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How good is your first-call resolution for ITSM?

MylesS on ‎08-26-2013 09:15 AM

Over the last year, we’ve asked HP customers to confidentially share with us how good they are with several service desk metrics. We then asked them to share what they think is good benchmark for each metric. In this post, I’ll focus on what we learned about one of the most important service desk metrics: first call resolution.


Based on a weighted average, our participants felt that the first call resolution metric benchmark should be 75 percent. I can vouch that this is a solid number for the benchmark from personal experience.   In a presentation a few years ago, I asked the audience of approximately 100 this question and by a show of hands, the group settled upon 75 percent.

So given that 75 percent is a good benchmark, how well are real IT organizations actually doing against it? Here’s where the results surprised me. Only 12.5 percent said that they were making benchmark. And 81 percent said their first-call resolution was 65 percent or less. Now, we would love to get an even more organizations to participate in our survey. So we want you!



We would like you to vote on this and other service desk benchmarks. Please click the below link and confidentially share what you think the benchmark performance should be for this and other service desk measures.


Why do these benchmarks matter?

So here’s a final question. If you could raise first-call resolution from 50 percent to 75 percent, what would this mean to IT customers and IT as a whole? Clearly, it would take costs out and leave happier customers.

Happy customers like things solved well the first time.


The reason that it takes costs out is because less resources are tied up in escalations where more expensive IT people are brought in to work on it. Clearly, there are two things that can drive this:


  • First, is greater use of problem management to limit repeat incidents
  • Second is automation so that complex solutions can be replicated by lower cost labor

One expert, Keith Macbeath, put it to me this way. “Well there is a lot that might be affected, depending on what the calls are about, but those broader impact issues will logically be analyzed higher up the ITIL process chain, at the incident and problem level rather than at the interaction level. Reduction in high severity incidents can reduce the cost to resolve, and by relating to problem, reduction in opportunity cost as well. So FCR per se tends to be considered in terms of pure responsiveness, with a relation to user satisfaction the key issue. Of course if FCR starts to reduce it can be a leading indicator symptom of something worse, related either to volume of calls, decreasing reliability or new problem sets and so on, but that is not an easily quantifiable impact.”


So let’s quickly summarize, first-call resolution should be around 75 percent. Where this is not the case, it creates inefficiency. Therefore, if you want a pure play IT cost reduction; you should raise the first call resolution. Clearly, things like self-service can help and possibly push to even higher numbers. So how are you measuring or improving on this important metric? Please do share. Feel free to reach out to me in the comments section below.


Related links:

Solution page:  IT Performance Management

Twitter: @MylesSuer

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About the Author


Mr. Suer is a senior manager for IT Performance Management. Prior to this role, Mr. Suer headed IT Performance Management Analytics Product Management including IT Financial Management and Executive Scorecard.

on ‎08-28-2013 08:01 PM



This is one of my favorite topics from an ITSM / service desk metric perspective.


I was part of a conversation on this FCR last week and mentioned the 75% number as reasonable which surprised some people (as being high). If I think of my recent live service desk experiences (as opposed to a self service ticket) at HP, most have been resolved on the first call if you get a knowledgable person on the phone helping you out. Most of my issues have been some kind of tricky app or service configuration thing. I mentioned the social engineering dimensions of rewarding too high of a closure rate and the potential need to balance this out against reopened or customer satisfaction results. One of the people in the conversation managed a support team and concurred that pushing too hard on FCR can result in lower satisfaction - if the callers issue isn't resolved.


I wrote a blog post on this approximately a year ago that I still submit stands true today


And, there are great Dilbert's on this topic!


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