Another year and another Memorial Day. Most people I meet do not know the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Memorial Day is when we recognize and honor those who died while in the service. Veterans Day for veterans past and present.
“Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.” (http://www.history.com/memorial-day)
“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as “the Great War.” Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.” (http://www.history.com/veterans-day)
So, as a veteran I would like to say “Thanks, but no thanks.” on Memorial Day. On Veterans Day I will say “You are welcome!” all day long.
The first time fix statistic is a KPI that is heavily debated in the field service industry. This KPI refers to the ability of an organization to complete a service request on the first visit. Not to be confused with completing one service call with two visits, this statistic essentially means the service rep arrives at the customer and is able to complete the call either without parts or that he has the part on hand. The ability to complete service calls on the first visit has a strong impact on the customer experience (CX) and also the company’s bottom line.
The First Time Fix (FTF) i important for several reasons. From a customer experience (CX) perspective it is a very easy way to improve perception of service. FTF ability has an impact on the amount of time a piece of equipment is either non-operational or operating with reduced performance. As organizations move to measuring up time rather than down time (Up Time versus Down Time), this KPI is becoming increasingly important. Customers associate service with the quality of equipment and it is near impossible to have a strong equipment reputation without a strong service one.
FTF is even more important to the service success of a business. FTF save money and time. Being able to resolve a service call on the first visit reduces the amount of travel time for the service call. at the same time that it reduces the travel time per call it also increases the number of service calls that can be completed by one tech in a day, week or month. The larger the number of techs in your service department, the greater the potential for savings. FTF is also an indication of vehicle stock inventory. Not every service call can be completed without parts, but parts need to be available for those calls.
FTF statistics will make or break a service department.
Field service is finally coming in from the cold.
Recent field service software advances from MSI Data, ServiceMax, and Microsoft’s Field One, have meant that the role of service in the customer experience (CX) effort is finally getting it’s day. Salesforce has announced the launch of Lightning–their answer to better managing field service operations. Salesforce has over 150,000 customers and millions of users. By introducing Lightning, Salesforce has demonstrated that it is time for field service to have a seat at the customer experience table.
Most companies recognize the need for field service software. What they fear is implementation and integration (I&I). Attending software demos and purchasing the solution is the easy part. The difficulty is implementing that software across an organization in a way that does not interfere with day-to-day operations. Integration will always be a challenge, but whereas operations can recover from an implementation phase, it is very difficult to recover from lost data or revenue from an integration phase.
I have not had the opportunity to work with Lightning, but the launch of this software by Salesforce promises to reduce the negative impact of I & I by being part of Salesforce. (Salesforce Lightning Demo) If the office staff and field sales and service are already accustomed to Salesforce, this I & I pain can be reduced. Easing these two issues makes it easier for organizations to adopt field service management software.
Unfortunately the challenge with the field service management effort within organizations is less a problem of I & I and more a problem of institutionalized behavior. For those within the field service industry, the role of field service in the CX is clear. Service reps generate goodwill with customers, contribute to future sales and upgrades, and generate revenue to function as a stand-alone business unit. Sometimes, there are those in an organization who would attempt to minimize this contribution. Being effective at measuring and detailing contributions of a field service department is the key way to promote recognition of these aspects.
I have not yet seen Lightning in operation so I am unable to critique it’s performance as a field service solution. But, by choosing to develop a field service solution for Salesforce, it shows how field service is beginning to receive the recognition it deserves.
KPI’s, metrics, goals, and objectives. Measuring performance in a field service department has never been more more important. How do you decide which metric to attain, profitability, utilization, or billable hours? These and other metrics are certainly important for measuring success, but how do you define success in a service department.
In a previous post I asked “How Should Service Define Success?” Success in field service department is defined by business objectives. If the objective is to achieve maximum service revenue then a billable hours per tech is a very important metric. If the objective of the department is to support sales activities, then a better metric might be utilization. Utilization as measured by value activity rather than billable hours. If field operations are expected to support non-revenue generating activities, then profitability is not the best gauge of success.
These different perspective on the goals that measure success have common ground. Regardless of the measuring criteria, it starts with hours. Understanding what is being done and how long it takes is a fundamental beginning to understanding your service department. Starting with hours and activity rather than trying to calculate utilization or profitability will give you true insight to what your service department is capable of. Starting with hours and then moving to utilization, and then to revenue. It is easy to start with other metrics and work towards hours and tasks, but you will not be able to make informed decisions working in that order.
Field service departments can have a huge potential to benefit your business. Service revenue, parts, upgrades, technical sales, continuous improvement, and social media interaction. Your field service reps are doing all of these things right now, the secret is to channel it in a way that works towards the long-term interests of the company. Following lean management principles towards your field organization is the best way to achieve goals.