Customer Satisfaction and Retention – 6 KPIs to Tell You If You’re On Track

Given the nature of our connected world and the impact of technological advances, it is little wonder that customer experience and satisfaction have risen to the top of the list of differentiators for so many companies. In many instances, customer satisfaction can be measured directly, via a survey to customers asking for their feedback. Unfortunately, with so many purchases and other transactions happening online, and the desire for customer feedback so intense, customers are starting to experience “survey fatigue.”

Don’t get me wrong, thoughtful customer response to a 6-7 question satisfaction survey is great feedback, but getting meaningful responses is becoming increasingly difficult. So, how can a field service-based business get a better sense of customer satisfaction without bothering your customers with a survey every time they use your services?

KPIs for Field Service

If you’re like many field service-based businesses, you have your eye on some key performance indicators that help determine how well certain aspects of the business are doing. These indicators tend to focus on how much work is being done, how much revenue is being generated per technician, and other indicators of business health. These also tend to be looked at through an inward-facing lens. That is, what do these metrics indicate inside my business? By adjusting that lens to look outward, some of these very same metrics can help gauge levels of customer satisfaction, with the right focus. Here are a few that we recommend as a great starting point.

#1 – Attach Rate

Attach Rate is the percentage of active customers that have a preventative maintenance contract. This metric has a lot of relevance in a commercial environment, as field service businesses in the commercial space seek longer-running relationships than on the household side of these businesses, which tend to be more transactional. Monitoring the percentage of customers with an active preventative maintenance contract is an indicator of customer satisfaction and provides some predictability in revenue projections. It also tells you which customers are willing to make a longer-term commitment to using your services. A steady or rising Attach Rate is a solid indicator that customers are satisfied and are willing to make long-term commitments to work with you.

#2 – First-Time Fix Rate

The First-Time Fix Rate determines how many repairs were resolved in a single visit. Ideally, this is most of the time and this metric can be a key indicator for several potential problem areas, or success, depending on the trend. Having to schedule a technician for a second, or even third visit to successfully effect a repair will definitely have an impact on customer satisfaction. A low, or decreasing First-Time Fix Rate may also indicate an issue with training, or pairing up technician skills with the job that needs to get done. But one thing is for sure, a repair, resolved on the first customer site visit, improves customer satisfaction, and reduces costs. Tracking this metric over time will give you a sense of the experience that your customers are having and the corresponding level of satisfaction should track with it. As a bonus, increasing the First-Time Fix Rate lowers costs by eliminating second and third trips for the same repair.

#3 – Repeat Visit

A Repeat Visit metric represents the number of times that an installed product had to be re-serviced by a technician within a certain time frame (e.g., 7 days, 30 days, etc.). Repeat Visit provides you with a different angle of looking at the cost to return and deliver service—this time tied to a specific installed product. If you look at this metric by product line or family, it can point to products that require a high number of repeat visits within a certain time window and provide great input for product development teams. Looking at this metric by the individual technician, it can point to insufficient testing on-site or lack of adequate training. It can also point out the technicians who have mastered service on a certain account or product and can be leveraged as an expert resource. From a customer satisfaction viewpoint, it can be eye-opening for the customer to see how often certain products require repeat service. Providing information that helps them limit downtime while providing the warranty services and expert technician support is a value-add that differentiates your service levels from those of your competitors.

#4 – Average SLA Compliance Rate

SLAs or Service Level Agreements establish the parameters of service that should be achievable by the mobile workforce and acceptable to the business customer, based on potential disruptions to their business. Improve Service Level Agreement compliance rates by empowering your field technicians with field-based access to the customer’s current SLA, repair history, and maintenance information. Meeting your commitments to customers, and doing so with a mobile technician that has the confidence and expertise that having all pertinent information brings, changes the dynamic of the relationship to one of being a trusted advisor. Making the switch from simply delivering a service to one where you are a trusted resource will have a dramatic effect on how customers’ experiences are perceived and should drive a corresponding increase in customer satisfaction.

#5 – Mean Time to Service

This metric measures the average time from work order creation to arriving on site. Given that many customers in a commercial environment are on preventative maintenance contracts, this measurement may be skewed toward non-scheduled or emergency jobs. However, those situations are often the ones that distinguish your reliability and professionalism relative to other service providers. Also, keep in mind that customers will compare your service delivery to a range of other experiences, inside and outside the same realm. Making a customer wait, or being unable to provide timely updates as to the arrival time of the technician, will certainly impact the customer experience in a negative manner.

#6 – Mean Time to Repair

The Mean Time to Repair represents the average time from work order creation to work order completion – not assignment completion, but when the work order is completed. The time it takes to complete a repair can provide insights into training deficiencies and can reveal other inefficiencies in the process that are in need of attention. This metric, through the inward-facing lens, can point to inefficiencies in the broader billing cycle and challenges to getting proper paperwork to accurately close a work order and produce an invoice. For customers, they expect receipt of an invoice in a timely manner so they can properly account for the expense. Invoicing delays, inaccurate invoices, and big swings in billing cycle times create headaches for the accounting department and have a corresponding impact on customer experience and satisfaction.

A Great Place to Start

As mentioned initially, direct polling of customers can yield valuable information and insights, but efforts to collect this information can sometimes be perceived as intrusive and bothersome. In fact, one might argue that the ability to get statistically valid response rates to customer surveys might itself be an indicator of customer satisfaction – either that it is really good, or really bad.

The indicators listed above are a great place to start, and improvements can be introduced, monitored, and achieved by replacing manual, paper-based tasks with a mobile application for field service. The view into these metrics is pretty straightforward and the underlying data that is used to create visibility into these indicators generally comes from just a couple of business systems. Focus on the basics to keep everything moving forward.

Expanding the KPI Universe

And once there is a comfort level with interpreting information from a basic set of indicators through both the inward-facing and outward-facing lenses, consider the power of tying together a broader and deeper cross-section of enterprise information. The benefit of having access to more data means that, under the right guidance, you should be able to glean more insights, improve internal processes, empower your mobile workforce, and drive even more tangible improvements in customer experience and satisfaction.

In a field service context, with the right field service management solution, you are able to go beyond the six KPIs listed above and start managing your business from a perspective that was formerly unattainable. Optimally, your solution is sophisticated enough to integrate data sources from previously isolated systems giving you an understanding of both cause and effect that allows intentional and meaningful optimization of the field workforce. The integration of data across what used to be siloed repositories will reveal interdependencies that allow adjustments and course corrections based on insights and resulting conclusions that were not previously available.

In the final analysis, make sure that your field service solution can measure key KPIs, allowing you to start simply, and expand as your familiarity with interpreting data increases. It is critical that your system can capture information within the context of its own designed metrics, but also can encompass data from other systems to provide a more holistic view across the range of processes that exist in your business. Be sure to look at these KPIs through an inward-facing lens and take action where the data indicates there is an issue. By driving continuous improvement through this ongoing process, a view through the outward-facing lenses should reveal a satisfied customer.