7 Ways Your Techs can Touch the Customer
In order to be customer-centric, you need to learn how to touch your customers in new ways. I don’t mean physically touching the customer. That’s still against the law in most countries. No, that would cause more harm than good. I’m talking about the service technician, on the job, interacting with the customer in a positive way, creating a dialogue and a super customer experience. With the range of opportunities that the Net continuously offers, service companies have access to a whole new way of communicating with customers. By empowering your field technicians with some service-trendy apps, you can actually reach out and touch your customer in new ways.
Most service workers today are equipped with some sort of mobile device. This mobile device can act as the central touch point for customers and give the field technician the power to create a great customer experience. Here are some of our suggestions for apps that all field technicians should have in order to reach out and touch your customers:
#1 Send Alerts and Arrival Updates
Does this ring a bell? Angry woman waiting at home for 3 hours and the technician still hasn’t arrived. Angry woman even angrier when the tech does arrive after building up hours of frustration and anger. No excuse or freebie can make up for the customer’s lost time. So why even get to that point? Alerts and updates can usually pacify the customer most of the time and allow them to do their own thing until the technician arrives.
This is how our message alert system works:
Open the assignment you are late for – decide whether you want to call the customer or send an SMS – Click on the button.
Imagine how happy the customer will be when they find out they can walk the dog before you arrive? Simple things like this can make a big difference in the service world.
Funny thing about signatures, for a time in the 1980s, Steve Martin didn’t give autographs. Instead, he passed out cards that included a copy of his signature and the words “This certifies that you have had a personal encounter with me and that you found me warm, polite, intelligent and funny.” But he gave it up because “I found people didn’t quite get it.” People didn’t get the card because they wanted a personal experience.
In the service world, customers give final authority over work that has been completed with their personal signatures.
Take a look at Docusign. The DocuSign mobile app provides consumers and professionals a simple way to legally sign and return documents from anywhere, anytime, on any device. Their Enterprise application talks about engaging with customers. Exactly what we want to be doing out there in the field. They have a simple 5 step process for businesses to go paperless. In other words, sign all documents online, electronically. This is how an electronic signature looks using the Docusign app:
And this is how we capture customer signatures on our ClickMobile application:
Here’s another example of how the customer’s signature looks like in our contractor management solution. This is the proof-of-service PDF that includes pictures and signatures:
#3 Do Surveys On-Site
Customer surveys are a useful resource but they also present their own challenges. A joint study by Zoomerang and the Gallup Group (summarized in this blog and now published under SurveyMonkey) offers some incredible insights on creating and structuring surveys that can keep these problems to a minimum.
According to this study, the KISS (Keep It Short, Stupid!) methodology is one of the most important aspects of a good survey. In other words, whatever you don’t need to know, don’t ask. And make sure you have an end goal with all questions leading to this.
LRS, a company that develops integrated tools and applications that help businesses build stronger connections with customers, is very savvy about how technology is changing the customer experience. In this blog, they explain just that.
It’s about their experience, not ours
They have created an online tablet survey app that gives customers the opportunity to give genuine feedback in an easy and convenient manner. You can add in the management notification feature that instantly alerts management in time to correct a nasty situation before it gets out of hand.
In the service industry, if your techs are carrying around tablets and mobile devices, then you have a great platform for customer surveys on-site. At the same time your technician is closing the service call with the customer, the technician can simply ask the customer if he wouldn’t mind filling in a short survey. Again, keep it simple. Ask no more than 5 questions.
Another way to get a survey into your customer’s hands is to send it to their mobile device immediately after the service call. Once the technician marks the assignment as complete, an automated message can be sent to the customer asking him to fill in a short survey. Here’s what ours looks like:
#4 Upsell on the Spot
Since these are existing customers, the first thing you want to do is listen to the customer. Timing is everything here. With service technicians in the field, selling of any type should always take a backseat to taking care of the customer’s immediate needs. But once you see that the customer is satisfied, why not give it a try?
“…when handled correctly, your customer will be filled with thanks and gratitude, and positive word is even more likely to spread.”
Surveys found in this blog post in CSI (Customer Service Investigator) by the online reviews firm for help desks, Software Advice, show that 40% of customers get annoyed when approached with an upsell, but 15% of customers actually want to hear about upsell offers if done properly. Technician can be taught how to offer an upsell. Sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer talks about how to position the value of the upsell for a win-win situation:
Here are a few more tips for even greater success.
- Make sure the upsell is relevant. If the customer wants satellite TV, then don’t try to upsell the customer cable phone services. Rather on how they can get satellite TV in each room. Many customers only know about the product they bought, but if there is another relevant product or service directly related, then an simple sentence such as “Did you know….” may trigger a purchase that can benefit both customer and company.
- Make it easy for the customer. Develop a simple user interface or app that the technician can present to the customer that will allow the customer to get the product or service with a click of a button. Your developers should make sure that all the relevant customer information is connected to this app so that the customer doesn’t have to lift a finger to get the new service, not even put the credit card details in again.
#5 Have the Right Parts
The customer doesn’t care if you didn’t go to the office in the morning. But they will care if you used the last part yesterday and didn’t re-stock the van before the appointment. Customers want a first-time-fix and will expect that you have come prepared to the service call.
Having the right part in the truck may sound easy, but it can be a nightmare for field workers who don’t always go to the warehouse or office every day. Again, making sure your truck is re-stocked with the right parts for the day can be managed better with the right app on the technician’s mobile device.
When the technician gets his assignments in the morning – the app can be opened and the number of parts needed for the day’s tasks can be checked. By using the pre-defined filters, he can check what’s in the van and what is missing.
If parts need to be ordered, an order can be submitted right from the App.
And if you find yourself stuck in the field without the right part, we provide a chat app to help field techs connect with other field techs in the area. Check out this conversation that saved time and money and made one customer very happy:
#6 Get on the Cloud
In a recent report from Forrester research, a whopping 75% see the cloud as an enabler of business agility. There are many ways that the cloud facilitates the work of the field techs. I will give you the top 3 here:
1. Communicate Better – the cloud makes it easier to communicate between your employees and your customers
2. Reduce Risk – the cloud makes it easier for you to reduce the risk of experimenting with new technologies.
3. Accelerate ROI– the cloud accelerates how quickly you can deliver these benefits.
And you can read this eBook here for more information.
#7 Don’t Forget to Say Thank You
One of the best ways you can raise the bar on great customer experience is by simply saying ”Thank You”. And if you really want to go the extra mile– here’s a really good post on some simple and creative ideas on 50 ways to say Thank You to your customers.
So now it’s your turn. How many ways can your technicians touch your customers?