Improving customer satisfaction by enhancing First-time Fix Rates
Madhu Sekhar, IGBC-AP
‘A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all’, remarked Michael Labouef. This is increasingly true for companies in the field service industry. With the cut-throat competition, receding profit margins and customer loyalty is at an all-time low, providing a delightful customer experience is fast proving to be the differentiating factor for companies in the industry. With a pressure to increase efficiency and reduce cost, customer experience is often a factor which is neglected.
Throughout my experience of consulting for companies in the FSM space, I have always insisted in understanding the importance of providing seamless customer experience from the time the call is booked till the time the service is delivered and the customer provides a feedback. While there could be a number of metrices which reflect how well one is doing in the customer experience front, the First-time fix rate (FTFR) is something which I advise my clients to keep a close eye on. FTFR reduces costs, improves operational efficiency, enhances workforce productivity and most importantly increases customer satisfaction.
Through the course of this blogpost, we will understand what FTFR is and why it should be important for your field service company.
First-time Fix Rate or FTFR is defined as the percentage of tickets/calls resolved in the first visit itself.
It is an indication of how well your technician was prepared for the job at hand and on a much larger scale measures the effectiveness your operations teams conducts the various tasks assigned to it.
Why is FTFR an important indicator of the health of the company?
While there are numerous benefits to having a higher FTFR, the two key obvious benefits to your FSM organization include:
Improved Customer Satisfaction. A higher FTFR would indicate the customers issue is resolved without the need for a pending second visit. Customer retention and any incoming future business with the client would depend on how well his expectations are met and FTFR is an accurate representation of that. Understandably, it could also lead to any referral business from the customer.
Increased profitability. A number of cost implications are put to rest once the customer issue is resolved in the first visit itself. It is indeed a reflection of how well your organization is prepared to meet the needs of your customers and is an indicator of the health of the business. FTFR nudges field service agents to manage their workflows better, schedule, and accomplish more tasks in less time. By improving FTFR, you can allocate resources judiciously and invest them in the next task without repeated service visits.
How can your FSM organization achieve a higher FTFR?
Often companies struggle to achieve a high FTFR rate. This issue is primarily driven by the complexity of the customer problem and often the inability of the technician to have all the knowledge and the tools at his disposal to achieve the desired results.
The following are some of the steps you can undertake to improve your FTFR rates:
Empowering your technicians. One of the most keys to providing a high quality of service would be to empower your technicians with all the resources they would need to successfully accomplish the task they have been assigned. With the right digital solution, your technicians would have access to materials and insights which could help resolve customer issues on the first visit. Additionally it would help in collaboration real time and with all the resources at his disposal, the technicians would be in a better position to achieve a higher FTFR.
Kickstarting your digital transformation journey. Achieving success in Field Service Management is a team sport. It requires coordinated effort from all the FSM team members including those responsible for scheduling, workflows, communication methods, and technology use. This cannot be achieved overnight – it requires time, effort and the right tools to achieve competitive levels of customer satisfaction. Having an ecosystem of apps which seamlessly communicate with each other puts all the stakeholders – internal teams, suppliers/vendors and the customers under one platform with the managers having access to real time data to make informed decisions.
Having clear metrics and targets for growth. You should have clearly identified metrices which represent customer satisfaction and measure them diligently. Often the bonus and incentives lure the technicians to close more calls, rather than ensuring the ideal resolution to a call. Hence, by setting the right targets, you can encourage them to persist with a call until its resolved to the customers delight rather than sticking to the prescribed KPI’s and SLA’s.
While FTFR might be an indicator of the health of your FSM company, you should consider getting a more holistic view of the company’s operations. This would allow you to identify gaps in your service process and optimize / automate them to achieve operational excellence, which would also be visible through a higher FTFR. A flexible and customizable FSM solution like Steer could potentially help you with your ambitions of business growth.
Madhu Sekhar, IGBC-AP
Madhu Sekhar is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of experience in FSM, specializing in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVACR) industry.
Steer & Sankey Solutions Partner to Transform Field Service Management