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Field Service: 3 Ways To Improve First Time Fix Rate

August 17, 2021

The question of how to improve first time fix rate is becoming increasingly important as business’ look to differentiate themselves on their customer service. And it’s a worthwhile endeavor. According to independent research by Aberdeen Group, improving first time fix rate is correlated with heightened business success. In fact, 20% of top-performing companies have a first-time fix rate of 88%. 

It seems – at least on this front – a little goes a long way. Companies with an FTFR of more than 70% could expect an average score of 86% for customer retention, while those dropping below 70% FTFR saw this number decrease by 10 percentage points on average

This 10% differential can be highly impactful on a business’ revenue and bottom line: a study by Bain and Company found that a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to increased profits between 25% and 95%. 

That’s not a bad return on investment for the comparable cost to keep existing customers happy. 

So let’s explore how you can improve your first time fix rate (and by extension, your customer retention rates), starting today. 

1. Improve Discovery Calls 

When your customer service representatives are talking to customers, the more accurate information they can gather of the issue at hand, the better. 

It sounds intuitive, but due to long wait times and overworked employees, many small details live in call logs (or lost in translation altogether). For this reason, it’s a worthwhile investment to choose a CRM system that allows service representatives to easily and expediently input call information, along the way categorizing issues, potential causes, and solutions as they note them. 

This information should then be funneled to the right field service technician. Again, the better information your tech team has on the issue at hand, the better equipped they are to choose the right person (with the right background knowledge and experience) for the job and bring the right materials to the site. 

Here’s some immediate ways you can improve discovery calls

  • Make inputting data and other pieces of information into your CRM system super easy 
  • Align customer service representatives’ incentives with improving first time fix rates (ie, encourage them to prioritize quality of a discovery call over volume of cals)
  • Implement technologization to unburden representatives and make their lives easier: allow representatives to record customer service calls, upload recordings to the CRM system, replay calls, and so on

This last step is extra easy with business tools like Help Lightning’s remote assist software, in which workers leverage AR-technology to merge realities. Using this live video support, customer service representatives are able to see what a customer sees, point at objects on the screen, freeze and capture images, and much more. These calls can then be recorded and inputted into a channel in which technicians are able to view the problem as if they were already on site with the customer, and plan accordingly. 

All the actionable steps above are excellent adjustments that you can easily slot into your business’ existing infrastructure to improve first time fix rates quickly. 

2. Invest In Better Training 

Once a technician arrives on site, it’s important they are ready to handle the issue in front of them. And a lot of this preparation takes place before they even put boots on the ground: it occurs during the orientation and training period. 

As such, it may be a good idea to measure your top-performing technicians and inquire as to why they are so effective. Gather their feedback and then leverage these highly-trained employees to impart their knowledge, experience, and inside insights with trainees through systemized, formalized training sessions. 

All the while, make sure to have a control group of technicians who take part in the regular training and onboarding your company has in place, and then measure, track, and log both groups’ performance. This is an ideal way to gauge the effectiveness of this improved training. 

Just make sure to ask for feedback routinely to understand: 

  • What new issues are technicians consistently coming across on the job
  • How they could they better resolve problems the first-time around 
  • What repeat problems arise that present either practical or bureaucratic roadblocks to improving first time fix rates in your organization

Interested in optimizing your employee onboarding and training practices to improve your business’ long-term objectives? We can help!

3. Improve Lines Of Communication 

Sometimes, your FTFR isn’t as high as it could be for no other reason than: 1) bad communication styles or 2) outdated, inefficient practices that harm logistics. 

For instance, one common issue field service technicians come across is a dispatch on the wrong date, to the wrong address, or even to an already completed job! That’s not helping improve first time fix rate numbers, and it’s not helping field service technicians’ morale either. 

Here, there are crossed wires of communication. It’s costing you time, resources, and money. 

The best and most expedient way to fix this problem is to have streamlined, efficient processes that all members of your organization abide by. 

For instance, that CRM software that customer service representatives use to share data and information with technicians? Technicians can now update these after completing a job, ordering parts, or completing any other actionable task that moves the status of a job forward. 

For this system to function properly and to reap the benefits of this streamlined process, all parties that it depends on need to do their part. 

Use Of Remote Assist Software

Luckily, you can optimize inter-departmental communication through the use of remote assist software. AR-enabled technology allows customer services reps to hand off problems to technicians. These handoffs help avoid miscommunications, human errors, and missed nonverbal cues. All in favor of more transparent, expedient practices. 

Interested in learning more about the positive outcomes of remote support software?

Take a peek at our checklist and facts to consider for more information!

Alternatively, get in touch to schedule a free, no-obligation demo to understand the benefits remote first service could offer not only your field service use cases, but across other areas of your business too.

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