Customer service can make or break any enterprise in today’s highly challenging and competitive business environment. A pressing question before field service managers today is how to maintain sufficient customer satisfaction levels in such an environment. According to studies, around 32% of field service organizations fail to attain 80% of customer satisfaction.
All the best-laid plans and expertise come to naught if on-the-spot execution is improper. Often, field technicians at the customer end usually remain helpless owing to limited access to customer service history, knowledge of parts or repairs, and other maintenance data.
The ability to access service data, check stock, take surveys, generate bills, tap into the knowledge base, all at the right time, is priceless to ensure smooth operations, and by extension customer satisfaction. A strong linkage between field service technicians and in-office expertise, or between the technician and the customer, is equally critical to ensure service is not degraded.
A robust field management software, with offline capabilities, and a strong collaborative component, is essential to ensure smooth and seamless operations and to delight the customer. Push alerts, live chat options, version control depositories, and more all go a long way in ensuring optimal service.
Efficiency and dynamism, the two overriding values of the day, has inflicted most customers. Today’s customers place a high demand on speed and proactivity. They value businesses who are proactive in their dealings, and who do not make them wait.
A proactive field service model delivers fast and quick service and often preempts the need for service in the first place. Such a model identifies logjams, and address all issues proactively, without waiting for the customer to make a request. For instance, an ISP provider identifies line outages as soon as it occurs, and communicates the same to the customer, with an expected time of resolution.
Such a prompt and proactive action would almost certainly mitigate the annoyance caused by the outage. Rather, making the customer call support and putting them on hold for minutes on end until a free agent gets back further magnifies the discontent.
Smart businesses also offer detailed information on the product and maintenance upfront to the customers, in the form of easily digestible infographics, visual media, and more, thereby pre-empting the need to contact customer service for clarification. When the need to contact customer service does arise, they have a smooth and seamless system in place, with consistent omnichannel engagement strategies.
Excellent customer service requires responding to changing circumstances fast. Field service technicians encounter numerous unpredictable situations such as a piece of equipment that got suddenly stalled, overheated, or malfunctioned unexpectedly. Delighting the customer depends on not just how quickly the technician reaches the spot to resolve the issue, but the extent to which he improvises to fix unexpected issues.
Many field service enterprises make the mistake of straitjacketing technicians with a strict set of protocols and processes. Flexibility requires empowered technicians, who can work around norms to resolve issues on-the-spot.
Another dimension of flexibility is allowing customers to schedule appointments based on their convenience and availability. A robust field management suite with Artificial Intelligence algorithms automatically syncs such requests to the technicians’ and manager’s calendar as well as the inventory management system, creating a seamless system centered around the customer.
Today’s customers are highly knowledgeable and prefer to do things on their own if they can do so. Offering avenues for self-service instead of putting them into unnecessary wait queues add to customer satisfaction. Instruction videos, Augmented Reality annotations backed by remote assistance, or even a set of carefully curated FAQs help customers resolve basic issues by themselves.
A robust customer service portal, allowing customers to choose from a series of self-service options also help.
Transparency is the best route to customer delight. A robust system of communication, where each stakeholder is provided with real-time information relevant to them boosts efficiency and customer satisfaction greatly.
Give field service technicians’ access to all the required tools, information, and insights, allowing them to respond to service needs without losing the context of the job. Deploying well-equipped and informed technicians increase first-time-fix rates, speed, consistency, and efficiency of service execution. Likewise, offer supervisors and managers the visibility required for resolving glitches, and addressing staffing issues proactively. Offer customer-facing staff a complete view of the customers, including a history of purchases and services.
At the customer end, the success of business models such as Uber and Amazon, which offers live tracking of vehicles or packages, tends to increase customer expectations. A field management system offering live tracking of the technician, with the ETA optimized for traffic conditions, goes a long way in assuring the customer that service is on the way.
A seamless and consistent experience across multiple touchpoints is essential to retain the customer, let alone delighting them. Today’s customer expects 24/7 service, across any channel – be it through a website, email, chat, social media, text, or anything else, at their whim.
The onus is on the service provider to deliver a consistent omnichannel experience, designed around the customer’s expectations.
Delays in repairs are a sure shot way to create customer dissatisfaction. Every moment of delay cause operational outages and by extension lost revenue for the client. Idle equipment cost millions in opportunity costs, especially in sectors such as oil and gas.
The solution is automation, which increases both speed and accuracy. Even when enterprises appear to have streamlined their processes, systems running on manual processes often deliver wrong information. The fallout includes poor coordination, long response times, and delayed problem resolution, all resulting in increased costs and degraded customer satisfaction. Automation brings down manual interventions, meaning fewer errors, and hence better service. Better service means better customer satisfaction.
A field service suite, co-opting the latest technologies to automate field service tasks such as scheduling, inventory management, billing, and more is now not just a good tool to improve efficiency, but also a valuable source of customer satisfaction and competitive advantage.
However, good customer care does not mean purging human interaction for every customer contact. Human touch still works wonders, especially at the customer-facing end. The trick is to empower humans with powerful data.
No two businesses are alike. Smart enterprises customize their services, keeping in mind their unique business proportions and customer preferences. Enterprises keeping the customers first in everything they do, and willing to adapt their systems and processes to suit customer preferences, tend to achieve more success.
Our field service management software is also customized keeping in mind the increasing demands and preferences of your customers. To learn how ReachOut Suite can help you enhance your customer experiences, contact us today!