How service businesses can leverage mobility for improved customer relationships
Guest Blogger: Diabsolut Field Service Management
Mobility is now a key part of our lives. Smartphones and tablets have disrupted a lot of industries by creating new opportunities to interact with customers, and it is important for service brands to realise and capitalise on the engagement opportunities that exist.
Customers expect businesses to understand and use this new way of consuming and communicating. This shift in mindset spans groups of customers, who are evolving in an always-changing environment, always connected and on the move. These are customers that sit in cafés and eateries and want to be able to schedule their IPTV installation, their annual furnace checkup and order a new jacket or sweater that caught their eye when out with friends last night, all at the same time and all from their tablet or smartphone.
To fulfill these expectations, service businesses have to change the way they’re communicating with these customers. The benefit to the customer will be a more personalised approach that will make their lives easier, resulting in increased interaction for the brand. By using simple methods, thinking as a customer and considering mobile as a context and not as a channel, service businesses can create a strong and efficient bond with their users, and improve customer relationships through mobility.
Some tools and methods that service businesses can leverage to improve customer relationships through the use of mobility are:
Make sure the mobile presence is informative
Today’s mobile customer discovers more about the products and services they want and the companies they are interested in by browsing online sites. If a service business’s mobile presence is lacking functionality in terms of easy-to-find, important information, then customers will quickly grow frustrated and leave the company site in search of another, possibly a competitor.
Service businesses must ensure the site states exactly what services and products are offered and what mobile tools are available to assist in the customer experience. The experience should feel intuitive for the customer; important information such as products or services for sale, respective features, details and contact information must be easy to find. Customers don’t want to have to search through multiple pages to try and find a phone number or email address.
It might also help for you to create an FAQ page as a resource for customers, with answers to several common questions such as return policy info, warranty information, shipping and handling policies, or any other pertinent information related to the business. Making things as transparent as possible can contribute greatly to improved customer relations.
Engaging the customer
By giving customers the chance to interact with and engage the business, a service company increases its brand recognition. Engagement can be solicited through tools and services such as customers booking a service or installation call for a new product (gas stove, home security system or windows). Examples include a live chat function for detailed help. Encourage responses on social media, and ask for reviews and feedback.
Feedback and engagement are contagious; when one customer sees that several others have responded, they will be more inclined to do so themselves, and subsequently others will follow.
Service businesses should actively listen to reviews and feedback in a constructive manner, so that they can learn how the business can improve customer relations. It also helps to respond to questions and reviews in a timely manner, so that customers can see that the company values their opinion, cares about whatever issues they may have and is willing to solve them in a positive manner.
Managing the customer
Getting an appointment can be a key milestone in a service business’s customer relationship; however, turning an appointment request into an effective meeting is not always simple. People often forget their appointments if it’s not that important for them, or if it was done impulsively. The best way to avoid this is to enact mobile reminders, through email, SMS and push notifications. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a pick-up, a delivery or a service call, sending a reminder a couple of days or a few hours before the appointment is a good way to reduce your “no show” rates.
Most mobile devices automatically detect dates in messages (email & SMS), so it’s important to integrate dates into your messages, to facilitate the integration of appointments into the smartphone or tablet calendar and benefit from the reminders directly to the mobile device.
More often than not, a customer will have registered their email with companies they frequent or may be interested in so as to receive messages about upcoming sales and promotions or other company related information. With their email on your list, you can improve customer relations by sending them personalized emails. This can be anything from a special promotion for customer loyalty to a customer anniversary reward discount. This goes a long way toward securing customer retention. Customers like to feel as if they are appreciated by the company they choose to do business with.
Leveraging mobility improves customer relationships and satisfaction
Leveraging mobility to improve customer relationships does not just benefit the service business’s bottom line; customer satisfaction leads to improved brand recognition and customer loyalty.
About the Author
Sustainable field service technology implementations demand a comprehensive understanding of real- world operations, a well-defined and manageable plan, and deep technical expertise. Drawn from the industries we serve, our accredited, experienced professionals focus first on understanding our clients’ strategic business needs. We understand operational, technical and executive level concerns and recognize the uniqueness of each engagement. Our collaborative approach elevates workforce management efficiency significantly, leaving your organization more knowledgeable and well prepared to meet future challenges as they arise. Visit us at diabsolut.com/fsm