The customer is always the king, and more so in today’s challenging business environment. Successful enterprises orient their systems and procedures around customer convenience and expectations. Service businesses that cater to customer expectations enjoy 24% higher bottom-line growth compared to businesses ranked poor in matching customer expectations. A recent study proves that there will be a shortage of talent in the field service industry owing to the changing demographic scenarios; a crisis that forces field service providers to depend more on back-end automation and advanced technologies that can reduce manual labor and accelerate remote monitoring. A field service scheduling software allows you to improve your workforce productivity and streamline your business processes without hiring additional labor.
Here are the 6 ways by which a service scheduling software contributes to exceeding customer expectations.
Customers hate to wait. Businesses with service scheduling software serve more customers with limited resources and improved efficiency. The software, powered by machine learning algorithms, reduces wait times and optimizes work allocation.
When the customer makes a service request, the service scheduling software algorithm tracks the available technicians. The algorithm tracks a field personnel’s mobile location to assign them to the nearest customer. Location aside, the algorithm also considers other relevant factors such as pending jobs or any specific skills required to finish a job in order to optimize the work order allocation. Thus, the customer gets the most competent technician who can reach the site in the shortest time. The system sets narrow service windows, to reduce the uncertainty of when the technician will arrive at the site.
Read more: How Field Service Companies Can Keep Their Technicians On Time
Apart from the efficiency of the algorithm, the wait time for the customer ultimately depends on the total number of field agents available. Field service managers use the predictive analytics capability of the scheduling software to provision resources and right-size the team.
Oracle reports that cloud-based scheduling software increases daily job completion rates by 40% and improves on-time performance by 30%.
A technician not arriving at the promised time is a stain on your customer service records.
Consider a technician held up at a worksite due to a power outage or some other unexpected complication. The agent contacts the manager to update the situation. The scheduling software, armed with live data, can reschedule or reassign the upcoming tasks. The capabilities of the field service management software to pre-empt delays extend much deeper though.
Advanced scheduling software uses GPS, cameras, sensors, and other resources to track field agents. The scheduling software uses live information to estimate the time needed for the agent to complete a task and move on to the next task. The algorithm tracks the movement of the field agent and issues live updates and ETA of the field agent, to the client and other stakeholders.
Limited on-ground visibility inhibits managers and supervisors from informed decision-making. With the field service scheduling software offering improved visibility over field agent movements, managers and supervisors get the power to make proactive interventions to remediate delays or other hold-ups.
A study conducted at the Kellogg School of Management reveals how every extra second of wait time reduces the amount that customers are prepared to pay. While this study is on the fast-food industry, the same is true for field service as well. In a recent industry survey, 58% of respondents reported that being on hold made them feel frustrated.
Read more: 5 Ways to Reduce Site Visits in Field Service Operations
Today’s customers are both impulsive and impatient. They may, for instance, want a new cable connection on-the-fly. They would prefer a service provider who can deliver the service on the same day. Likewise, unless the service provider fixes an outrage within a few hours, the customer may migrate to a better service provider.
Today’s customers also expect the service provider to anticipate needs and take proactive measures. A case in point is providers reaching out to customers for annual service. Salesforce estimates that 45% of consumers will switch over to a competitor if the company does not anticipate their needs.
Scheduling software keeps track of field agents and assigns jobs fast. It also enables prioritizing jobs based on their nature and urgency. Integrating the scheduling software to your CRM enables tracking your customers with AMCs and service due.
Speed to resolution is one of the most critical customer service metrics. Fixing the problem in the first try improves efficiency and boosts customer satisfaction. No customer likes to go through the hassles of waiting for a technician, only to end up saying that he/she cannot resolve the issue.
A scheduling software does more than assigning the work order to the technician to closest the site. Scheduling algorithms consider the following factors:
Aberdeen’s research estimates that the top 20% of performing companies have a first-time fix rate of 88%, on average. In contrast, the bottom 30% of companies have a first-time fix rate of only 63%, on average. Hiring a skilled technician and providing him with the required resources to perform his jobs, will improve the first-time fix rate considerably.
High cancellation and rescheduling rates are normal in any field service scheduling. Customers have changing priorities, and may not be able to wait for a field agent at the agreed-upon time.
For a field service business, cancellations and rescheduling, especially when done at the last minute, are a drain on resources. But automated scheduling makes such last-minute changes and rescheduling effortless. The software automatically identifies a technician with a free time slot and assigns him for emergency repairs. It may reassign time-slots for low priority work-orders to fulfill urgent and critical tasks first. Doing such tasks manually is time-consuming and error-prone.
Research shows that maximizing customer satisfaction increases field service revenues by 15% and lowers the cost of service by 20%.
Repeating things is a sore point for the customer. Service scheduling software records the details of the work order, sparing clients the hassles of repeating details or explaining problems to field agents every time they initiate a conversation. The details, stored in the CRM make way for better insights and predictions for the next work order.
From the field agent’s side, revisiting the service history is their biggest challenge. 54% of agents regard it as their top challenge. With a field service scheduling software, these agents get easy access to the history of service, and other client details, including their preferences. Agents, equipped with such information, deliver personalized and high-quality service, with minimal interaction.
89% of consumers who experience poor customer service at the hands of a service provider tend to stop doing business with them. Traditional operating models focus on internal efficiencies. A modern customer-centric approach adjusts internal systems with the first priority assigned to customer’s convenience. A service scheduling software is essential for a shift to the latter.
Read more: How Field Service Automation Improves Efficiency with Reduced Costs
Field service scheduling software offers the best of both worlds: efficient and accurate digital experience along with human responsiveness and personal touch. Get in touch with us to find out how ReachOut offers both.
Sachin works as a part of the digital marketing team at ReachOut Suite. He believes in a healthy and resourceful web and does his own little contributions for the purpose by creating and disseminating innovative and quality content.
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