How many field technicians does it take to service, say, a hospital CT scanner, or HVAC equipment in a high-rise? A surprisingly large number of field service organizations don’t really know. According to Aberdeen Group, 17 percent of service firms don’t measure or aren’t even aware of their “first-time fix” performance rate — that is, how effective they are at tackling a service problem or issue on a given call.

Aberdeen’s Field Service 2013: Workforce Management Guide further reveals that 25% of all service calls aren’t resolved on the first visit, and some not even on the second.  And of course, that’s a costly oversight — the need to dispatch field techs a second or third time adds an estimated $200-$300 in operating costs per visit. In a larger service organization with 100 added calls per year, that’s a whopping $25,000 slashed from the bottom line.

Added service calls can also wreak havoc and disrupt successful service with other clients and jobs — forcing cancellations and the like. The lesson here? The study shows that field organizations that can hit an 80 percent first-time fix rate for clients saw 6.5 percent boost in service revenues over the previous 12 months, while those that didn’t only gained an extra 1.6 percent.

What can your organization do to clean up this costly act? Here are three basic strategies to consider:

1. Get the Right Parts to the Right Job

The top reason that hinders field technicians from a “first time fix” is unavailability of parts, which causes 51 percent of second or third visits.

2. Train Your Techs to Handle the Task

Lack of experience and training to resolve customer issues is another achilles heel of field service — 25 percent of second and third visits can be traced back to inexperience.

3. Be on Time

This is the cardinal sin of field service. No surprises here, either: 13 percent of second and third visits were caused by technicians running out of time needed to complete the task.