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Metrics in Field Service: A Moving Target

Posted by sumairdutta on Oct 12, 2016 3:19:30 PM

If you ask a field service business leader to list the most important metrics for his/her business, the list would include the likes of:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Service margins – business profitability
  • Response time or mean time to repair
  • First-time fix

Depending on who you ask, the order of the metrics tends to change. That said, for the most part, these metrics are consistently near the top of the field service leaders watch-list. In covering the field service world over the previous 12 years, we’ve made some observations in measurement areas that are becoming more and more relevant. We’ve highlighted a few below:

Success at the Customer Level

First came the operational metrics such as time to response and first-time fix. Then came the business success metrics such as revenue and margins. We finally see a greater emphasis from field service organizations on measuring success at the customer level. This doesn't just mean the measurement of customer satisfaction, but also a more rigorous analysis of metrics such as Net Promoter Score (transactional), Retention, Customer Effort Score, and Ease of Doing Business. Leading organizations are beginning to evaluate what a customer sees as a successful field service visit and are then measuring their success on the ability to deliver that to the customer on a consistent basis.

Focus on the Employee

There’s still work to be done here, but the value of the field service employee has skyrocketed. This isn’t solely tied to the shortage of quality field service engineers, but also to the increased realization of the impact of a field service visit. A good field service visit not only leads to a happy customer but also opens up revenue opportunities for the organization. A good field service visit typically requires an engaged field service employee who not only cares about the work that's being done, but is also aligned with the brand promise of the organization that he/she supports.

The Complete Service Delivery Team

TSC’s latest research on outsourcing reveals that partners currently do a third of field service work. These partners are dealers, distributors, independent service organizations, and contractors. Yet, only 60% of organizations have defined metrics in place to track the performance of their partners. This is changing, as more organizations are beginning to apply the rigor of operational, financial, and customer-facing metrics to the work that is completed by partners on their behalf.

Conflict Metrics

The service organization has a direct impact on service performance. In that, the service organization can identify areas of improvement and can make necessary adjustments. Yet, other areas of the organization also impact service performance. For instance, promises made by the sales team impact service expectations and performance. The design of a serviceable product can impact service performance. This is why leading service leaders are beginning to present standard service metrics as conflict metrics, i.e. they are meant to drive action in other parts of the business. For instance, time to repair can be greatly impacted by the serviceability of a product. If the most replaced parts are embedded deepest into the product then there might be an opportunity to reconsider the design of the product to make it more serviceable without compromising functionality. Or a decision might need to be made to leverage a more expensive component so that it doesn’t need to be replaced as often. These metrics are most effective when they consider the pain points of all business groups as well as the pain points of the final customer.

We’re going to be talking all things metrics on an upcoming webcast on October 18. The webcast will feature our research and analysis on:

  1. The Key Metrics in Field Service
  2. Steps to Improve Key Field Service Metrics
  3. Other Areas of Measurement to Consider

We look forward to having you join us.

Topics: Field Service, Perspective, first-time fix, key performance indicators, KPIs, mean time to repair, meant time to resolution, metrics

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