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First-Time Fix Rates: How Do You Compare To The Industry Standard?

In field service, an industry that is heavily focused on customer satisfaction, your first time fix rate is crucial. Put yourself in the customer’s position: when something goes wrong, they want it fixed straight away. They don’t want to put processes on hold, losing both time and money in the process, while an engineer attempts on multiple occasions to rectify the issue.

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Naturally, there will be some occasions where engineers are unable to fix a problem on their first visit; it may be more complex than first thought or it could be a combination of problems that were not originally planned for. However, as a business, this doesn’t mean you can leave your first-time fix rate to chance. If you are to continue to grow your success, you’ll need to forward-plan and make first-time fix rates a key KPI for your business.

First-time fix rates: what are they and how can they impact your business?

As I’ve already briefly mentioned, your first-time fix rate is the number of problems that are resolved during an engineer’s first visit. For a business, this rate can have an impact on a number of core areas of business performance:

  • Customer satisfaction — generally, first-time fix rates have the largest impact on overall customer satisfaction. Customers are happy when their problems are resolved quickly and efficiently; if you are unable to do so, your customer satisfaction rates can suffer.
  • Productivity — naturally, taking three visits to rectify an issue that could be fixed the first time will be detrimental to the overall productivity of your business.
  • Profitability—assigning more time and resources unnecessarily will naturally impact your profitability. Multiple visits to the same problem wastes money and resources that could be better used elsewhere.

How can first-time fix rates affect your business?

Understanding the first-time fix rate industry standard

Now you know the impact the first-time fix rate can have, you may be tempted to make it a core KPI for your field service business — but what determines a good target first-time fix rate? Blindly plucking a figure out of the air will not drive business success. How do you know it’s right for your business? It could be too low or too high.

Looking at the first-time fix rates within the industry can help you gauge the types of success rates you should be aiming for. Recent 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 have 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.

Further research from the Aberdeen Group indicates just how important getting your first-time fix rate right is for companies. 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%.

The success was similar on an annual basis. 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.

The above statistics clearly illustrate how much of an impact first-time fix rates can have on the future success of a business. After all, why would a customer return to a business that can’t rectify their problems the first time?

Improving your first-time fix rate

After learning about the impact improving your first-time fix rate can have, you’ll naturally want to improve your performance. So how do you do it? To begin, investing in mobile field service tools will improve communication between your engineers and the back office. By keeping engineers connected, they are able to access real-time information that could help them rectify the issue and learn more information that may not have been included in the initial job details.

Improving employee training can also be beneficial. By exemplifying how engineers should act when dealing with a tricky job, they can explore all of the avenues to rectify the problem, ensuring no stone is left unturned and maximising the chance of customer satisfaction.

Ultimately, the most important KPI is customer satisfaction. By making sure you get this right, your other aims like revenue generation and productivity will follow suit. Revisit your KPIs for your field service engineers and ensure the onus is on customer service. As the numbers show, failing to do so can slow or even stunt your business’ success, so this isn’t something that you can simply ignore.


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