Customer experience is a key performance indicator for most, if not all, field service organisations these days. Whilst you may be keen to measure the efficiency of your field service, your customers are looking at whether or not you fixed their problem the first time you visited them.
Why first time fix?
For a lot of your customers failure to resolve an issue on the first visit is a top cause of customer complaint. Benchmark data suggests that if your first time fix rate is less than 88% then you are not operating at 'best in class', and if you are performing at less than 80% you’re not even average. Granted there may be many reasons (due to the complexity, age profile or distribution of your assets) that this is hard for your organisation to achieve but it sets the bar high and doesn’t leave a lot of room for repeat visits.
If you stop and think about it though, not fixing the problem doesn’t just cost the customer, it costs your business also.
For example, if the average first time fix rate for an organisation is around 77%, this means that your field technicians have to do at least one follow up visit for at least 23% of all calls. Now, if the average cost is £100 per job, then second and third visits to customers suddenly prove to be very expensive to your business. And these costs don’t even take into consideration the sacrifice in time and effort - other jobs could have been done instead increasing your revenue not diminishing it.
So to help you improve your first-time-fix rate make sure you follow these tips below:
Diagnose the problem
Don’t overlook the potential for improving your first-time-fix rate through better diagnoses when the initial customer call is taken. Proactively identifying issues and problems upfront will lead to scheduling the right field technician with the right skill set.
Hone your engineer’s skills
Ideally all your engineers would be equally skilled, but in reality that just isn’t the case. A mismatch between the required skills and the available skills is a common scenario for poor first time fix rates.
Generally the more complex jobs are given to the more experienced engineers, who are better placed to diagnose the fault and fix the problem. But every once in a while, one will slip through the net and an engineer will arrive at your customer’s site, only to find that they need to hand the job over to a more experienced, or better trained colleague.
By investing in stronger knowledge management and on-the-job training and support, you can start to turn things around. Provide tools which give your engineers access to training videos allowing them to train on-site and on the job, as well as diagrammes and manuals with tips and tools to help them complete the job first time around. You might also benefit from a remote support merged reality tool that would allow your technical experts to give real-time support for their more junior field colleagues.
Have the right parts and tools
I think we have all experienced the scenario when a field engineer arrives and quickly discovers that they don’t have the required spare part with them and need to rebook the call. This is an area that is relatively easy to improve. Investing in inventory management tools ensures that your technicians have access to the right parts for the right job every time. By having access to better analytics, you can establish a more comprehensive view of the parts required and better mobile communications between field teams allows for the movement of parts in the field without the need to order or return to base. Your process will also need forensic review to ensure they are working for the field teams and your scheduling team can understand which jobs are likely to fail based on constraints such as parts and take effective action to mitigate any issues.
Schedule for success
Scheduling tools are really quite smart. Using algorithms to schedule your field engineers based on type of job, skill set, location, duration and many more. This means that you’re more likely to get the mix right for a first-time-fix. The accuracy of your scheduling solution and the way in which your scheduling team use it can make significant difference.
Speak to Leadent
We have seen first-hand how increasing first time fix rates has increased efficiency, revenue and customer experience. We can help you to measure and improve first-time-fix rates and to review the efficiency and effectiveness of your field delivery. Why not contact us to discuss further?