In a time when customer loyalty is in sharp decline, service organizations need to take a customer-centric approach to field service engagement and focus on how technology can make service experiences more relevant for their customers. Positive customer experiences and meaningful customer engagement are now more critical than ever to keep customers happy, encourage them to spend more and inspire them to refer new clients.
The Age of the Consumer
Companies like Netflix, Amazon and Airbnb are reshaping customer expectations and fueling customer demands for more choice and faster response times. As early as 2014, 89% of field service customers were demanding “Uber-like” tools that could provide the technician name, location, photo and estimated arrival time. In a hyperconnected world where competition is fierce, it’s increasingly important to provide a seamless, connected and transparent service experience, after all the evidence is indisputable: there’s nothing more damaging to a company’s brand reputation than poor customer service, especially as customers are less tolerant and more vocal about bad experiences, using social media to complain.
Customer experience is so much more than just the sales journey — it’s the sum of all the interactions has with a business and its products or services, it’s about feeling heard, getting answers to questions, having problems fixed, and feeling a connection to your brand. Great customer engagement empowers customers with the information, visibility and communication tools they need to control their service experience, enabling organic revenue growth by exceeding customer expectations, improving their experience, fostering loyalty and increasing upsell potential and customer lifetime value.
The service engagement journey
Throughout a service engagement journey there are a series of customer communication touchpoints, from the time the customer initiates a service booking through to post-service follow up. During these touchpoints, customers want to feel a sense of transparency and control over the service process, and they feel more at ease with service providers who send regular updates on the status of service, via the channel of their choice, whether it be web, email, SMS or IVR.
Benefits to customers
For field service customers, this visibility and control means being able to book and reschedule their appointment via a web or mobile interface 24/7, at their convenience. Bi-directional communication prior to the service appointment gives customers an opportunity to proactively share details about the problem (data enrichment), such as the exact location, photos or special instructions, increasing the chance of resolving their issue the first time. Notifications on the day of service giving both the estimated time of arrival and the ability to track the location of the technician relative to their home in real-time, shortens the time a customer has to wait at home. In addition, giving customers information about who their service professional is and what they look like ahead of arrival, provides the customer with greater peace of mind.
Benefits to service providers
For service providers, improved customer engagement not only enhances the customer experience, it allows for greater operational efficiencies. With timely customer communication at every step of the process, calls to the call center are greatly reduced since activities that were once a heavy burden on the agents (such as responding to questions regarding technician arrival time) are automated. Verifications and reminder notifications also minimize the likelihood of costly customer no-shows and, when armed with all the customer and job information they need ahead of time, field service professionals are more likely to complete work on the first visit, in the time allotted. As soon as a job is completed, satisfaction surveys sent via their preferred communication channel, encourage customers to provide immediate feedback on their service experience.
With the right customer engagement model and supporting technology in place, field service organizations can significantly improve their customers’ experience by providing visibility and control for increased customer satisfaction, retention and improved customer lifetime value.
For more information on how your organization can improve customer engagement contact us today.