The customer journey is something every field service management business knows about. It’s the route your customers take from requesting service, straight through to a finished repair and paying the bill. Knowing the customer journey is an important part of field service management. That’s because the more you know about what your customer is going through along the journey and what path they will take, the more you can plan and optimize that journey. And that means a better customer experience.
The customer journey map should be well entrenched in your business. And you should be looking at things like field service management software to help improve the customer journey so you can deliver fast and efficient service. But there are some failures field service management businesses need to avoid as they work through the customer journey.
- Not looking at the entire journey
- Not keeping the journey up to date
- Look at the wrong point of view
- Trying to control the timing
- Using the journey map incorrectly
Let’s see what these failures look like.
Not looking at the entire customer journey
Very often, field service management only reflects the parts of the customer journey that deals with service. Before or after service doesn’t really matter to them. The customer calls in with a problem, you create the work order, dispatch a technician, complete the appointment and bill the customer. A pretty standard and simple customer journey that many field service businesses can relate to.
However, there are parts of the customer journey before the phone call is made and after the invoice is paid for that are important to monitor. Before the customer calls, you may have them under contract and could be monitoring their equipment. Or the start of the journey itself might be a difficult part of the process to even begin. How do you get those customers into your funnel of potential customers? Are you automating phone systems, using social media, online chat support bots, or on-demand services?
When the job is over, who is following up to ensure service was sufficient? A failure in the customer journey doesn’t just happen when the customer is your current customer. It can happen before or after the service call and it needs to be part of your map.
Not keeping the journey up to date
As mentioned, the journey can change throughout your business lifecycle, and it’s not always a straight line. When someone new comes in or the business takes on a new field service management software solution, it will change how the customer journeys through service. Most of the time it’s for the better, but if you’re not focused on updating your customer journey, you could be missing some key elements in your overall customer experience.
You wouldn’t go on a road trip with an outdated map, so why would you run your business with one. As you enhance specific areas of your business, such as adding mobile field service apps or new scheduling software tools, you need to update your customer journey to reflect those changes. What if with the right scheduling software your business is on-demand now? Does that not drastically change how your customers would journey differently through a service call?
Plus, when the market changes, that can also have an impact on the type of journey your customers have. Regulations change, new technology is developed, and products change all the time. And if you’re not making the changes in your own customer journey, it can be hard to forecast where your business is heading, without a clear idea of how each customer experiences your business.
Look at the wrong point of view
This seems like a no brainer, as who you should be looking at is right in the name – customer journey. The customer part is often forgotten about by field service businesses as they focus on themselves. They focus more on creating road maps for their internal processes, rather than what their customers are going through. Yes, it’s important to know how your customer will journey from first contact to invoice in your field service management software. It’s also very important to know how they got to the position of calling you, what they are doing along each step of the way and after the call is over.
How does the customer journey change if you start using mobile field service apps? Or even when deploying field service management software. A lot can change for them, especially if you are involving more automation or tools like the Internet of Things or remote assistance. It’s important to get feedback from your customers on how their experience has changed when you start adding new technology or products into your journey. Perhaps it changes it for the better, or perhaps it doesn’t, and you need to reflect harder on that part of their journey.
Trying to control the timing
One thing is for certain, you can’t control time. You can’t control every aspect of the customer journey and when the timing is going to happen. Emergency break/fix repairs happen at any moment. Customers who have preventative maintenance contracts have different timeframe expectations than those who don’t have contracts. And things don’t work on your timeline, they work on the customers.
It’s important when building a customer journey that it’s fluid enough to meet customer expectations. Don’t settle on a journey that says you will meet every service call in an hour of calling if you can’t actually make that a reality. Your customer journey will also change depending on the time of the year. When the HVAC system goes down in the middle of summer or winter, customers are going to be demanding faster timelines than the middle of spring.
Using the journey map incorrectly
Even the best GPS system can’t prepare you for construction that closes down a road. Sometimes, you need to detour. That also happens on your customer journey. Not every map is perfect and follows from point A to point B smoothly each time. And if you’re looking at a map as a straight line of point A to point B, you might be using it incorrectly.
Customers have objections, have expectations and demands that might not follow your road map. And when it doesn’t, you can either find a detour or cancel the trip and lose the customer. Most field service management businesses would prefer to keep the customer and find another route. So, plan your map with some detours in mind. Have automation tools trigger at different points so that regardless of how you get there, you are automating as much as you can in your field service management software. That way, you can deal with the bumps in the road with ease, and not shut down when the customer doesn’t stay on your planned route.
Conclusion: Prepare for all outcomes
Customers change and so too does their journey. If you stay in your own lane and static, without reviewing, offering different timelines and detours, you can expect to fail with your customer journey map. Remember, service is about the customer, and so too should their road map. It’s not about how your field service management software helps you, but rather, how it helps them. So ensure you have figured out new steps along the way with your customer on the top of your mind. And train your team on that road map, and adjust your own accordingly.