For field service organizations, maximizing productivity and driving down costs are top priorities. In the Field Service 2013 Workforce Management Guide, Aberdeen Group reports that one in every four service calls require a follow-up visit, which costs an additional $200-300, for a technician’s time. That’s an additional $3,000/week if this happens only 10 times per week—or an additional (and unnecessary) $144,000/year. Those costly call-backs can be avoided. However, by improving the first-time-fix rate.
Depending on the type of equipment, support organizations can attempt repairs in one of three ways, which vary in time and cost. The fastest and least expensive method tends to be fixing equipment problems remotely by resetting equipment controllers or sending out software updates directly from the call center. Successful repairs, performed remotely, tend to impress customers and build confidence in the equipment manufacturer. Unfortunately, while this is the most attractive option, for complex problems and equipment remote diagnosis and repair works only about 10% of the time.
When an issue cannot be resolved remotely, the next fastest and cost-effective approach is to remotely assist the customer to fix the problem. With this approach, the customer support center diagnoses the problem remotely and then guides the equipment operator through the repair. This relies on the customer having competent personnel to work on the equipment but often leaves a positive impression as they believe problems can be handled effectively by their own organization. While more successful on complex problems than remote repairs, remote assistance still only has a 25% success rate, so repairs driven by the call center can only be performed about 35% of the time.
For the remaining 65% of complex problems, service organizations must send a technician into the field to complete the repair. Because of the costs involved, and the delays to the customer, this approach is typically the option of last resort, and at that point it’s imperative to diagnose and repair the problem quickly and properly on the first visit.
Leveraging the collective knowledge of field service and customer support is one way to diagnose and repair problems faster and more effectively. Storing all known equipment issues, symptoms, causes and solutions for every known failure mode for a given type of equipment in one shared database enables field service technicians to enhance their performance. By utilizing the information found in such databases (what CaseBank refers to as a knowledgebase), technicians are able to increase their first-time-fix rates (FTFR), reduce the mean time to repair (MTTR) and ultimately reduce the number of costly call-backs associated with complex repairs.
This approach is helping companies that manufacture complex equipment drive down the cost, and improve the productivity of their field service.