Is Your First-Time-Fix Rate Destroying Your Credibility?
How often do your Field Technicians resolve your customer’s issue on their first visit? This is your First-Time-Fix rate.
Regardless of whether your company repairs tractor tires or nuclear reactors, you want to keep this number high to inspire customer confidence and stay profitable. However, according to independent research done by the Aberdeen Group, nearly 20% of businesses don’t even track this vital metric.
Aberdeen’s analysis states that among field service organizations:
- “Best in Class” will have a First-Time-Fix rate at 88%
- “Average” companies score around 80%
- “Laggards” trudging up behind at 63%.
“With a high first-time-fix rate, you avoid rolling a second truck, and all the additional costs that go along with that — the extra labor, increased dispatch and lost service opportunities,”
says Patrice Eberline, vice president of global customer transformation for ServiceMax , a provider of field service management software. The need to dispatch field techs a second or third time adds an estimated $200-$300 in operating costs per visit. In a larger service organization with 100 added calls per year, that’s a whopping $25,000 slashed from the bottom line.
Added service calls can also wreak havoc and disrupt successful service with other clients and jobs — forcing cancellations and the like. The lesson here? The study shows that field organizations that can hit an 80 percent first-time fix rate for clients saw 6.5 percent boost in service revenues over the previous 12 months, while those that didn’t only gained an extra 1.6 percent.
So, what causes poor First-Time-Fix rates?
- Lack of proper parts: The most common problem that prevents field technicians from a “first time fix” is unavailability of parts, which is the cause of 51 percent of second or third visits.
- Lack of skills: The technician doesn’t have the knowledge or the training to solve the problem. Or the technician takes too long trying to fix the issue and needs to schedule a callback to finish the job. Lack of experience and training to resolve customer issues is another Achilles heel of field service — 25 percent of second and third visits can be traced back to inexperience.
- Poor Triage / Communication: The technician arrived late, it’s the end of the day, and the customer is no longer on site… Or the asset has been moved to another location, but that information is not communicated to the technician prior to dispatch. Whatever the reason, the technician must make an additional visit to close the work order. 13 percent of second and third visits were caused by technicians running out of time needed to complete the task.
How Can I Improve our First-Time-Fix Rates?
Consider these three best practices of high-performing service organizations: Identifying the factors that drag down your company’s first-time fix rate is the first step. But what can you do to improve performance?
Enhance inventory visibility: If the issue is lack of spare parts, give technicians access to real-time inventory information and the ability to order parts from the field. This will reduce technicians’ tendency to stockpile parts in their vans, while ensuring that the right parts are available where and when they’re needed.
Improve Triage: Provide your tech support / dispatch people with the all the information they need, in real time, to assign jobs to technicians who have both the appropriate skillset and parts on hand to resolve the customer’s issue correctly the first time.
Facilitate collaboration: Give your techs remote access to the collective knowledge of your entire company through real-time social and collaboration tools. This way, technicians can get the answer to their questions quickly, via their smartphones or tablets, to fix the problem during the first visit.
How one company got it right: About 15 years ago, frustrated with the state of the Ultrasound repair industry, Mark and Jean Conrad started Conquest Imaging in their home garage. “OEM prices were through the roof, and quality reconditioned parts were hard to come by.” Mark stated, “Even worse, FTF rates were around 60% throughout the industry.” Over the next several years Conquest developed an ISO 9001:2008 certified quality assurance program for reconditioning Ultrasound parts, and implemented a First Time Fix© Philosophy and Quality Assurance 360° philosophy. “It wasn’t easy to get these ideas ingrained, but our FTF rate is 87.9% now and the customer satisfaction rate is at an all-time high”.
Beth Morrison, Conquest Imaging’s National Service Director, added:
“It is the most basic belief and attitude of Conquest Imaging that we will fix your ultrasound system on the first attempt.”
Industry standards are 70-80% with OEMs boasting of 75% first time fix rate. By using Asset Management tools such as capturing service configurations in our customer profile, Pre-Service call groundwork, and an extensive alternate part number database we are able to get our first time fix rate to nearly 88%. “Our customers appreciate the added uptime, minimal repair costs and elimination of duplicate invoices”