How to Transform Third Party Contractors into Brand Ambassadors
Author: Jim Delande
In today’s competitive environment, service organizations can no longer compete on price or product alone. They, instead, must work towards providing an exceptional experience. And as market trends change, we know that many, if not most, service firms rely on third party contractors for service flexibility and cost considerations. But therein lies the challenge – how do you deliver a seamless experience worthy of your brand’s name while using contractors? You must empower ALL field technicians, whether employees or contractors, to be your frontline brand ambassadors.
Managing any workforce, especially a third party workforce provides anxiety for service executives. How do you maintain quality? Will service suffer as a result of using outside agents? Will you lose visibility into the service experience?
Here are best practices supported by Aberdeen’s extensive research on customer experience and contractor management.
Real time visibility into the workforce: Customer effort is a metric which is beginning to define success for service organizations, making ease-of-interaction a key success driver. Visibility into the service team is beneficial to the customer as well as service management. Ensuring customers are informed during the service cycle goes a long way into exceeding customer expectation and keeping satisfaction high.
Automated dispatching capabilities: The ability for the service organization to schedule an appointment in a service window that is convenient, dispatch, and route a technician (i.e., in house or contracted) to a customer and ensure that this technician arrives at a customer site on time with the skills necessary to resolve the issue is still a major determinant of success for service.
Integrated mobility tools and technology: A clipboard in the hands of technicians or a whiteboard in the dispatch office no longer makes the grade in a fast moving service operation. Customers expect that the conversation / interaction they had with a service agent over the phone will not need to be repeated once a technician shows up on site. Everything must be integrated.
Take charge of quality control: Customers expect the same level of service from your organization, regardless of who provides that service. To truly succeed, your customers need the same experience from a sub-contractor as they would from one of your employees. To achieve this consistency, put a quality control process in place. While technology will provide most of these gains, it’s still wise to develop a personal relationship and clear process with all that work for your brand.