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Field Service Enablement: A Walkthrough Guide to First-Time Fix Rates

With superior customer experience driving competition, you should be focusing on increasing your service technicians’ first-time fix rates.

Recently I was with my team and asked if anyone has experienced a scenario where it took multiple service visits to fix something that was broken in their house. Almost everyone had a story about the technician not having a needed spare part, not having enough replacement parts, or having the wrong parts. 

So how do you make this better, where do you start, and what metric is the best indicator of success for the bottom line and customer satisfaction?

If you’d rather jump right to the heart of it… click here to take a guided tour that shows you how to break your record for first-time fix rates.

First, the basics. What is field service enablement?

Field service enablement is closely intertwined with Field Service Management (FSM), which involves high-level management of company resources when service technicians are on-site at a client's location or en route. This management is crucial for businesses looking to reduce downtime, increase profitability, and ensure service level agreements (SLAs) are met consistently.

Field service enablement is a tech-driven discipline that focuses on refining work order management, overseeing mobile workforce activities, and guaranteeing the strategic distribution of resources. All of this is made possible with modern technology, particularly portable tech such as mobile devices, IoT (Internet of Things), and cloud computing. These technologies have enabled field service teams to access real-time information, utilize dynamic routing and scheduling, and improve communication between team members and customers.

For a business, field service enablement is an investment in maintaining high customer satisfaction and containing costs by ensuring field service teams have the right product and customer information at all times. 

How does it work? 

Before we dive into the specific strategies, you can try this technology for yourself! With this interactive tour, you can learn how to elevate your service levels and reduce downtime with just a few clicks. 

Take a Guided Tour

Start with a realistic target

Depending on the industry, as little as 10 percent separates good to great fix rates.  Meaning if you're at 80% “good”, a reasonable goal is 82%, because 90% is “excellent”. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all at once, look at these 5 areas that make an impact:

Identify what parts of a product are Serviceable | Don't waste a technician or customer’s time on items that cannot be fixed. In addition, if the cost to fix is more than a new one, have an upgrade discount strategy so it's a win/win for everyone.

Manage Documents and Distribution | Have a process to update documents, such as instructions. Make sure technicians are notified when a change is made and guide rails are in place so that they only access the right one.

Make Changes | Solicit insights from technicians based on interactions and customer feedback. Then create closed-loop collaboration with the rest of your team. These valuable changes allow you to optimize your product's serviceability.

Technician Training | Automate when training is needed based on a product launch or when changes happen. Utilize quizzes, checkpoints, and other user-specific training features to validate that your technicians are set up for success.

Last, and most interesting, Analytics and Reports | Use Al to make data-driven decisions. How do you decrease service time or increase margins? Monitor reports ensuring everyone has met the training requirements and drive change when issues arise.

Having the right supplies

Let’s take a closer look at the mobile workforce example I gave around service calls to your home. The core of field service enablement is cloud data from the various tools you use to automate behavior-driven decisions.

Ask yourself these three questions about how you use your data:

For example: To determine what the most impactful items for a customer visit, you could do some math:

X = field replaceable units x most common issues x top purchased products

…Resulting in the best items to bring each trip that will increase the first-time fix rate.

Furthermore, take advantage of your dashboard. You can use these analytics to make predictive decisions with AI.

Think about how ChatGPT has changed the way we look at writing and research. Consider how that same concept can be applied to make field service more efficient. Just imagine getting answers to prompts like these in real time:

  • “Show me all the customers that had X issue”
  • “Show which products had X issue”
  • “Show me which item numbers were impacted” 
  • “What are the most common items that fail”
  • “What is the average number of visits to resolve X issue”

How Propel enhances field service enablement with Salesforce

Propel Software is at the forefront of transforming field service enablement by building its solution on top of Salesforce, the world's leading CRM platform.

Salesforce Field Service management utilizes the Service Cloud making it accessible from any mobile device. By building our Field Service tool as a separate solution directly within our PLM platform companies get the benefit of controlling access based on a user's needs. This approach accomplishes a seamless, rich ecosystem for managing all aspects of field service operations along the product development cycle, from work orders and scheduling to invoicing and onboarding new team members.

By leveraging Salesforce's robust infrastructure, Propel Software can offer a solution that includes:

  • Configurable Workflows and Automation: Streamline the entire service lifecycle, from initial contact through service completion, invoicing, and follow-up.
  • Advanced Scheduling and Routing: Ensure the right field technicians are dispatched with the right parts and information, minimizing delays and improving first-time fix rates.
  • Real-time Notifications: Keep technicians and customers informed every step of the way, from service appointment confirmations to technician arrival times.
  • Knowledge Base and Troubleshooting Guides: Empower technicians with access to a comprehensive knowledge base and troubleshooting tools directly through their mobile devices.
  • IoT Integration for Proactive Service: Utilize IoT data to anticipate service needs, reducing unnecessary on-site visits and pre-empting potential issues.

Additionally, Propel Software's integration with Salesforce enables seamless access to customer data, order management, and service history, ensuring a personalized and efficient service experience. This not only enhances technician enablement but also boosts customer trust and loyalty.

Discover the solution

Click through an interactive tour to see how Propel Software can elevate your service level, reduce technician downtime, and drive profitability.

How will you use this to your advantage?

Check out Propel’s solution to this challenge and learn more about opportunities you have to utilize the platform it’s built on.

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Post by
Mike Prom
Director of Technical Product Marketing, Propel

Mike Prom is a seasoned professional with a rich background in product management and customer experience. As the current Director of Technical Product Marketing at Propel Software, he leverages his expertise to prioritize customer-centric strategies and innovation. Prior to this, Mike held significant roles at Duro and Siemens PLM Software, where he was instrumental in enhancing product capabilities and user experiences.

Fun Fact: In the past, Mike has designed snowmobile prototypes/wire harnesses for farm tractors and even a motorized ice fishing house.

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Mike Prom