ClickReads: 5 Gifts Customers Want From Field Service Providers This Holiday Season
Editor’s Note: ClickReads is our weekly series of the top technology and business stories relevant to the field service industry. Check back weekly for the newest installment, or look for the #ClickReads hashtag on Twitter.
This holiday season, field service providers have the opportunity to act as Santa Claus to their customers. It’s the customer who keeps business running, which means they deserve a top spot on the “nice list.” The best gift you can give your customer as a field service provider is excellent service and a positive experience. But it takes a few steps to get there, and you need your elves (field technicians) on board.
So round up your reindeer, ready your elves, and put on your red suit. And when you’re making your list (and checking it twice), make sure you add these items to give your customers the best possible service:
1. First-Time Fixes (Every Time)
Whether their heat stops working during the winter, or their refrigerator suddenly breaks, it disrupts a customer’s day. It’s already an inconvenience to uproot their day and schedule a service appointment. They might have to take off work or rearrange their routine to fit in the service.
Imagine how irritated the customer will be if the tech doesn’t finish the job the first time and they must make a whole new appointment. Can you blame them? The Aberdeen Group found a direct correlation between first-time fix rates and customer satisfaction. Research shows customers are happier when their problems are fixed the first time.
As a field service provider, it’s your job to fix problems and make the customer’s life easier. Never leave the job unfinished.
2. Proactive Service
Imagine how pleased a customer would be if their things never broke. They wouldn’t have to experience the disaster of their HVAC system breaking or their water turning off. And they wouldn’t have to uproot their day to get it fixed.
Seems impossible, right? Not with proactive service.
With technology such as the Internet of Things and predictive analytics, field service organizations can move from reactive to proactive service. Instead of reacting to a disaster when something breaks, technology allows us to fix things before they break. You can use sensors to monitor your customer’s appliances, and keep track of their service history. And you can alert them when they’re due for service. The customers can schedule an appointment at their own leisure, because there’s less of an urgency.
Your customers don’t want to feel like a number; they want to know you care about them. If customers feel neglected, they're probably going to find another company that cares.
One way to show customers you care is by personalizing their service. It can help reduce customer churn and increase customer lifetime value. Learn their names, and keep track of their service history. Let them choose their own preferences. If they want to be contacted by phone, call them. If they only want text notifications, then text them. If their baby is sleeping, let them tell you not to ring the doorbell and wake them.
Let the customer feel in control and give them choices. In this digital era, there are multiple communication platforms customers can choose from. And research shows customers want to communicate via their preferred channels—so give them options.
4. Uberization of service
Customers today have higher expectations of customer service because of emerging technology. We have on-demand services such as Uber, where a person can catch a ride in minutes with a mobile app. And it gives us full visibility into the service because we can track the driver’s location in real-time. Now that customers know there’s technology that offers more convenient service, they will demand it everywhere.
Consider “Uberizing” your service by giving your customers a degree of real-time communication and visibility in their service. A global field service study revealed that consumers want ease of booking and up-to-date real- time communication. And they expect field service organizations to provide real-time tracking of the tech's location.
And can you blame them? No one wants to wait through four-hour service windows for their tech to arrive.
5. Friendly Techs
In field service, it’s especially important that the tech makes a great first impression on the customer. Most interactions between the customer and your company happen when the tech is onsite. If the tech is rude and unhelpful, or leaves behind a mess, the customer will probably think poorly of the entire organization.
Think of your techs as the face of your organization. Emphasize that the customer’s experience could mold their opinion of your company. And it will determine whether they return for service. Make sure your techs arrive on time, act respectfully, and finish the job.
Plus, friendly technicians could help set your service apart. Your customer may start requesting the same technician, and you can provide them with that personalized service.
In field service, customers should always be the top priority. And they deserve to be on your nice list. Make sure to give them everything they want in service– even after the holidays.