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Why does first-time fix rate matter in field service?

First-time fix rate is a crucial metric for the field service industry — here’s everything to know about FTFR, why it’s important, and how you can improve it.

Why does first-time fix rate matter in field service?

If there’s one thing customers and technicians can agree on, it’s that fixing everything during a first service appointment is ideal.

No one wants to waste time or energy (or money) trying to address a single issue multiple times. And the best way to measure how successful your technicians are at resolving issues during one appointment is by tracking first-time fix rate, also known as FTFR.

While there are plenty of other metrics you should be tracking to ensure your service is meeting customer expectations, FTFR is a crucial one, as it can impact everything from your operational efficiency and customer satisfaction to your margins and bottom line. 

Here, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about first-time fix: What it is, why it’s important, and how to improve first-time fix rate. Read on for the ABCs of FTFR.


What is first-time fix rate?

First-time fix rate is the percentage of the time a technician is able to fix an issue during the first appointment without having to return with additional expertise, information, or parts. It’s calculated by dividing the total number of jobs completed on the first visit by the total number of jobs completed.

FTFR is often considered the “holy grail” of KPIs because it tells a story about your business in just one simple number — like how well you’ve trained and prepared your technicians, whether you’re communicating sufficiently with customers, if you’ve empowered clientele to reach out with crucial access information, and more. 


FTFR: The Holy Grail of KPIs

First-time fix rate is the percentage of the time a technician is able to fix an issue during the first appointment without having to return with additional expertise, information, or parts.


And it can be impacted by all sorts of things. Localz conducted a survey that found 31% of missed appointments boil down to customers not being home or not being aware the appointment was happening, while 33% were due to human error. Meanwhile, 9% were due to technicians not having the right tools. At first glance, it may seem like improving FTFR is out of your hands, but there are many things you can do to enhance communication. 


Why does first-time fix rate calculation matter?

Your first-time fix rate calculation matters because it’s a telling one: It reflects overall efficiency, margins, productivity, and operational expenses. A high first-time fix rate often is also associated with higher customer satisfaction, better customer engagement, lower call centre volume, and more return customers. It’s an important benchmark for both maintenance and business: It shows the productivity of technicians and reflects customers’ experiences. When you earn customers’ trust by making fixes reliably during service appointments, they’ll feel they’re getting the best service possible from your experts — and technicians will be able to do more jobs, more efficiently.

If it’s not already clear, one of the biggest reasons you should care is because FTFR impacts your bottom line. The average company has an FTFR of 75%, while top-performing companies have an FTFR of 89%, according to research from Aberdeen Group. Low-performing companies have an FTFR of 56%.

Needing additional appointments to address a single issue can be frustrating for your customers and your staff, and it adds a cost burden to your organisation. When you have a below-average FTFR, along with increased operational expenses, you’ll find you’re having to pay a technician multiple times for repairing the same job, increase spending on training or spare parts, and reduce the capacity of your team until the service is complete.


How can you improve first-time fix? 

So, FTFR is plainly not a metric to be ignored — now, we’ll dig into how to improve first-time fix rate to see improved efficiency, lower costs, higher customer engagement and satisfaction, and a boosted bottom line.

As mentioned earlier, many instances of missed appointments are due to miscommunication or lack of communication entirely. If your FTFR isn’t meeting your goals — or if you’re looking for ways to reach all-star levels of customer satisfaction — here are some methods to start improving your FTFR. (Hint: Many involve customer engagement tools.)

  • Self-service portals. Self-service options like customer portals empower clientele to easily make changes to their appointments or cancel without calling — offering them autonomy, decreasing the likelihood of a missed appointment, and reducing the burden on your call centre.

  • Real-time ETA/service tracking. Offering smaller and more accurate ETA windows or place-in-queue tracking reduces customers’ stress and anxiety around an appointment, and it means they won’t miss your operative because they can plan when to step out to run an errand.

  • Two-way communication. Give customers the freedom to get in touch with technicians so they can provide important access information such as gate codes, parking instructions, or that they need extra time to get to the door.

  • Improve communication between the back office and staff. When appointment information is available digitally rather than via paperwork alone, any service updates are immediately accessible to technicians on the road, increasing their ability to plan their day and routes (and therefore improve their efficiency). 

  • Send reminder texts. As we saw from the Localz survey, about one-third of customers forget about their appointments. A quick reminder text before and/or on the day of service significantly increases the chances it won’t slip their minds, and they’ll be home and ready to receive your technician.

  • Ensure you’re sending the right techs to the right jobs. Match skill sets to the right job: You’ll see improved expertise around problem-solving, and that jobs are done well, and done faster. 

  • Use your data to spot trends and optimise for performance. Collecting data around your jobs and technicians helps call out wins, find opportunities for training and optimisation, and spot where to match jobs with technicians’ strengths.


Localz helps you focus on first-time fix rate

First-time fix rate is a critical metric in the field service industry — so don’t put tracking and improving it on the back burner. Localz can help you bump up your FTFR to see results like optimised efficiency, lower expenses, higher customer satisfaction and engagement, a better bottom line, and more.

With our configurable platform, you can tailor our software to your unique goals — without having to overhaul your tech stack. Localz’ solutions bolt on to your existing infrastructure and offer tools for improving FTFR like:

Interested in learning how to elevate your business by increasing your first-time fix rate? Get in touch today.

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