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How to Improve Your First-Time Fix Rate

First impressions matter, especially in field service. So why are more companies not taking a closer look at their first-time fix rate? A study done by Aberdeen Group states that 17% of service organizations surveyed do not measure first-time fix rate. 

But why is that? Your first-time fix rate may be the lever that needs pulling to increase not only customer satisfaction but reduce operational costs and even create new revenue. 

A first-time fix rate is how often technicians resolve customers’ problems in the initial visit. Aberdeen Group found that the average first-time fix rate is only 75%, meaning three out of every four service calls are finalized in the first visit.

A quarter of all service calls require a second visit and multiple calls to get the job done.  There are several reasons that could lead to a low first-time fix rate. In this blog we will break down 4 key ways to resolve repair requests on the first visit. 

1. Implement Workforce Management Software

Workforce management software’s entire purpose is to make your life easier. Implementing a workforce management system can help guarantee that field service technicians always have the necessary parts and equipment needed to carry out the repair. How is this possible? Workforce management systems allow for real-time updates of inventory as well as the ability to reserve parts deemed necessary for a job. A technician will show up to the job fully prepared for whatever task is at hand.

2. Using Mobile Devices

Mobile integration simplifies processes as well as streamlines communication between a manager, field service worker and customer. It is important to have the ability to contact your field service worker to let them know of new information, or check on the progress of a job. Customers who have access to a mobile portal can feel more comfortable knowing that they can reach their field service worker in case of an emergency, and can track progress and provide feedback and instruction. 

ServicePower’s mobile customer portal allows for customer engagement, whether that is with job scheduling, checking warranty coverage or just being a resource for two-way communication. A mobile portal not only empowers the customer to feel as if they have control, it also allows for transparency between technician and customer.

3. Hiring the Right Technicians

When all is said and done, technology does not matter if you do not have employees who are skilled and reliable. A technician with the right skills will be able to think out of the box in a sticky situation and could find a solution without needing a second trip. You also must learn how to be an attractive company to work for potential candidates.  As a company, being able to vet applicants and then provide proper training will be instrumental in success later down the road. Some workforce management systems, like ServiceMobility, can give field technicians access to training videos, diagrams and manuals to train on site.

4. Enhance Inventory Visibility

Ensuring technicians have access to real-time inventory information and allowing them to order parts from the field is useful for both management and employees. Technicians do not have to stockpile parts in their vans, and management will not be wasting money on ordering extra parts unless they are needed. 

 What is the Impact of Low First-Time Fix Rates?

A positive customer experience is invaluable, as it could lead to a long-lasting relationship that keeps your company thriving. In fact, 60% of organizations state that customer service is the top source of competitive differentiation

In a perfect world field service technicians to get the job done on time, the first time, every time. That is however, not always a reality. Nevertheless, a first-time visit to a new customer should absolutely be a top priority in providing excellent and efficient service. If your field-service technician is not able to deliver as promised, how happy do you think that customer is going to feel?  Aberdeen found that 57% of customers want better first-time fix rates. 

Customers are six times more likely to buy with a positive emotional experience, 12 times more likely to recommend the company, and five times more likely to forgive a mistake.

If a job isn't completed on the first visit, that could be enough for some customers to question who they have selected to provide their service and can be vulnerable to move to another company with higher first-time fix rates. 

Aside from customer satisfaction, extra expenses are also a direct result of an unaccomplished service. 

If you do the math of overall calls in a day, and the percentage of calls that were not fixed, it starts to add up. If a company averaged 300 service calls a day and has an 88% first-time fix rate for a top performing organization, that means 36 calls, 12 percent, require additional visits.

If you are a low performing organization with a 63 percent rate, that translates to 111 calls, 37 percent, that are not resolved at the first visit. Having to put trucks back on the road leads to paying for gas and putting more unnecessary miles on the van. It also puts your technicians at more risk on the road- the more they have to travel, the more likely they are to run into some sort of accident.

Having to service the same job multiple times also takes your technicians off schedule. They can not complete other jobs until this one is corrected, pushing back scheduling for other services. As a result, you may feel the need to hire more technicians to cover, which naturally costs more money. 

Something as simple as ensuring you are getting the job done right the first time, every time will save you time and money. 

American International Group, Inc (AIG) did a study on ServicePower’s Integrated Dispatch System and Claims and Customer Portal. They found a 40% increase in first-time fix rate and a 20% decrease in time spent on site. 

First-time fix rates are a key KPI for field service organizations. Field service software can help you and your technicians succeed in improving more efficient service.  Learn how ServicePower's contract management solutions can help you today.

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