Customer service is emerging as the key differentiator for field services agencies in an increasingly competitive environment.
A recent survey from Service Management Online finds that 77 percent of businesses believe customers are willing to pay more money for a better level of service.
Despite this, only 42 percent of respondents offer customers specific appointment times, according to the survey. In fact, 35 percent of companies only provide non-specified appointment slots within a day.
Appointment scheduling frequently ranks as one of the biggest customer complaints when they rate field services providers.
Let’s face it, in real life, there are delays. Sometimes a technician is trying to repair equipment and it takes longer than expected.
The problem today is that without a system to automate notifications, communication will fail. Providing customers with more specific appointment times to improve customer service requires the right calendaring software tools.
Everyone understands technicians run into delays even when you add in extra time for complications. Some delays are simply unavoidable. What you can control is whether your technicians have access to your dispatching system. If so, they can key in any changes — and delays — to their schedule.
This would then notify your customer service employees to contact the customer, preferably by phone, and provide updated arrival information. That way the customer is kept informed and satisfied.
As the Service Management Online article notes, not being notified about delays is a long-standing customer complaint, so it’s crucial that companies address this problem.
Customer service is more important than ever. Companies who believe that merely providing lower costs to customers as a primary advantage are now in the minority, the survey reports.
While 51 percent of respondents identified better customer communications as the key to providing field service excellence, only 8 percent selected price as the most important element.
Source: Service Management Online, November 2012