are resolved quickly and effectively, they're more likely to stick around and even recommend your services to others.

FCR helps reduce Customer Churn.

First-call resolution builds trust and loyalty, turning one-time customers into lifelong advocates. Successfully addressing their concerns on the first call shows that you value their time and are committed to resolving their issues efficiently.

But there's more! It's not just about customer satisfaction.

Operational Efficiency

Not only does FCR boost customer happiness, but it also skyrockets your operational efficiency. Think about it: resolving issues in one go reduces the volume of follow-up calls, emails, and escalations. Your support team can focus on helping more customers, rather than revisiting the same issues. It's a win-win -  happy customers and a more productive team.

Cost Savings Galore

Every time a customer has to follow up on an unresolved issue, it costs your business time and money. By nailing FCR, you cut down on these additional costs. Fewer touchpoints mean less strain on your resources and a healthier bottom line. Plus, a happy customer base is less likely to churn, saving you the cost of acquiring new customers.

The Competitive Edge

In today's fast-paced world, businesses are vying for every competitive advantage they can get. First-call resolution isn't just a customer service metric; it's a differentiator. Companies known for resolving issues quickly stand out in the crowded marketplace.

Customers who experience quick and effective resolutions are more likely to share their positive experiences with others. Word-of-mouth recommendations are incredibly powerful, and satisfied customers can become your best brand ambassadors, driving new business through their endorsements.

So, in a world that's far removed from Mesopotamia's ancient marketplace, the principle remains the same: resolve issues promptly, and keep your customers happy. First-call resolution is your business's best friend, transforming challenges into opportunities and customers into raving fans. But how does one go about measuring it?

Measuring First Call Resolution

Getting the measure of first-call resolution effectiveness is crucial for fine-tuning your customer service game. Here's how to ensure you're assessing accurately and continually improving.

Define Clear Metrics: Start by defining what first-call resolution means for your business. Is it resolving the customer's issue on the initial contact, or does it include callbacks within a certain timeframe? Establishing clear metrics helps set benchmarks and aligns your team's efforts.

Get tech savvy: Harness the power of CRM tools to track every customer interaction and incident. These tools aren't just for data; they're your secret weapon to understand preferences, predict needs, and make every customer interaction count. It's not just about numbers - it's about using tech to supercharge your customer service game.

Here's where a platform like Zenduty can be your frontline defense, resolving critical issues before they impact your customers. Zenduty integrates seamlessly with all your monitoring tools and alerts your engineers and support teams through Phone, Slack, Push notifications, Email, SMS, and Microsoft Teams.

Zenduty's integrations

But how do we ensure we're hitting the mark every time? Let's dive into some best practices that'll help you master the art of FCR and keep your customer service game on point.

Implementing First-Call Resolution: Best Practices for Delighting Customers

Now that you've understood what it means to measure first-call resolution, you'll need to implement effective strategies to ensure that every customer interaction not only meets but exceeds expectations.

Stay Ahead of the Curve: Keep a close eye on FCR rates and related metrics like Mean Time to Resolution and Incident Volume trends over time. Spotting patterns isn't just for statisticians - it's your radar for identifying recurring issues and fine-tuning your approach.

However, don’t be fooled by high FCR rates alone. It could signal issues with your documentation and knowledge base, a lack of robust self-service systems, or unresolved bugs. Don’t get blindsided by seemingly impressive numbers alone. Dig deep into the data to understand what’s really driving those metrics. Analyzing trends can help your team be proactive and one step ahead in delivering top-notch customer service.

Tracking FCR data along with a full-spectrum view of MTTA/MTTR, Incident Volume, First Call Response Rate, and other operational metrics arms your team to navigate complexities, fine-tune strategies, and maintain an unwavering commitment to top-tier customer service.

Operational Metrics and incident drilldown in Zenduty
Operational Metrics and incident drilldown in Zenduty

Empower Your Heroes: Give your customer service agents the tools, training, and authority they need to rock every customer interaction. Because when your agents feel empowered to make magic happen on the very first call, your customers feel taken care of.

When customer support bends reality

Zenduty's task templates streamline repetitive processes, allowing your team to focus on what they do best - delivering exceptional customer service. With clear instructions and predefined steps, task templates reduce the cognitive load on your agents, making it easier for them to resolve issues swiftly and accurately.

Task Templates in Zenduty

Make Every Interaction Count: Prioritize the first customer touchpoint by arming your agents with the tools and information they need to hit the ground running. Answering calls is just the beginning; creating a lasting impression starts with the ring of the very first call.

The horror of waiting days for a closure — not quite the impression customers want! 

When you focus on that initial contact, you set the tone for a seamless customer journey. That helps you steer clear of the chilling 'seven days' and ensure a swift conclusion before the phone rings again.

Raise the Bar: Implement rigorous quality assurance measures to ensure every customer interaction meets the mark. This goes merely beyond ticking boxes - it's about maintaining standards that guarantee every customer gets the VIP treatment. Quality assurance is more than a mere checklist - it's your compass for delivering excellence in every call.

To take your quality assurance efforts even further, consider Zenduty's postmortem feature. This powerful tool allows you to analyze incidents after they occur, identifying root causes and areas for improvement. By conducting thorough postmortems, you can ensure that every incident is a learning opportunity, helping you refine processes and prevent future issues.

Incident Postmortem analysis in Zenduty

Team Up for Success: Foster a culture of collaboration across departments - customer service, tech support, and beyond. Working together is just the start. One needs to leverage collective expertise to solve customer issues swiftly and seamlessly.


In the wild world of customer service, first-call resolution is your guiding star. It's more than just quick fixes - It's about crafting an experience that leaves customers thinking, "Wow, they actually care".

By empowering your agents using top-notch tools like Zenduty for incident management and postmortem analysis, you're not only putting out fires, but also building a fortress of customer loyalty. Get First Call Resolution right, and you'll turn every hiccup into a chance to impress.

And as promised, here's United's Customer Service Anthem - enjoy!

Ashwin Hariharan

I like crafting code, weaving words, and elevating experiences.