First-time fix rates have become a badge of honour for catering equipment service providers.

Understandably, providers are proud of their ability to get the job done quickly, and right, the first time and so it has become a key marketing tool in its own right.

But with no regulations to govern such figures, there is nothing to stop providers from exaggerating their first-time fix rates to appear more endearing to prospective customers. How much of a problem is this for the industry?

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“It is definitely a concern for professional providers of catering equipment maintenance,” said Graham Skinner at Serviceline.

“However, operators are advised to check with their peers as to which company provides the best level of customer support in terms of first-time fix of their equipment. Operators know from experience who offers a good service.”

That stance is echoed by others in the market who claim that companies inflating their first-time fix rates will invariably be sniffed out.

National accounts and large chains, in particular, often implement detailed reporting systems, sometimes via facilities management companies, for the outlet managers, which once collated can quickly identify issues with service, technical expertise and first-time fix results.

“The industry relies on the service provider to be trusted in the delivery of service,” agreed Nationwide Catering Engineers’ Mark Reid.

“Any provider exaggerating this will very quickly be highlighted by their customers due to feedback from site.”