Let’s start with the basics, as not everyone in business knows this (different organizations have different vocabularies): KPIs are “key performance indicators” or, ideally, things you track and analyze. What’s happening with those business elements is ultimately driving the bottom-line success of your business. Think of a well-known company like Amazon. A crucial “KPI” for it is website load time; if the website is taking forever to load, people will go and shop elsewhere. That’s the easiest way to think about it.
The first problem that organizations encounter with KPIs -- especially field service organizations -- is not tying them to overall goals. KPIs are meaningless without being tied to goals, because the entire point of a key performance indicator is that it’s supposed to help you make better decisions, and organizational decisions need to be predominantly based on organizational goals. Here’s the 1-2 punch that should drive most of your business planning, then:
- What are our goals? (Strategic planning)
- How will we measure how we’re doing on those goals? (KPIs)
KPIs, in short, give you the data you need to make better decisions around your core business goals.
Within field service, KPIs can vary by organization and the types of industries you service. In general, though, some common ones might include:
- Response times
- Resolution plans
- Resolution times
‘Response time’ is different from ‘resolution time.’ The first one means ‘how quickly you responded to an incident with a customer’ -- in terms of setting in motion the process of fixing the problem. ‘Resolution time’ means how long it took to actually resolve the issue.
Quick but important point here: in field service management over the past few years, there has been an increase in the use of Internet of Things and predictive analytics. That means devices (i.e. machines) are connected to the internet and can send data on their performance back to the field service management hub, and in turn, the team knows to service that equipment before the customer even has to make a call. In that type of situation, ‘response time’ is no longer a KPI -- although ‘resolution plan’ and ‘resolution time’ still are (even if you’re getting data directly from a machine, you still need to fix the machine if it’s broken).
First-time fix rate (the percentage of times you fixed a customer’s problem on the first visit, as opposed to extending the appointments to multiple visits) is another common field service management KPI. It’s very closely tied to customer satisfaction -- who wants a tech coming on site 3 or 4 times for the same job?
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