Category Archive: Top Posts

Is Your Org in Tune With Customer Expectations? Probably Not—and We’ll Explain Why

The last two years were extremely difficult for the service industry—and not just because of the pandemic. While COVID-19 certainly played a role in exacerbating the issues, workforce labor shortages, complicated equipment, and increasingly reactive service were also challenges faced by many service providers. 

And yet, according to the data analyzed in Aquant’s Service Intelligence Benchmark Report, there is another overarching theme to be found: the way organizations provide service today is not in tune with customer expectations. Six million tickets later, the report reveals some key observations about service performance from the customer’s perspective. 

Our report measures data across:

  • 76 organizations, including service divisions within OEMs and third-party service organizations across manufacturing, medical devices, capital equipment, HVAC, commercial appliances, and more
  • More than 6 million work orders 
  • More than 31,000 technicians
  • $7 billion total in service costs
  • An average of 3 years of service data per company


We analyzed:

  • How service organizations and their workforce measure up against industry benchmarks
  • Why hitting your KPIs rarely equates to outstanding customer experiences
  • Why a missed First Time Fix (FTF) event leads to a spiraling negative impact
  • How a workforce shortage has exacerbated the existing skills gap between the heroes (highest performers) and challengers (lowest performers) within each organization


Here’s what we discovered:

  • Service organizations suffer from a wide customer experience (CX) gap. First Time Fix (FTF) rates are one of the biggest contributors to CX gaps, or the difference between what customers expect and what your organization delivers. Our analysis shows that companies who measure FTF rates in 7-day or 14-day windows have artificially inflated FTF rates, and are setting the stage for a wide experience gap. That’s the perfect setup for frustrating customer experiences. The moral of the story: a few metrics can’t provide the entire picture—and it’s time to look at experience as a whole.
  • The knowledge gap between heroes and challenges is becoming more expensive. In 2021, service organizations faced even larger hiring challenges than in the past. This has left the industry with tens of thousands of unfilled jobs, and caused service costs to increase. 
    • The bottom quarter of the workforce costs organizations 84% more than the top quarter. That’s 4% higher than last year. 
    • The top 20% of the workforce (service heroes) has a 75% FTF rate. 
    • The bottom 20% of the workforce (service challengers) has a FTF rate of 59%.

  • It’s possible to overcome these challenges. Your data tells a bigger story—if you know what to look for. Looking beyond your KPIs will help you tailor service for every customer, provide a better CX, upskill your team, and cut costs. 


So, what’s next?

It’s time to understand your business on a much deeper level than ever before. Download Aquant’s Field Service Benchmark Report to see how you stack up to your peers, uncover the stories that your KPI averages are telling, and start seeing your service from the customer’s perspective. 

Here’s What Your Average KPI Numbers Aren’t Telling You

At some point in time, most service organizations will receive a complaint that they likely weren’t aware of. But whether the call was the result of compounded dissatisfaction or related to a specific incident, there are ways to prevent customer escalations before a complaint arises—and it starts with taking a close look at your performance trackers. 

Your org may be using a variety of data points, including KPIs like First Time Fix Rate, Cost Per Success and Net Promoter Score, to measure the success of your products, services, and processes. But relying solely on average service KPIs can be risky: they don’t fully measure the total customer experience.

KPIs and NPS are not always what they seem, especially if you don’t have a complete look at your service landscape. It is helpful to think beyond basic First Time Fix Rate (FTFR), Cost Per Success (CPS), Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR), and Mean Time Between Fixes (MTBF) rates when looking to get an accurate snapshot of your service performance and costs. 

We can’t begin to understand how to proactively improve service performance unless we have an excellent understanding of the landscape as a whole — including everything from specific field tech performance to machine usage and breakdown rates. It all starts with establishing baseline measurements, or snapshots of your service habits and outcomes as they stand.

To form these measurements, you need to take a close look at your organization’s data, sifting through a large pool of numbers to spot hidden patterns—including areas of celebration or concern. This type of assessment can help you set priorities, determine which practices you want to keep or improve, and get you into the practice of keeping tabs on your KPIs.

When you take an in-depth look at your KPIs, you begin to spot other factors that may look like your customer is happy when they actually aren’t. For instance, imagine that one of your all-star techs retires. They have been servicing an important account for years, and KPIs indicate A+ service. A less-seasoned technician inherits the account, but due to a lack of experience, the KPIs have started dwindling and the client calls with a complaint. When you go on to review the 12-month average, you can’t pinpoint exactly where the issue is because the data is now skewed. This is where it becomes important to look at trends across the entire service period—including the time that your new tech took over—so that you can brainstorm solutions to get your account up to speed (additional training, reassignment, etc.)

“If customer focus is not at the forefront of our business on a daily basis, we put ourselves at risk of losing and jeopardizing relationships with them. It’s all about allowing service leaders to be quicker about identifying issues in the field and quicker about maximizing retention and customer satisfaction.”

— Sidney Lara, Service Principal, Aquant


Improve indicators that aren’t performing well.

Capturing data that matters can be challenging. But there is a way to keep a consistent and detailed watch on your org’s service landscape without doing any manual work or relying on an in-house team of data scientists. To innovate your customers’ experiences, you need a way to predict and prevent service disasters, like with Aquant’s Service Insights. It provides a 360-degree view of your service cycle, turns messy service data into detailed—and actionable—recommendations. There are many benefits to data-driven decision making, which ultimately helps create better customer experiences, and trickles up to improve KPIs, NPS, and profits overall. 

Take the next steps to greatness.

Do you know where your company’s current practices stand in comparison to its peers?

Find out how your service performance stacks up by taking our quick service assessment. Get actionable tips based on your results to reduce service costs, boost your CX, and become one of the top 20% of service organizations.

Service Insights, Aquant’s New AI Tool, is the Missing Link in Exceptional Customer Experiences

Service executives, do you want to see into the future and prevent customer disasters ahead of a negative Net Promoter Score (NPS) or service escalation? Aquant’s Service Insights makes that possible by doing all the complex data analysis for you.

“Historically, service decisions have been made using only a fraction of available service data. That causes blindspots into customer satisfaction and creates an environment of reactive problem-solving. If you wait until you receive a negative NPS, it’s too late,” says Shahar Chen, CEO and co-founder, Aquant. “The new normal in service requires providers to approach customers with solutions before a customer comes to a provider with a complaint.”

That kind of data-driven decision-making fosters better customer experiences and improves service outcomes. But before you can make informed decisions, you need a clear picture of what story the data is telling — and that’s been a roadblock for many organizations.

Service Insights Curates and Analyzes Disparate Data and Provides Actionable Recommendations


“We’ve worked with leading service organizations to build a powerful analytics tool that is designed for business users. Service Insights provides targeted information in the language that service leaders understand, and it does so in days, without the need for a multi-department deployment.”
— Assaf Melochna, President & Co-founder, Aquant


Service Insights is Not a BI Tool. It’s an Entire Data Science Team at Your Fingertips

Aquant delivers a 360-degree view of the service lifecycle. Unlike traditional BI tools, Service Insights is able to access more of your data, and then analyze and interpret it — without the need for a team of data scientists. Users will see immediate value following a simple deployment process. Isolated data points become descriptive and predictive intelligence presented through auto-generated reports and easy-to-access graphical dashboards. Here’s what’s possible with Service Insights:

  • Mine insights out of your (un)structured service data: Gain a deeper dimension of insight into your unstructured data with Aquant’s Service Intelligence Engine by identifying key symptom and solution data directly from customer comments, call center agent notes, field technician debriefs, and machine log files. Formerly hidden data becomes a powerful decision-making tool.
  • Generate service performance and risk models: Service Insights automatically generates trends, recommendations, industry benchmarks, and predictions based on more than 5 million service tickets from manufacturers and service providers. Leverage Aquant’s predictive modeling to create customer risk scorecards, and manage workforce performance, and training strategies.
  • Get the right insight at the right time: Need a quick summary of your business, a snapshot of customers, or an overview of the workforce before your next meeting? Aquant auto-generates easy-to-read overviews for each customer or service provider, identifying key statistics and important trends. Focus on the most critical service issues without having to dig into dashboards.

To learn more or schedule a demo, get in touch.

3 Tips to Help Appliance Service Providers Scale Quickly and Meet Demand

Appliance repair businesses are busy in 2021, and all indicators point to steady or even above-average demand lasting for the foreseeable future. Typically, high demand is great for business, but nothing has been typical about service in the last year. Many companies, especially owner-operator repair businesses, are turning customers and additional revenue away because they’re at capacity.

What challenges does the appliance repair industry face?

While industry demand has outstripped technician supply for at least the last decade, most businesses were able to manage but COVID-19 exacerbated the challenges of a sector already pushed to its limits. Some of the biggest contributing factors include:

  • A lack of qualified appliance repair technicians
  • The need to ramp up service teams quickly due to heavy demand post-COVID-19
  • Increased repairs due to heavy home appliance usage during the pandemic
  • Supply chain shortages that resulted in fewer new appliances available for purchase — consumers delayed new purchases, and older equipment requires more frequent maintenance and repair
  • Preferences for remote resolution options 

“Repair companies are triaging calls, hiring new employees and navigating backlogs from the broken supply chain for parts.”
— The Washington Post.

The in-depth article details the extent of the gap between service provider availability and consumer demand across the country.

But rapid hiring, especially when paired with a scarcity of parts, puts added pressure on service providers who are already maxed out. Sound familiar?

How can appliance service companies scale up?

With the help of technology, there are solutions to upskill a new crop of employees quickly. This ultimately makes it possible for your business to take on extra demand while still providing exceptional customer experiences.

1. Upskill the New Workforce Quickly to Slash the Skills Gap

The workforce shortage is not new. Skilled trade positions, particularly technician and engineer roles, have been the hardest to fill. There are other obstacles compounding the issues, too.

The Baby Boomer retirement wave is in full swing. Your most senior techs are leaving and taking all their repair knowledge with them.

Millennials and Gen Z employees approach work differently. The two youngest generations leave jobs nearly twice as often as their older counterparts.

This result is an increasing skills gap, and most in the industry don’t have the resources or budget to spend months or years training employees.

A better solution: Hire motivated employees with minimal appliance repair experience and quickly turn them into seasoned experts in weeks instead of years. That’s possible using technology that provides accurate recommendations with as much ease as a Google search.

How Aquant helps: Our service engine has digested and analyzed every major appliance repair manual (from OEMs including Whirlpool, Maytag, Electrolux, LG, and more), combining them with real-life best practices from veteran, certified technicians. The intelligent tool is easy enough for any member of the workforce to use. That empowers every member of the workforce to perform as well as your longest-tenured employees.

When knowledge is easier to acquire, employees can work on honing soft skills like customer service and relationship building.

2. Increase Your First Time Fix Rate

It’s easier said than done. If everyone on the team could make accurate repairs more quickly, you could take on more clients and bill for more services. Bumping up your team’s first time fix rate is challenging in the face of other demands, especially with a more junior workforce — but it’s possible.

A better solution: Make sure that dispatch diagnoses the problem correctly during the initial customer complaint call. Then provide the technician with all the relevant information before they arrive on the job.

How Aquant helps: With a click of a button, your team can access information from all the major appliance manufacturers and pinpoint the problem and necessary parts needed with a high degree of accuracy. This increases the chances of your technician arriving with the right knowledge and the right parts to fix the issue on the first try.

3. Offer Clients Remote Resolution Options

How many times is a technician sent to a job site only to arrive and find that the solution was as simple as hitting the restart button or flipping a switch? Customers don’t want to wait days for a solution that they could have fixed themselves in minutes. And your business can’t maintain wasted truck rolls in the face of a demand avalanche.

A better solution: Train customer support to resolve less complex issues during the initial customer call. Instead of having them flip through manuals or consult decision trees (which takes time and can be frustrating), give them options to triage issues in a matter of minutes using an intelligent, digital tool.

How Aquant can help: We’ve created an intelligent — and evolving — database of service information based on millions of service tickets. Using the smart triage system, your support agent walks through two to four service issue scenarios with the customer, and the tool identifies the most likely solution. If it’s a simple fix, you can guide the customer through remote resolution.

Increase the number of brands you support while scaling up.

In addition to helping your technicians solve problems faster and more accurately, Aquant is like a cheat sheet for appliance repair. With data from top major appliance manufacturers, including Whirlpool, Electrolux, GE, Maytag, and Bosch, to name a few, you have access to a pre-populated database with the information any technicians need to get the job done, regardless of the brand. Schedule a demo today.

Don’t Get Trapped in the Escalation Black Hole

Unlock historical data to solve even the most complex service problems

What happens to those service calls that can’t be resolved on the first or even second visit? It’s a question we’ve posed to service pros across the world. Unfortunately, the most common answer is that they disappear into a service black hole. While only accounting for a small percentage of all jobs, they require a disproportionate amount of resources. These seemingly unfixable issues go on for days and weeks, racking up service costs, depleting your team of its best resources as multiple team members get called in, angering customers, and keeping managers at their desks late at night. An analysis of several Aquant customers’ data found that the mean time to resolve (MTTR) increases by an average of 17 days when the issue is not fixed the first time.

Don’t blame your team

These jobs are complex anomalies that fall outside the range of everyday issues. They’ve passed through the hands of call center reps who attempted to troubleshoot over the phone, field technicians who tested machines, swapped out parts and made manual fixes, and when that didn’t work, escalated the job to senior techs and client relations managers.

Part of what makes them so challenging is that they fall outside of a straightforward model of identifying problems and making the most logical fixes ⁠— like an undiagnosed medical issue on an episode of House. Here are other reasons why stubborn service issues go unresolved:

  • Multiple problems are present, sometimes with conflicting resolution procedures
  • After repeated trial and error attempts, the job gets passed around with no clear owner
  • Today’s workforce is in flux, with a large number of junior techs who lack the tribal knowledge required to address these issues
  • When there’s no obvious solution, techs take a “shotgunning approach,” replacing parts unrelated to the root cause of the malfunction
  • Typical field service tools, like static checklists or digitized manuals, don’t work for these types of complicated scenarios that require more than a simple question and answer

However, there are ways to navigate around the never-ending escalation.

Let historical information do the heavy lifting

While frustrating, it’s unlikely that even the most complicated issues are the first of their kind. Your organization already has the information required to address the bulk of these black holes — though the data is likely hidden in plain sight, never having been cataloged or analyzed. Go beyond pulling the same old fields from a CRM and unlock your hidden service data for answers.

Think about the goldmine of information that never made it into the CRM, from handwritten job orders or technician notes to parts catalogs information and IoT messaging. Powerful AI tools can sort through these varied sources, combining information from siloed systems, then analyze and map out your service organization to find trends that translate into actionable recommendations.

Democratize tribal knowledge

While your data may do the heavy lifting, data can be misleading. Just because the data shows that 80% of the time your workforce solved the problem a certain way, does that mean it’s the best solution? Not necessarily. Quite often your top service experts, those that are the heroes of your service organization, have found solutions to the most complex problems that are not recorded in any system ⁠— hidden gems of expertise that are not shared beyond the people they interact with.

Combining the power of historical information with the input and validation of your top experts provides a comprehensive and transformative approach that can democratize tribal knowledge and avoid escalations entirely.

Empower your team with dynamic tools

Let’s chuck the checklists. Today’s complex jobs involve complicated machinery and technology that require a comprehensive skillset. A static list of suggested fixes won’t help inexperienced technicians or even a veteran team tasked with a tangle of error messages.

What does help are intelligent tools that work with your team, assisting with complex problem-solving. Dynamic systems that combine historical data with human knowledge connect the dots quickly, in real-time. In addition, the best tools can understand the intent of employee questions or searches regardless of word choice, ensuring that everyone has easy access to recommended solutions regardless of how they describe the problem. Intelligent tools get smarter over time. You can’t say that about a checklist. As you use the platform, it will learn the service language spoken by your employees and customers, and offer up even more accurate recommendations over time.

Armed with insights, technicians can solve persistent service issues and prevent the dreaded escalation black hole.