Key Features of Mobile-Enhanced Customer Service
Author: Kerry Doyle
Field service organizations are adopting mobility to achieve more effective customer service and to differentiate themselves from the competition. That’s because planning and deploying technology-driven solutions can provide a significant return on investment (ROI) in a relatively short amount of time. Moreover, mobile-based field technicians can access capabilities that make them vastly more efficient than workers who lack mobility.
These tools include instant data access, video collaborations, real-time asset management, GPS logistical support and more. Based on a recent report from The Service Council (TSC) entitled, “Service Transformation: The Business Case,” nearly 60 percent of field service organizations believe that service and support will be the top source of competitive differentiation within three years.
However, once an organization starts to build more effective outreach through mobility, it’s important to address key components. These critical areas of technology-driven customer service extend to integrated scheduling, fleet management, Social Media use, real-time customer intelligence and customer engagement via multiple channels.
Moreover, by taking a proactive rather than reactive approach to customer service, organizations can create enduring business relationships that ensure customer loyalty. For example, a well-equipped mobile technician with instant access to customer data can turn a typical service call into an up-sell opportunity. The resulting consumer equipment upgrades and improvements often lead to more satisfied customers, incremental revenue increases and word-of-mouth recommendations.
In addition, real-time fleet scheduling, GPS mapping and up-to-the-minute logistical information further reinforce the perception of field worker efficiency and effective customer service. In addition to the topics covered below, making an effective transition to a mobile-enhanced environment requires organization-wide commitment, cross-department information sharing and executive-level support.
Superior customer service based on efficient dispatching can make an organization stand out. Integrated Scheduling makes possible smaller service windows (two vs. eight hours), a higher percentage of on-time visits and more responsive field technicians.
Essentially, it draws upon and incorporates organization-wide data that’s instantly accessible to optimize field service response. In many instances, automated routing solutions and robust appointment scheduling can maximize efficiency. Such mobile-connected solutions enable dispatchers and administrators to respond to unexpected events while minimizing interference with ongoing field service dispatching.
Mobile-enabled fleet management handles the challenges posed by the highly variable time and resource requirements regularly encountered in field service. It includes deploying the correct equipment, knowing asset status and location, and making sure each element is in the right place at the right time.
Fielding the right equipment and technicians as well as effectively maintaining assets can eliminate a range of minor issues that impact service guarantees and success rates. Real-time mobile updates can extend to a range of areas, including machinery and vehicle mainte-nance, technician availability, parts inventory, job status and dispatching conflicts. Once a mobile-enabled solution is in place, it offers the potential for automation and a wealth of ac-curate data that’s easily accessible to a mobile workforce.
Social Media access functions in two ways. In terms of customer experience, Social Media provides a means to monitor how consumers perceive an organization’s service competency. More advanced data analysis tools can even quantify that response, providing benchmarks and measurements to improve customer ratings. Such mobile-related solutions and tools can help manage, and keep track of, company interactions along each step of a customer’s jour-ney, from discovery to purchase and service.
Conversely, field service technicians often employ Social Media to maintain contact with other field technicians or to collaborate using a variety of SM platforms and tools.
Mobile adoption helps field service organizations to define and capture customer data to a useful degree of granularity, and then make certain information available to its workforce. While Customer Intelligence is not a substitute for strategy, it makes possible a new level of customer service responsiveness based on informational awareness.
Often, in large field service organizations the sheer amount of gathered consumer-focused information can complicate decision-making. Today, nearly every customer that field service organizations encounter relies on a smartphone or mobile device. A range of IT-managed tools, such as Customer Experience Analytics (CEA), can span many divisions and geographies to produce comprehensive consumer profiles. Providing field service teams with easily accessible, accurate client data can help them to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, further differentiating an organization from its competitors.
Multiple Channel Customer Engagement
Today, it’s common for mobile users to rely on multiple devices (handset, tablet, laptop, etc.) as well as to access a range of Social Media platforms. For field service organizations that have adopted mobility, increased opportunities exist for reaching out to those customers.
In addition, customer expectations are constantly changing in dynamic and fluid ways. Multiple Channel Customer Engagement offers a way for organizations to stay current with, or even predict, consumer attitudes and responses. This can include monitoring feedback, offering rewards programs, responding to criticism and incorporating customer analysis to improve overall field service response.