First-time fix rate is a really useful metric, as it often correlates highly with many KPIs used by field service organisations. There is, for example, a strong link between first-time fix rates and customer satisfaction. So if you’re struggling to retain customers, looking at first-time fix rates may be a good initial step to take when trying to identify issues. But what is a good first time fix rate for a service-based business? Check out the stats below and compare your organisation to the top performers.
What is first-time fix?
As a quick introduction, first-time fix is simply a measure used by field service organisations to determine the proportion of issues that are resolved on the first visit by an engineer.
There are two basic requirements you need to get right to achieve top first-time fix rates – the right engineer (i.e. someone with the skills and knowledge to resolve the issue) and the right part(s). Without either of those things in place, you’re highly unlikely to get a successful outcome. This is a simplistic view, of course, but is fundamentally true (it’s also worth noting that a part may not always be required – research from the Aberdeen Group showed that 48% of field service visits require a part).
The importance of first-time fix
You really shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the first-time fix metric – as mentioned, it can correlate with many KPIs used by field service organisations. For example:
- Customer satisfaction – unsurprisingly, research showed that the top reason customers were unhappy with service was that the engineer/technician did not resolve the issue the first time, and they had to come back, sometimes repeatedly. The more often your engineers are able to provide a first-time fix, the happier your customers will be.
- Profitability – every time you send an engineer to a site to fix an issue, it is costing you money. So, if an issue isn’t fixed on the first visit, it could have a major impact on your profitability.
- Productivity – although this will depend, to an extent, on how you measure productivity, it is nonetheless likely to take a hit if you have a low first-time fix rate. Every additional visit a field engineer needs to make to resolve an issue is time they could be spending on another job.
How does your first-time fix compare?
There is a marked difference between the best performing companies and those that are falling behind. Aberdeen’s research showed that the top 20% performing companies have an average first-time fix rate of 88%. This compares to just 63% for the bottom 30% of companies. So how does your organisation compare?
Increasing your first-time fix rate
While a first-time fix rate of 88% is impressive, you may be able to do even better. In fact, building repairs firm Sovini has managed to achieve a first-time fix rate of 90%. As a result, customer satisfaction levels also reached a staggering 98%, which highlights the link between the two factors.
So if you’d like to increase your first-time fix rate and see the impact it can have on your organisation, here are just a few questions to consider:
- How do you schedule jobs? Remember that simply sending the closest field worker to each job may not be the best option. Choosing an engineer with the best-fitting skills for the job is more likely to make your first-time fix rate improve.
- Are your engineers finding they often lack the parts or tools they need to resolve issues? If so, try to improve the way issues are diagnosed so you have information about the parts or tools that may be required before an engineer is sent to a job.
- Can you find issues by looking at historical data? You may find a few issues are cropping up repeatedly and by addressing them you can improve your first-time fix rate. But bear in mind this isn’t a strategy you should rely on, as things are likely to be constantly changing.
Don’t forget about the role technology can play in helping your organisation improve not only its first-time fix rate, but also its overall performance.
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