In IT Service Management (ITSM), the ‘first-time fix’ rate often takes the spotlight as a key metric. Indeed, some outsourced IT contracts over the years have incentivised suppliers to deliver high and increasing incident first-time fix performance.
However, let’s explore a different perspective: why a low ‘first-time fix’ rate might be better in incident management. By prioritising root cause resolution, ITSM practitioners can uncover hidden opportunities for improvement and elevate their incident management practices.
Understanding the limitations of ‘first-time fix’
The ‘first-time fix’ rate represents the percentage of incidents resolved without further escalation or rework. While a high ‘first-time fix’ rate is often desirable, solely chasing this metric can overlook the importance of addressing the root cause of incidents. By fixating on closing incidents quickly, we risk perpetuating a cycle of recurring issues, which leads to frustrated users and inefficiencies within the IT support team.
Unleashing the power of root cause resolution
Instead of focusing on a high ‘first-time fix’ rate, ITSM practitioners should embrace a low rate as an opportunity for growth and improvement. By prioritising root cause resolution, we can address the underlying issues contributing to recurring incidents and create lasting solutions.
Consider a scenario where a user experiences frequent application crashes. A technician could quickly restart the application to achieve a high ‘first-time fix’ rate. However, a low ‘first-time fix’ rate would encourage the technician to investigate further, uncovering that the crashes are caused by compatibility issues with a specific operating system update. By addressing the root cause – updating the application to support the new OS version – the technician resolves the current incident and prevents future occurrences for other users.
Benefits of a low ‘first-time fix’ rate
A low ‘first-time fix’ rate signifies a commitment to long-term stability. Investing time and effort into root cause resolution minimises the chances of incidents reoccurring, resulting in improved user experience and reduced workload for the IT support team.
A low ‘first-time fix’ rate fosters a culture of continuous improvement within the ITSM team. It encourages technicians to dig deeper, analyse trends, and identify systemic issues that require proactive measures. This approach leads to more robust systems, enhanced service delivery, and increased customer and employee satisfaction.
Learning and Knowledge Sharing
A low ‘first-time fix’ rate prompts knowledge sharing and collaboration among the ITSM team. By encouraging technicians to document their investigations, findings, and solutions, we create a knowledge base that benefits the entire organisation. This shared knowledge empowers team members to develop their skills and capabilities, improving incident resolution and fostering innovation.
While a high ‘first-time fix’ rate is often considered ideal in IT incident management, embracing a low rate can unlock the power of root cause resolution. By prioritising thorough investigations and sustainable solutions, we create a culture of continuous improvement and drive meaningful change within our ITSM practices. A low ‘first-time fix’ rate signifies our commitment to addressing underlying issues, enhancing user experience, and propelling our organisations towards greater efficiency and success.