FIXit commits to speeding up responses

The University’s FIXit system will begin giving students status reports of their facilities requests and release a mobile-friendly website this fall in response to student complaints that the maintenance service falls short on communication.

Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia Knight said the repair service is rolling out upgrades to help students keep tabs on the progress of their work requests through mobile updates or email notifications. The website will also help set students’ expectations for the completion of their maintenance needs, based on recent response time for similar requests.

“Through focus groups, students have shared that they put in their FIXit ticket and then they don’t know what happens until they get a hang-tag on their door and it says it’s done,” Knight said. She added that her office hopes to bridge that gap “so that students understand that their service tickets are important and we’re working on it.”

The changes come at a time when FIXit is receiving a larger call volume: Maintenance crews have already responded to 1,300 more calls compared to this time last year, though Knight declined to provide a breakdown of total request numbers or specific data, like completion rates for emergency and non-emergency requests.

“I have some concerns about providing data at a level of granularity that is not the way that we use it and/or set the service standard that we want to talk to the community about,” Knight said. “I have to decide what do I think provides the best representation and how can I measure it in a way that’s consistent with what we do internally.”

The office will also add resources to help students handle their own basic maintenance issues, after an eight-student focus group weighed in with top administrators.

FIXit crews began using iPod touches to report ticket statuses or work requests last year as part of technological upgrades, and also extended work hours during fall move-in.

As of March, work crews completed 76 percent of FIXit requests within five days this year, up from 71 percent last year.

The overhaul also aims to reduce the number of requests handled by maintenance crews by offering self-help tips on the FIXit website to encourage students to resolve issues such as basic plumbing problems. Nearly a third of plumbing work requests – which topped the leaderboard of FIXit categories – involved clogged utilities, Knight said.

Self-help information would help students take care of “the types of things that you would do in your home,” she said.

Students interviewed gave FIXit mixed reviews. Some said their work requests were swiftly resolved, while others took days and weeks of calls.

“They are really slow,” sophomore Brendan McLellan, who lives in JBKO Hall, said. “They’ve been quick with me just because I’ve been a pain in the ass.”

He said he pestered the maintenance service multiple times to get work done this year. Like fellow JBKO resident Dahlia Amade, McLellan said his air conditioner issues were resolved within a few days, but bug and pest infestation issues took weeks.

In addition to general upkeep and proactive maintenance work, facilities crews responded to more than 55,000 calls last academic year, 72 percent of which occurred in residence halls. Students in Ivory Hall, followed by those in City and Thurston halls, generated the most maintenance requests.

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