Companies operating in the utility industry face challenges on a wide range of fronts. Customer service and the customer experience (CX) has rapidly moved to the top of that list, with today’s customers demanding more from their utility providers than they have ever before, in large part due to the pandemic.
Customer service isn’t purely about how your utility handles incoming customer queries. It’s also essential to how your company improves its back-end processes to ensure service downtime is kept to a minimum.
Any customer service representative in the field service will understand how crucial it is to get the job done right the first time. That doesn't just solely mean answering customer queries successfully through your customer service program, it also means ensuring your engineering and operations team can efficiently fix issues when they become a problem for your customer.
In fact, fixing issues in the field as soon as possible is so important there’s even a metric for it called first-time fix rate.
What is first-time fix rate in the utility sector?
First-time fix rate simply indicates the percentage of times a member of your utility’s engineering or operations team is able to fix an issue in the field the first time, without the need for additional expertise, information or parts.
Improving your first-time fix rate is important for your utility because:
- It improves customer satisfaction - Good first-time fix rates can significantly improve customer satisfaction. The faster you can resolve utility issues and prevent downtime for your customers, the happier they will be with the service that your utility is offering.
- It improves the efficiencies of your engineering team - Your engineering keeps your utility services running. The better the information you provide them about an issue, the more chance they have of fixing it first time round. As a result, superior first-time fix rates lead to improved efficiencies for your engineering team.
- It has a direct impact on your profitability - The longer it takes for your utility to fix an issue, the more time, resources and repeat visits you’ll have to burn through. This has a direct impact on how profitable your utility is.
To give you an idea of what your utility should be achieving, a study from the Aberdeen Group found that "best-in-class" field service organizations resolve the issue on the first visit 88 percent of the time, “average companies achieve an 80 percent rate and the “laggards” struggle at 63 percent.
So, how can your utility improve its first-time fix rate?
With the benefits of improving your utility’s first-time fix rate in mind, what exactly can you do to improve your organization’s performance in that metric and build better customer experiences? It’s important to give your engineering and operations team the information they need to get the job done correctly the first time round.
Integrating smart forms and workflows into your utility’s customer portal solution will ensure your engineering and operations team always have the most up-to-date information available to them.
- Enabling your utility to instantly collect and route data for use in the office or out in the field.
- Ensure important information is securely stored in a central location and easily accessible by authorized personnel out in the field.
- Monitor the real-time status of equipment, personal and jobs.
- Managers can easily allocate and distribute tasks and work to engineers in the field in real-time.
Giving your engineering and operation teams the tools they need to succeed will improve your first-time fix rates, increase customer satisfaction, improve your utility’s profitability, allow you to build more efficient processes and many other benefits.
Want to learn more about how SilverBlaze’s unique smart forms and workflows, as well as our award-winning customer portal built specifically for the utility industry, can help improve the operations of your utility? Contact us today. Our team of utility customer satisfaction experts would love to answer any questions that you may have.