What is First-time fix rate and how can it make or break your business?

April 8, 2019

In the hyper-competitive field of service management any small mistake can be the difference between building customer retention and going out of business.

From enhancing brand visibility, offering competitive pricing and enlisting top quality technicians all aimed at providing the best service experience, there are clearly numerous formulas for improving broader customer satisfaction.

At BigChange we believe the best way to keep and build a customer base is to implement a system that consistently responds to the specific customer service request completely, the first time by attentive and polite technicians who are fast and communicative to any issues which may arise.

This is no small order. In truth, there are many issues which must be studied to better understand what drives the customer experience. In this blog, we will take a look at ‘How First-Time Fix Rate Impacts Customer Retention’ and review some key ways to improve FTFR exponentially.What is First-Time Fix Rate (FTFR)?First-Time Fix Rate is defined as the number of problems or service requests that are resolved during an engineer’s first visit.

First-Time Fix Rate, according to Aberdeen is impacted by:

  • Parts unavailability (i.e., incorrect or no part available) – 29%
  • Customer/asset not available for service – 28%
  • Improper diagnosis at time of dispatch – 19%
  • Technician did not have right skills – 15%
  • Resolution was only temporary – 8%

In turn, First-Time Fix Rate directly influences:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Technician productivity
  • Profitability of service provider

Customer Satisfaction:As a simple rule, first-time fix rates tend to have the most significant impact on overall customer satisfaction. Customers are satisfied (and continue to use a business) when their problems are resolved quickly and efficiently without complaint. If your technicians are unable to resolve the customer’s issue on the spot your customer satisfaction rates will suffer.“For those businesses with a first-time fix rate of over 70%, customer retention was at 86%. Those with a first-time fix rate of under 70% saw their customer retention rate drop to 76% — a decrease of 10%.”Technician Productivity:Just as important as having happy customers is having a productive and efficient workforce. Enhancing productivity lies in optimising technician’s time management and consistently fulfilling tasks based on established workflow protocols to help as many customers resolve their service issues as possible at the highest level of service.

The process of improving First-Time Fix Rate goes hand in hand with decreasing technicians fuel costs & optimising technician scheduling. By ensuring a task has been completed correctly, the first time, fewer site visits are required and drives are thus capable of completing more jobs in the saved time.

A recent survey found that Best-in-Class companies experience a “First-Time Fix Rate of 98.3% compared to the industry average of 77.8%. With service calls ranging in cost from £150 to £1,000 per event, the expenses for making repeat visits can be astronomical.”Profitability of Service ProviderA major factor driving the long term viability of any business is, and will always be: how staff manages their time and collective responsibilities. With a conscious push to improve First-Time Fix Rate, technicians are able to better manage their workflow, schedule more tasks and accomplish more on the worksite in less time.

Concurrently, with improved First-Time Fix Rate, back office staff is able to focus on invoicing and optimising dispatch of technicians rather than managing additional customer support requirements. “In terms of service revenue, those at the upper end of the first-time fix rate scale witnessed a 4% increase in revenue, while those with a less than 70% fix rate saw no change in revenue. Likewise, serviceable asset uptime increased by 1% for those with a +70% fix rate, while others experienced a 2% decline.”

If an organisation intends to stay profitable, it is critical that all resources- especially inventory and technician time- are being used efficiently. By improving First-Time Fix Rate, businesses can allocate less resources to complete a job, and invest in the next task without repeated service visits to resolve lingering service demands.First-Time Fix Rate in the Service SectorsRecent research from the Aberdeen Group has found that “companies in the top 20% have a first-time fix rate of 88%. At the other end of the scale, the bottom 30% of companies has a first-time fix rate of 63%. These figures illustrate a clear link between the efficiency and swiftness of repairs to the success of a business.”Keys to improving First-Time Fix RateAs we touched upon above, there are broad range of factors which can influence your business’s success in First-Time Fix Rate. With diverse needs and seemingly divergent methods to resolve them, it can often seem overwhelming to attempt to boost FTFR.

With recent technological advances, such as the development and noted market success of the BigChange mobile workforce management system, it is now possible to centralise the core services and customer relations interfaces which can significantly improve FTFR across numerous service sectors.

The use of mobile workforce management systems, such as BigChange, can promote company-wide collaboration and improved data visibility to best direct drivers and resources to job sites with ease. Additionally “remote monitoring of assets [through CRM mobile applications] helps capture service diagnostic information that can be provided to field technicians in advance. Giving call centre staff more guidance through question trees and full access to customer history data can help resolve more calls over the phone (without costly truck rolls), and provide better information to technicians when they do have to go on-site.”BigChange can facilitate better FTFR:BigChange’s 5-in-1 platform enables businesses of all sizes to better manage many of the most significant factors driving First-Time Fix Rate. With BigChange, your back office can easily monitor, schedule & dispatch service request to optimise your staffs strongest skills and prevent unneeded travel.

Through the use of an integrated platform, technicians have access to critical service data and can be supplied essential parts to resolve any service request with the click of a button.

Additionally, the use of preventative maintenance workflows directed via the Mobile workforce management system, dramatically improves the rate in which service technicians resolve all issues fully, while also alerting the operator to any upcoming scheduled maintenance. By improving transparency and collaboration between all aspects of operations through the implementation of mobile workforce management software, such as BigChange, your business can drastically improve First-Time Fix Rate.

To read more about how service management software can save you money click Here.

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