To reframe my headline into a more positive statement: I believe 2022 will be the year we master first-time fix. Why? It simply has to be! Those of you who follow my content know that change management is a topic I will rant about. Well, first-time fix is coming in at a close second. 

You’ve heard the saying, “In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.” I feel the same about first-time fix. In the age of information, failure of first-time fix is simply unacceptable. There are too many tools at your disposal to not dig in and seize the opportunity to succeed in an initial visit. Now I’m not suggesting any organization have a goal of 100 percent first-time fix; perfection is never a reasonable objective. However, I do believe that those who really struggle with first-time fix – at this point – have no excuse and are missing the mark of what service today means. 

If you consider the far-reaching, negative impact of repeat visits, it is a service standard that demands more of our attention. You have the cost of not one, but two (or more) truck rolls. You have your technician’s time, which in the current climate of labor shortages and talent gaps is even more golden. And besides their time, how do you think failure to fix impacts employee experience? Put yourself in the shoes of a frontline worker who is on-site with a customer, often already frustrated, and must communicate their inability to get the job done. 

And we haven’t even touched on customer satisfaction yet. In a time where outcomes are demanded, the frustration that surfaces when a repeat visit is needed is not only immense but can be reason alone for that customer to seek service elsewhere. Because accepting subpar service isn’t a luxury your customers are willing to afford you – not when many of your competitors have leveraged the tools at their disposal to not only master first-time fix, but to evolve service delivery and expand service offerings in ways those struggling with first-time fix likely haven’t even thought of. 

As we continue down the path of As-a-Service and outcomes-based offerings, failure at first-time fix will not only impact you in the often-mentioned ways; it will erode your profits and diminish your reputation. To maintain competitive advantage, you must realize that something like first-time fix is table stakes in today’s service landscape.

Predict & Prevent

Quite frankly, on-site service shouldn’t be your first line of defense. Leading organizations are adopting technologies like IoT and augmented reality that allow them to predict and even prevent issues that would previously require on-site attention. When issues do occur, remote resolution is becoming more and more common – and expected among customers. 

Prepare

When an issue does require on-site attention, you should have the ability to know in advance what your technician will encounter on-site so that you can prepare accordingly. This means matching technician skills and assessing urgency, ensuring the availability of parts that may be needed, and using modern communication methods so that customers have a reasonable service window and have validated their availability and confirmed the appointment. 

Persist

Even with proper preparation, your technician may run into an issue he or she needs help with on-site. They should be properly equipped with customer history, access to a variety of documentation and assistance resources, and should be able to rely on technology like remote assistance if collaboration is necessary. 

So, let’s make 2022 the year we resolve to master first-time fix and shift our attention to more strategic focus areas and innovation. Pretty please?

Sarah Nicastro
Author

Creator, Future of Field Service