How to improve your first-time fix rates

In the service industry, if something goes wrong, you need to be able to fix it straight away. People hate time-consuming, complicated and costly service, and the value of customer satisfaction and word of mouth cannot be underestimated.  So, your first-time fix (FTF) rate is critical if you want to impress and retain customers. Therefore, it’s no wonder that FTR is one of the most frequently used key performance indicators (KPI) in the sector.

Of course, a 100% first-time fix rate isn’t always possible. But it must be as high as it can be. Not least because:

  • FTF is an important measure of service quality and customer satisfaction. Organisations that provide a quality service typically have high customer satisfaction ratings
  • A high FTW will result in repeat businesses (either via renewed contracts or the purchase of additional services). This can help to boost your bottom line
  • Companies that experience a high FTF tend to be more productive. They spend less time on the same job, so they can spend more time helping more customers. And that’s just good business sense
  • Companies that experience a high FTF tend to be more cost-efficient. This is because repeat visits cost money.

“With service calls ranging in cost from $150 to $1,000 per event, the expenses for making repeat visits can be astronomical. Assume, for example, an average cost per call of $150 and total service visits of 100, 000 per year. If 22.2% of these calls are due to repeat visits then the FSO is incurring an additional $3.3M in expenses from its FTF of 77.8%.”

What rate should you aspire to?

According to the Aberdeen Group, there is a definite link between FTF rates and business success:

  • Companies in the top 20% have a first-time fix rate of 88%
  • The bottom 30% of companies have a first-time fix rate of 63%
  • For businesses with a FTF of over 70%, customer retention was 86%.
  • For businesses with a FTF of under 70%, customer retention dropped to 76%
  • Companies at the upper end of the FTF scale experienced a 4% increase in annual revenue
  • Those with a less than 70% fix rate saw no change in income
  • Serviceable asset uptime increased by 1% for those with a +70% FTF
  • Those with a FTF below 70% experienced a 2% decline in serviceable asset uptime.

How to boost your first-time fix rates

With first-time fix rates having a real and measurable impact on the success of service-led businesses, it’s essential to take steps to improve yours. Here are just some ways to do this:

  • Send the right people to the right jobs. All too often, people turn up to jobs they are not skilled to deal with
  • Give your engineers the tools they need to do their jobs. It doesn’t matter how experienced your people are if they don’t have access to the equipment they need. Having the wrong tools and parts can be hugely damaging to your FTF
  • Give your engineers the information they need to do their jobs. Having to deal with inaccurate or out-of-date data can result in a job taking much longer than necessary and often requires repeat visits. This usually happens when individuals, teams, offices or departments are unwilling to share resources
  • Provide adequate training. Training your people to ensure they are capable of dealing with a wide range of fixes can have a positive impact on your FTF.

Crucially, better diagnosis at the time of the initial request is vital. And, once you have all the data you need, your processes must be able to analyse this and help you to manage jobs accordingly.

How service management software can help

Our helpful software makes it easy for your service desk team to log jobs and allocate engineers based on skill sets, customer SLAs, and response times. With the intelligence to find customers using a wide variety of search terms -­ including incomplete data -­ and the ability to tag jobs by type, no time is wasted. Your data is consistent and complete, and everyone has access to the whole picture.

Your team can even add notes, order numbers or any other information you might need to a customer record. What’s more, precedence can be given to urgent jobs, and warnings set up to alert you to any possible time slips.

Furthermore, with our mobile field service tools, your engineers and back-office staff remain in constant communication. So, if there are any issues, you can remedy them quickly.

We also help you to better manage your warehouse stock. With real-time inventory information from anywhere, on any internet-enabled device, your engineers can check whether the parts they need are in stock. What’s more, by allowing online order processing via mobile devices, your engineers get the parts they need as quickly as possible.

Put simply, if you want your organisation to improve its first-time fix rates, you have to put the tools in place to make it happen.

Our service management software can help your business work smarter. Contact us today to find out more.