If you’ve ever worked in customer service or spent a few minutes listening to an angry customer, you understand how crucial it is to get the job done right the first time. Field service companies routinely track how successful technicians are at doing just that. They even have a term for it: first-time fix rate. This metric is one of the most important for a business because it plays a pivotal part in profitability. A poor first-time fix rate is an indicator of inefficiency. The company burns through excess time and resources from having to make repeat site visits.
However, in contrast with other risks to revenue, a first-time fix rate is a controllable and correctable metric. In fact, with just a few tweaks to your existing processes, you could see substantial gains. That will make your customers happier and also helps in boosting your bottom line. Check out the three ways below to improve your company’s first-time fix rate.
Empower your employees with knowledge
One of the easiest ways to enhance your first-time fix rate is for your call screeners and dispatchers to become more knowledgeable. This tip may vary depending on your company’s structure as not all customer calls require the same type of immediacy. Especially when it comes to dispatching. The onus is on your front-line staff to know the difference.
For instance, a dispatcher may not properly understand the scope of a customer’s request and dispatch a tech prematurely. A more knowledgeable dispatcher may know that techs on the road would not have the capacity to handle that type of job, and they schedule it for the next day.
But the need for increased knowledge doesn’t end with dispatchers. It’s imperative that you also develop a robust training program for your technicians. If a tech arrives at the scene and does not have the skills or tools needed to do a job, it also means a repeat visit. And a knock to your first-time fix rate.
Give techs all the information they need
This tip for improving your first-time fix rate might seem like common sense, but it’s more of a problem than you might guess. Sending a tech to a job with incomplete work order details is like throwing them into a job blindfolded. By not providing specifics like service history or essential parts needed for job completion, you’re jeopardizing the tech’s chances of a first-time fix.
For an even more thorough approach, you could even provide the tech with step-by-step guidance for how to approach the customer’s problem. The more information you provide, the better the chances are of the tech completing the job during that first visit.
Make proactive maintenance a priority
How many times have you heard of a tech popping into a fleet vehicle only to have it not start? Or have a flat tire? Or being low on gas? About 20% of the 16 million new cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. each year belong to a fleet, which means there are likely thousands of companies relying on these vehicles to transport workers to the job site.
With transportation serving as an essential part of operations, proactive maintenance can ensure your techs are leaving and arriving on time. This can include everything from routine oil changes to tire rotations to swapping out windshield wipers. The key is to keep an accurate log of maintenance history and commit to servicing the vehicles at regular intervals.
You should also know that proactive maintenance goes beyond just how your business treats its fleet vehicles. The same can be said for hand tools, equipment, and PPE.
Understanding how to improve first-time fix rates is just one of our core competencies. If you’re interested in learning how we can partner with your utilities and energy co-op for this and more, contact us today.