The latest field service management trends have customer experience as one of the most important issues facing the industry. Customer satisfaction is something field service leaders are putting first in their organizations. According to Gartner, by 2020, 70% of organizations will cite it as the primary reason to implement field service software. Whether you call it satisfaction, engagement, or experience, the emphasis moving forward is on the customer.
Studies have shown that putting more focus on customers pays off. According to Deloitte, organizations that score higher on customer satisfaction are 60% more profitable. They have lower levels of churn and increase revenue in referral clients. And according to CMO, 86% of consumers say they would pay more for a service if they received superior service. Because of that, more field service organizations are focusing on the customer experience moving forward.
Throughout the field service customer journey, there are plenty of customer experience moments. Frustrated customers are waiting for requests to be answered and equipment to be fixed. They have high expectations and want superior service through every step of the process. They want their frustration to be reduced, problems to be fixed, and have it all done quickly. Let’s walk through the customer journey and see how field service management affects the customer experience.
Step 1: Identifying the Problem
The start of the entire customer journey begins with a problem. Customers are frustrated, as something isn’t working properly and needs to be repaired or replaced. At this point, the customer is trying to diagnose their own problem to figure out the service they need. Because of this, they can be left with more questions than answers, making them even more frustrated.
The customer hasn’t reached out to their field service provider and, already, there is a chance to offer superior service. Internet of Things (IoT) is offering the ability to remotely diagnose equipment. Field service management is moving towards IoT for predictive maintenance for this reason. After all, the best way to keep a customer happy is to identify problems before they occur. By being predictive, customers can avoid frustrating break/fix repairs because their field service management team is monitoring their equipment. You may be able to calm a customer down quickly by having answers to their questions. Efforts have already been made to diagnose and fix the issue before a technician is even sent on site.
Step 2: Making a Service Request
When a customer has decided they need to make a service request, there are plenty of opportunities for frustration to increase. Long hold times, hard-to-navigate systems, or the inability to find a phone number lowers a customer’s opinion of your organization. Not every customer wants to use a phone system to request service. Some would enjoy a customer portal to sign in and make a request. Some prefer emails, phone dialing system, or texting communication.
The best field service management teams offer more options to their customers, make it easy for customers to request service, and have quality people on the other end. If you have a call center, remember this is the customer’s first interaction with your business. Make it a good one. With field service software, your call center agents have service history in front of them. Because of that, they can access a customer’s service history, equipment warranty, and contracts and maintenance agreements. They can spend less time gathering addresses and general information and more time diagnosing a problem.
Step 3: Waiting for Service
With service requested, customers now have to wait for a technician to arrive. The problem still isn’t solved, and now the waiting game begins. No customer wants to hear the dreaded 9-to-5 timetable, where a technician will show up any time during the day. That can leave customers getting more frustrated that their time is being wasted waiting for someone to arrive.
With field service software, scheduling and dispatch modules will help reduce customer stress. Rather than giving them an open window, give them a smaller timeframe by knowing your technician’s full schedule. Dispatchers can reduce travel and administrative times for their technicians and get them to service calls quicker. Being late for a service call is the single most frustrating thing for customers and what will make them look elsewhere for service. Provide as much visibility to your customers, alert them when changes happen, or when technicians are on their way. If you ensure that help is on the way at a specific time, it will greatly improve their experience with your organization.
Step 4: Service Being Performed
The face-to-face meeting may be the most important interaction in the field service customer journey. It is the direct interaction between the customer and the technician, and possibly the only face-to-face with your brand. Because of this, field service management teams have looked at soft skills, such as customer service and sales skills in new technicians. After all, wrench skills can be taught, but customer service skills are hard to learn.
This is also the stage where you want to give your technicians all the tools they need to succeed. With a field service software, technicians can access service history, contract information, and parts and inventory from a mobile app. Rather than needing to call the head office for information, it’s all on their field service mobile app. This helps improve first-time fix rates, along with dispatchers sending out the proper technicians with the right skills. Customers don’t want to hear that a technician can’t find a solution and needs to return later. Give them the tools they need and a chance to find a solution on the first visit.
Step 5: Customer Evaluation
With the repair completed, the post-service call is when the customer will evaluate the service you provided. Was it on time? Was the technician experienced enough to find a solution? Did they have the parts they need? Were they friendly and empathetic to your frustrations? And perhaps the most important question, would they use your service again?
When we talk about the customer experience, what we’re talking about is essentially a great evaluation. You want your customers to think highly of your service and want to call you again. But also, you want them to leave good reviews, recommend you to friends, family, and on social media. You will need a way to track customer feedback, which can be done through a phone or email survey. This is how you can track your customer experience and see where your field service management team needs to improve.
Field service software will be able to help your experience with customers and earn great evaluations. With a focus on their experience, you will see greater revenue growth, more referrals, and more contracts. Your service department will also need to be working at peak efficiency to meet the demand. With a field service software powering your service department, you can ensure your customer’s needs are being met, and that they have a great experience with your organization.