The great thing about being a facilitator at the UK Field Service Summit event last week, is that you get a chance to talk to an awful lot of experienced service people about a specific topic.

I had the pleasure of talking about Metrics that Matter with over 47 professionals over 4 round tables with a colleague from Click, Ziv Barzilay.

Thanks to all who participated. Here are my notes of what real people said about metrics. You may not agree with all the comments, but it’s great to see what other professionals are talking about. I hope you enjoy them.

Metrics that Matter – Key Points from Round tables 3rdApril 2019
The Slate, Warwick University, UK

The range of topics attendees wanted to discuss

  • Metrics for field service (including dynamic scheduling)
  • Trends in KPI’s for Service (Field Service, Tech Support and Training)
  • Metrics to manage transformation, business integration, growth, service contracts and Outcomes
  • Best practices in metrics and KPI’s for Service – what are the key metrics
  • Understand what others see as important in metrics management – especially manufacturing OEM’s
  • How to measure the balance between cost and customer satisfaction
  • How KPI’s impact behaviour
  • How to retain focus with KPI’s when we seem to manage everything
  • What is the magic KPI

Our first question – Why do we have KPI’s?

The common starting point for each Roundtable & the discussions varied significantly. Here is a taste of what was said:

  • To drive behaviour and performance improvement (Functions and Outcomes)
  • Provide data back to the customer to justify the value provided by the solution provider
  • Used to ‘join up the dots’ for the board to make decisions
  • To manage customer experience
  • Drive alignment

Comment: All the above are true, but in the end it is people who deliver and so KPI’s are about driving/influencing the behaviour of people, so that your goals whatever they might be, are achieved.

The difference between Performance Metrics and KPI’s

One attendee mentioned: I have 89 KPI’s of which only 3 matter to me.

It was observed that we have many performance indicators often driven by the IT Systems architecture that we have, which can often number hundreds. These are essential for root cause analysis but are far to numerous to drive action. Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are exactly that. The few essential metrics that will drive behaviour. Not too many to be confusing(and useless). Not too few to loose the balance of vision across your area of responsibility.

We did have a discussion for the person who wanted that critical metric.  There are some companies who combine metrics into an indices which they report on. Whist this is good for communicating a simple measure to your teams, unless properly explained, it can lead to confusion if it is not transparent what are the key drivers of performance. This is discussed more in this article on KPI’s we wrote a couple of years ago

How to select KPI’s

Many of you pointed out that as the business situation changes, so the KPI’s may change. Or that key measure change within the different levels of the business and across functional teams. To cope with what can seem to be a complex situation, many business’s layer their KPI. At the corporate level there a few critical KPI’s that are used to communicate to the whole business. Generally they cover:

  • Business Performance: revenue & cost
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Business efficiency

Then below this are departmental KPI’s and that drive the local business and then performance measures that are used for problem solving.

One of the attendees sketched out their structure for metrics. Whilst difficult to read, the fact that this business has a structure through which it has developed it’s KPI’s is a good practice to follow.

What are the KPI’s and Performance indicators that are used?

As we saw from the discussion, this is almost the same as asking “how long is a piece of string?”, as it depends on the organisation, the environment and  the business goals. But here are the one’s that attendees mentioned in the discussion. Note that there are many more that could have been included. 

We have categorised them in the 4 main areas:

  • Business Performance
    • Revenue
    • Margin
    • Total Contract Value Attachment
    • Health and Safety measure

  • Customer satisfaction
    • Net Promotor Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction
    • Contract attachment rate
    • Contract Churn
    • Network Availability
    • Uptime / Downtime

  • Business efficiency
    • First Time Fix (but can drive our behaviour)
    • Response time
    • Warranty Mngt
    • No fault found
    • Cost per call
    • Cost per customer
    • Lead tracking

Comment: For time reasons we did not have a discussion regarding leading and lagging measures. When it comes to driving behaviour, leading measures are much more effective as corrective action can be taken before a business issue escalates.

How to find the Balance between Costs and Customer Satisfaction

This was a common concern across all round tables and generally answered in the same way. That is to use a Balanced Score Card approach, where more than one measure is used to access performance, especially where measures are in tension i.e. they can impact each other. This tension helps people find the right trade-off between cost and satisfaction

If you have any questions on KPI’s you might be interested in a previous article we wrote

Or you might find this podcast that we did with Field Service News

Nick Frank is Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Si2Partners helping companies leverage services to win in industrial markets. If you have any questions on KPI’s, he can be contacted at