First Call/Visit Resolution Getting It Fixed the First Time

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1 RTM Consulting First Call/Visit Resolution Getting It Fixed the First Time Randy Mysliviec Managing Partner

2 RTM Consulting All rights reserved. OVERVIEW Every field services or support services team has first call/visit resolution (FCR/FVR) in their metrics. If they don t they need to call us now for some advice fast! In some cases both these metrics are measured. In most cases the metrics are one and the same. During my nearly 40 years in the technology business, I have worked for and with both hardware and software solutions providers, and in a nutshell FCR/FVR are about answering or solving the customer s problems on the first contact or visit. The objective is hopefully obvious solve the problem the first time as quickly and for the least cost possible. The data is compelling do this well and your cost structure will be attractive and your customer service reputation in a good place. Some companies have figured out the right combination of people, process and technology to accomplish superior first call/visit performance, and do it consistently. Unfortunately too many companies have failed to achieve this resulting in poor customer satisfaction, high customer service costs and ultimately negative competitive consequences of their inability to conduct FCR/FVR in a manner consistent with client expectations. Vele Galovski, TSIA Field Service Research VP, has found a very powerful correlation between FVR and customer satisfaction (Figure 1). Figure 1: Transactional CSAT vs. 1st Visit Resolution. Source: 2015 TSIA Field Service Benchmark Having been on all sides of the table (customer, provider and now consultant) of this important customer service discipline, this white paper is an aggregation of those experiences and the most effective approaches we have observed for how to get it right. The paper primarily is targeted at the

3 RTM Consulting 3 technology space hardware and software but many of the concepts here are applicable to a broader range of industries. FCR/FVR CONCEPTS Stepping back from the many drivers of FCR/FVR, building the right customer service environment to quickly and efficiently address customer problems is something that must be considered holistically, even though improvement opportunities may lie in some of the components of your customer service solution. It is rare that we see a clean sheet customer service operation because most came about over a period of time where the company needs, volumes, product complexity, geographic reach and more all constantly changed over time, and consequently the services function adapted by adding new people, processes and technology. Often due to time and cost constraints each service delivery improvement is somewhat sub-optimized and over time what appear to be small inefficiencies, or inconveniences of that particular improvement, later fuel(ed) bigger issues and challenges that require a more comprehensive solution. Sound familiar? A more comprehensive solution would be more like a clean sheet approach from a design standpoint, but still likely to require a more incremental transformational planning point of view as our legacy capabilities must be dealt with. Conceptually, a good design for customer service deals with three fundamental components of customer service: 1. Prevention Our products should/must be designed so they don t break in the first place. And when they do break, the design has considered repair/maintenance as a critical design point. The ability to diagnose issues with technology, and potentially resolve those problems with technology, is the way to go. 2. Triage/Incident Handling When something does break, then we need to address the matter. This is the bread and butter of the operation. We must have designed effective remote solve capabilities, self-service support and ultimately our most expensive, people driven support. All these must be supported by the right investments in people/training, technology, and needed assets like spare parts and vehicles to get the technicians to the customer if needed. Feedback mechanisms to track our performance, and knowledge capture systems so we can learn and get better while leveraging what we learn are all important. 3. Continuous Improvement Building a learning organization that is constantly improving is harder than it sounds, and requires real discipline to track our experiences, capture knowledge and share this information to drive needed training/re-training, process change and support infrastructure changes.

4 RTM Consulting 4 The picture below highlights these concepts in a graphical way to help visualize the big picture. While there are definitely some pacesetters out there that have put these all together, they represent a minority of customer service departments. Great FCR/FVR performance remains elusive for many because these fundamental components have not been adequately addressed, and addressed with a strategy which incorporates all these elements in a cohesive and holistic fashion. The norm we see for customer service transformations tend to be more focused on point solutions train the techs better, replace that spare parts inventory system, talk to R&D about (better) selfdiagnostics and more. I often describe this as the whack-a-mole approach to services transformation. Tactics deployed to focus on the latest breakdown in our services lifecycle. A customer service revolution is occurring now and the best of breed suppliers are abandoning whack-a-mole for a more strategic and lasting approach, creating a new legacy of how customer service is/will be done. THE PATH TO BECOMING THE FIRST CALL/VISIT CHAMPS Transformation of business processes is a path well worn. Clearly you should start by understanding what good looks like. So measuring FCR/FVR in some reliable manner, and then comparing your performance data to industry benchmarks is a good place to start. Soliciting customer feedback is certainly another. And just because you may look like your peers performance-wise does not mean your

5 RTM Consulting 5 customers are happy. Looking at other related performance metrics like parts availability and reliability, technician turnover and remote solution rates can be leading indicators of how your FCR/FVR metrics will be trending. If your analysis (or customer feedback) indicates FCR/FVR is an improvement opportunity for you, then what you need is a comprehensive approach to dissecting the current operation(s) responsible for addressing customer issues on the first contact. As stated before, support processes, people and infrastructure which affect FCR/FVR outcomes are a complex set of interrelated things and rarely is just one thing the reason or root cause for underperformance. Following a framework to drive your assessment and re-engineering efforts is essential. The framework on the left represents the building blocks of a generic field services operation, and it s the various processes which underlie and connect the building blocks into a fully functional services operation. Within those building blocks are elements/tiers which underpin how first call/visit resolution is accomplished: 1) prevention, 2) triage and 3) continuous improvement (see figure 1). When we conduct an evaluation of FCR/FVR, we inspect each element or building block for the presence of/absence of the three tiers of capabilities, and interaction of those capabilities, which we believe necessary to do FCR/FVR right. In each case we compare and contrast to what we understand best practice to be, identify the gaps and build a re-engineering plan around those findings. The key here is the comprehensive nature of evaluation. While not wanting to sound like a broken record, some collection of gaps typically stands in the way of good performance. Solving for those gaps or lack of capabilities must also be thought about collectively. HOW DO I GET STARTED? Getting started begins with the desire or intention to improve the customer experience. FCR/FVR focus is a no brainer for most, and regardless of where you are at today, getting better is always possible. Thematically my biggest hope is that my advice to look at this service process in a comprehensive way

6 RTM Consulting 6 resonated with the reader. The steps are easy to explain, but certainly more work to undertake. They are: Measure where you are with real data, and backed with how customers view the experience. Most high performance teams are doing this already as FCR/FVR performance has such a large bearing on service operating costs and customer satisfaction. Benchmark/compare your business to your peer group. Figure 2: Cost per Incident Driver Tree. Source: 2015 TSIA Field Service Benchmark Benchmarking provides a data based approach to support prioritization of services transformation efforts as part of a strategic and systematic approach to improvement initiatives. As an example, the TSIA Field Service benchmark survey compares company performance against both the industry and peer groups. In Figure 2 above, a driver tree for cost per incident breaks out the various components to enable TSIA to pinpoint the largest contributor to the performance gap. Design a plan to: o Assess in further detail your current capabilities and execution performance. Important to have a framework for how you intend to structure your assessment. Too often this is done by just asking questions and looking at data - however, then aggregating the findings into something you can both communicate and do something about is a whole different matter. Assessments are sometimes conducted or supported by certain process improvement methods like a Kaizen event which is certainly valuable, provided the event is shaped around a specific framework for the service process under evaluation. A framework provides the basis for what to look for, and helps structure your investigation and outcomes in a useable form. o Define and document the gaps use of both data from a benchmark, and, inputs from observations of service process execution of the various framework elements, operations reports, and other related artifacts will help form the basis for your gap analysis. Another good thing to do here is to estimate the business value of closing the gap(s) so your ROI analysis will be fact based and support estimation and communication of needed investments for service process transformation. o Define the to-be-state use of a framework to define the building blocks and what success looks like makes it easier to communicate and collaborate. Be careful to constantly be thinking about the interrelationships of the framework elements.

7 RTM Consulting 7 o o o Create an ROI analysis justify needed change so the investment is understandable, particularly in a service function where budgets are typically tight. Build a transformation plan details, timelines and responsibilities - all the things you typically include in any important project plan. Manage change having a change management plan is a make or break element of any successful business transformation. Consider education, culture change, leadership and other elements necessary for successful change management. CONCLUSION Fundamental to the success of any product in the marketplace is the buyers perception of reliability. And while most products eventually fail in some manner, the reputation of the provider for addressing the failure quickly and affordably becomes the next consideration. This is particularly critical when the product supports some mission critical function of the buyer/user. Consistent and predictable FCR/FVR is absolutely a science with an answer, but surprisingly too many companies fail to achieve the right results in this regard. Break-through s in technology, and yes, processes, have changed the landscape of how customer service can be done. So much has changed in the last decade that the whack-a-mole approach of the past will not cut it any longer and a more holistic approach is now needed. Follow the steps defined in this paper to help your organization become first call/visit champs! ABOUT RTM CONSULTING AND THE AUTHOR Cincinnati-based RTM Consulting provides strategic and operational advice to assist technology companies with increasing revenues and margins by leveraging services more effectively. Specializing in Resource Management and Services Business Optimization, RTM Consulting helps teams responsible for professional, consulting and support services achieve the benefits associated with successful services portfolios. With its unique Just-in-Time Resourcing solution and Business Acceleration Services, RTM Consulting helps large, medium and small firms move beyond theory to practical application of industry best practices and achievement of exceptional results in the shortest possible period of time. Randy Mysliviec leads RTM Consulting, providing high impact advisory services for technology companies service businesses. Acknowledged by industry sources as an expert in Global Resource Management (GRM) and author of the Just-in-Time Resourcing brand of solutions, Randy advises multinational companies with the complex challenge of operating services teams serving the global market. He is a founding member of the Technology Professional Services Association (TPSA now TSIA - the Technology Services Industry Association) and served as a member of the TPSA Advisory Board All rights reserved.

8 RTM Consulting The Challenge Technology service providers and other human capital intensive service organizations including hardware, software and consulting companies, internal shared service organizations and outsourcing entities all know that efficient management of human capital, project processes, and other service delivery and go-tomarket related processes are key to market success. Today s challenging business environment makes running a services business highly dependent upon having lean and proven business and operational processes designed for peak performance. The Solution Our unique combination of decades of services and outsourcing operational experience coupled with solutions targeted to the services organization allow us to work with large, medium and small firms to move beyond theory to practical application of industry best practices and achievement of exceptional results in the shortest possible period of time. Contact Us: (855.RTMC555) Who We Are Company Capabilities Overview Our mission is to help consulting, professional and support services organizations get better at what they do RTM Consulting provides strategic and operational advisory services to technology companies and other industries to assist them in increasing revenues and growing margins by leveraging consulting, professional and support services more effectively. What We Do Our unique and services specific strategic frameworks and transformation models, combined with talented consultants, help accelerate time to value in everything we do to help you gain competitive advantage. We cover the entire services domain spectrum including consulting and professional services, technical support, field support, education services, managed services, and services automation tools. Some of our services include: Strategic Planning Services - We use our extensive leadership experience to help services organizations build the right strategy and operational model to make value creation and delivery a reality. Services Business Optimization - Our skilled practitioners help you identify and implement best practices necessary to transform your services business into the most efficient and effective operation possible. Resource/Workforce Management - We help you focus on Getting the Right Person in the Right Place at the Right Time with our Just-in-Time Resourcing (JITR) solutions. Project and Portfolio Management - Our unique PMO/PM frameworks will help your organization efficiently run projects on-time, on-budget, with consistently excellent quality. Channel Optimization - With a unique Shift to the Left strategy based on our advanced support model frameworks, we can help your company lower costs while improving service quality moving more support from on-site to on-call and on-line. Skills Development/Training - We enhance the soft skills of your services personnel to complement their product, business and technical knowledge with services specific curriculums in consulting soft skills, resource management and project management, services selling and more. PSA Consulting - We provide an objective third party assessment and assistance in choosing the right automation solution for your needs and assist you with implementation to achieve the benefits of your investment. Services Revenue Generation Consulting - Turning services into an engine of growth is a growing priority for every technology company. We understand how to help you better market and sell your company s solutions with more focus on value and outcomes to meet changing marketplace dynamics. How We Do It Our highly disciplined management consulting and operational services include: Rapid Diagnostics to identify opportunities to improve business performance. Implementation Services to make solution implementation fast and effective. Business Planning Services to turn your vision into a realistic operating plan. Business Acceleration Services to accelerate your time to value with RTMC solutions. Copyright All Rights Reserved.

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