Salesforce’s recent acquisition of Clicksoftware illuminates an important point: Customer relationships and field service have more in common than some may think. As competition becomes increasingly fierce, building relationships and delivering the best experience for your customers becomes a way to stand out in a crowded field. Technology has enabled a level of process and transaction transparency and convenience that the customer now expects.
According to a Getapp survey, more than half of field service businesses believe meeting customer expectations is their biggest challenge. High customer expectations have companies racing to implement the latest technologies and features. But while technology, like IoT and AI, can improve service levels, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Here are the five steps your business can take to improve customer experience.
Define What Your Customer Wants
This may sound trite, but in a frenzy to meet customers expectations, businesses may rely on assumptions. It may be fair to assume that most customers want to see how the HVAC system your business provided is performing, but do they need to see all of the performance metrics? There are probably just a handful of numbers they care about. Stick to those to avoid overwhelming your customer and investing in solutions without a problem.
Establish Clear Communication Channels
Good communication is essential to setting and meeting expectations. Your customers need to know the exact pricing of your business’ service, when a technician will arrive, and who to contact when issues arise. Answer these questions: who handles requests and follows up with the customer? What channels of communication do you use? Email? SMS?
Automation goes a long way here: this could include field service software that sends automatic notifications when the technicians is on his or her way to a customer site, or AI-enabled scheduling to make sure work is distributed efficiently.
Set Your Technicians up for Success
Communicating with a dispersed workforce can be a challenge. Especially when you are sending employees to provide a service out in the field, it’s imperative that field representatives know what to expect. Your field representatives need to know why they are visiting a customer site, what tools or parts they’ll need, and what the customer’s service history is.
Answer this: How do technicians receive information on their appointments, including customer notes and the type of work that is anticipated?
Provide Service Training
Your field representatives are the face of your business when they are with a customer. Your business’ reputation, and the likelihood of being hired again, depend in part on the customer’s experience at delivery stage of your service value chain. Field representatives need to know how to explain processes and next steps, as well as be mindful of presentation. Getting this right could all go a long way in improving the experience.
Anticipate the Customer’s Needs
If your business can figure out how to anticipate your customer’s needs, it can reduce the number of crises you’re managing. This could mean increasing the frequency of equipment maintenance, or analyzing data to forecast future failures. Nest, for example, disrupted the thermostat market by adapting to the user’s preferences. It learned to improve comfort and efficiency without additional input.
Request Feedback from Customers
Asking your customers how they perceived the service your business provided could offer insights into what’s working and what’s not. Considering using a digital form the customer can fill out on the spot, or send a follow-up message requesting feedback.