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The Elusive First-Time Fix in Field Service

First-time fix rate may just be the red-headed stepchild of field service metrics. This performance metric, which is defined as the percentage of jobs that are resolved the first time a field technician visits, is largely underrated. In fact, according to Aberdeen Group’s Field Service 2013: Workforce Management Guide, 17% of the service organizations surveyed don’t measure first-time fix rate, or were not aware of theirs. Despite this figure, Aberdeen goes on to state that the top complaint service customers have is that their technician could not resolve the issue (over half the respondents, 57%). Based on this, shouldn’t first-time fix rate be on the forefront of every field service manager’s mind? First-time fix rate doesn’t just improve customer service. In fact, it directly impacts all levels of field service, from revenue, to cost, to productivity and efficiency levels. Here are just some first-time fix rate stats thanks to research done by The Service Council:

The average first time fix rate for an organization is around 77%. That means that the field technician has to do at least one follow up visit on about 23% of all service calls. This affects costs, asset availability, and in some cases, response time.

The cost per dispatch ranges from $150 to $1,000 a call depending on the service organization and industry, which makes second and third visits to a customer site expensive and in most cases unnecessary. This doesn’t even take into consideration the sacrifice of other work that could have been done instead (opportunity cost).

So what can service organizations do to improve their first-time fix rate and in turn their efficiency, productivity, revenue, and customer service? According to Aberdeen Group, the following strategies will prove to be most successful in improving first-time fix rate:

  1. 1. Better diagnosis or triage at the dispatch/initial call level.
  2. 2. Improved field-based access to parts (in van, en-route, other technicians).
  3. 3. More intelligent scheduling (based on part availability or customer availability)
  4. 4. Improved training (on-the job training or the use of additional tools).

ServicePower believes in the true value of first-time fix rates, and has seen firsthand how increasing them increases field service efficiency, revenues and customer service. That is why our end-to-end field service management software directly addresses the above mentioned strategies to improve first-time fix rate to drive your KPIs and most importantly your overall field service efficiency. Take a look:

1. Better Diagnosis or Triage at the Dispatch/Initial Call Level

ServicePower is working with a leading provider of IoE/M2M platforms to integrate M2M technology with ServiceScheduling. This will allow sensors to proactively detect issues and diagnose problems and the schedule will be adjusted accordingly (scheduling field techs with the right skill set) to address these issues. With preventative maintenance and better diagnosis supplied by intelligent sensors, first-time fix rates will soar.

2. Improved Field-Based Access to Parts

ServiceMobility provides comprehensive inventory management complete with parts and schematics as well as the ability to schedule parts, not just field technicians. This ensures that the right parts get to the right job, every time, ensuring that the job can get done the first time around.

3. More Intelligent Scheduling

ServiceScheduling, our core field service management product, uses an algorithm called Simulated Annealing (artificial intelligence) to completely optimize your field service schedule. This means scheduling your field technicians and parts based on skill sets, type of job, duration, location, and more. Additionally, our scheduling is specifically designed to cut costs (organizations can adjust the constraints of the scheduling optimizer to fit their goals) without hindering customer satisfaction.

4. Improved Training

ServiceMobility gives field technicians’ complete access to training videos, diagrams, and manuals to train on-site, and give them the tips and tools they need to finish the job the first time around. ServiceMobility is also device agnostic, meaning it supports new technology like wearable technology, that helps facilitate training as well as hands-free job completion.

First-time fix rate may be underappreciated, and may take a back seat to other cost containment and revenue building KPIs, but wrongfully so. Almost a quarter of field service dispatch costs is wasted by second and third visits to customer sites, while customers grow frustrated with what appears to be incompetency and the hindrance to their individual schedules. So, as you assess your goals and KPIs this year make sure you are not only measuring your first-time fix rate, but that you are taking steps to improve it as well.

For an assessment of your first-time fix rate as well as a business proposition of how ServicePower can help you improve, contact us via sales@servicepower.com today.

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