A low rate of first time fixes impacts customer satisfaction, profitability and productivity. And it’s usually down to a few common causes. So, why isn’t your FTF rate improving and what can you do about it?

7 reasons your first time fix rate is not improving

  1. The wrong people are being sent to the job - Have you got the tools to help you choose specific engineers or those with the right skills to attend a job? When you’ve got lots of contractors on your roster it may be difficult to do this manually. The right work request form and automated workflows can help you quickly transform requests into categorised work orders that get sent to the right contractor.
  2. You’re not sharing the right information - The work requests you are sending through are lacking the detail the engineer needs to prepare for the job. If you’re using a CAFM system, work requests forms should capture information in standardised ways so that vital information is not omitted. They should also let customers upload pictures and videos of the problems they’re having. Also, if engineers can’t see a work order properly on their phone - this can mean they miss key points about the job. 
  3. Engineers can’t find the right information - You might be sending all the information to your engineers to help them figure out where the problem lies, but they might not be finding it. Is vital information buried deep in a long email chain that you’ve forwarded? Or in pages of handwritten records only available on site? Improving the clarity of the digital work order should be a number one priority for those wanting to improve first time fixes.
  4. Engineers are attending without the right part - Again, this comes down to information and preparation. With the right data about the current problem and the equipment’s service history available on the work order, engineers can already have diagnosed the issue before they go on site. This will help them attend properly prepared with the right tools and the right spare parts.
  5. Engineers are running out of time - Are jobs scheduled in haphazard ways? This could be slowing engineers down and having a knock-on effect on your FTF rate. The right FM software can ensure that jobs in the same location are grouped together for completion so that they’re done in a logical order without any left incomplete.
  6. Communication is failing - What if the engineer needs some more information about the job before they get on-site? What if there’s a problem on-site that they need assistance with from head office? A good CAFM system with an IM function can let engineers request further information from the customer or their call centre, such as a request to raise the spend limit, while alsocreating an audit trail of their requests for future reference. Improved communications increase the chances that jobs are done right the first time.
  7. Customers are not ready for the engineers - How do you manage customer expectations around engineer arrivals? Work often can’t happen if the customer hasn’t prepared the space or is not there to show them the problem. The comms tools in a good CAFM system should include automated “worker on their way” notifications to customers to make sure work can begin as soon as the engineer is on-site.

What’s the damage?

If a worker arrives at the customer site but can’t complete a maintenance job it costs the business in lost revenue, wasted resource and reputational damage. These costs include:

  • Lost travel time
  • Additional callout fees
  • Continued equipment downtime
  • SLA failures leading to fines and contractual sanctions

What are the rewards?

Not surprisingly, research shows the best performing organisations have the highest first time fix rates. A study by the Aberdeen Group demonstrated that the top performing (and most profitable) 20% of companies have an average FTF rate of 88%. Meanwhile the worst performing companies saw consistent FTF rates of less than 70%.  

First time fixes are powerful KPIs. They can show you which contractors are solving your customers’ issues most effectively. They can help you focus on increasing customer satisfaction.  

CAFM systems can help you improve your FTF rate by creating more seamless digital management of maintenance tasks with:

  • Mobile portals for contractors
  • Better data capture
  • Better information sharing at every stage
  • Improved real time comms between stakeholders
  • Automated workflows with targeted notifications to keep jobs moving
  • Granular reporting to optimise rates over time

Most organisations use FTF rates as KPIs, but those who don’t, or don’t capture the right data, risk never getting to the bottom of revenue leaks and never making the right improvements. 

Your FTF rate might not be improving because of familiar problems with communication and the digital tools you use, but they could also be isolated to individual contractors, engineers and locations. Ensuring you have all the tools to fix and track your FTF rate will ensure you can use it to benchmark and optimise performance over time.

How does FM Software need to change 1.1

Tom Wilcock

Written by Tom Wilcock

Tom Wilcock is the COO and Co-Founder of Expansive Solutions. He is a digital expert with a background in delivering large-scale business digital transformation. He specialises in project management, product user experience, business ecosystems and data intelligence.

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