It’s cliché, but true nonetheless: staying current on trends is crucial, no matter your industry. You don't want to fall behind competitors, or miss an opportunity to innovate. In field service management—and in most other industries—one of the biggest trends today is enhancing customer experience.
This is no surprise considering the transformative effect social media, new mobile devices, and increasing numbers of on-demand services like Uber have had on everyday life for consumers. Take, for example, the backlash United Airlines is currently facing after a video of a passenger being dragged off one of its planes went viral and was picked up by the national news media.
In the outrage that followed, many accused United’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Oscar Munoz, as being “tone-deaf” in his response. Twitter users called for a boycott, and investor sentiment nosedived by more than 70 percent, resulting in the airline’s stock crashing by more than six percent before recovering.
Social media users pointed out the irony that just a month before this incident, PRWeek honored Munoz with its Communicator of the Year award. Obviously, the cost of this customer experience failure has been significant for United Airlines.
Communication is the cornerstone of excellent customer experience, and this incident serves as a reminder that even communication rock stars must be more vigilant.
With that in mind, here’s a list of 10 books and quotes that will help you flip the switch on your field service customer experience game.
1. Amaze Every Customer Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering the Most Amazing Customer Service on the Planet
“Rock-star brands many come and go, but brands that are ‘rock solid’ stay around.”
Author Shep Hyken
In this book, bestselling author and customer service expert Shep Hyken provides practical, common sense tips for treating customers with care. He drives home that the true bottom line in business is caring for your customers rather than focusing on profits. After all, without our customers we wouldn’t have businesses at all.
Hyken provides a multitude of tips on how to treat customers with care in field service. But take note that igniting a culture of customer care within your organization is just as important.
“Never outsource your core competency.”
Author: Tony Hsieh
A lot has been written about Zappos and its CEO, Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay). In Hsieh’s 2013 book about his company’s “happiness” philosophy, he shares how he has applied the science of happiness to ensure a positive work culture for the company’s employees. This stems from the idea that satisfied employees lead to happy customers and healthy profits.
“An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.”
Author: Brian Solis
In this book, Brian Solis demonstrates that in an always-on world where everyone has access to literally any information they desire at the click of a button, customer experience is more than an important topic. Instead, customer experience is quite literally your brand. Without defining experiences, brands risk becoming victim to whatever others share about their organizations. In this book, Solis shares how to design meaningful and uniform brand experiences by leveraging the principles of Human-Centered Design, empathy, and more.
“The winners in today’s highly competitive service markets succeed by continually rethinking the way they do business, by looking for innovative ways to serve their customers better, by taking advantage of new developments in technology, and by embracing a disciplined and well-organized approach to developing and implementing services marketing strategy.”
Author: Jochen Wirtz
This book offers a comprehensive look at services marketing and management through academic evidence, including case studies, best practices, and the latest trends from around the world. While this text is frequently used in academic settings, it bridges the gap to industry application advice seamlessly. Readers will learn everything from how to manage customer interfaces, to developing processes for building a world-class service organization.
This is a truly comprehensive book for the aspiring services guru.
Author: Theodore Kinni
Turning to Disney for field service experience insights may not seem intuitive at first blush, but Disney truly sets the gold standard.
In this book, much of the focus is on how to create compelling environments. In it, field service managers can learn how to develop holistic customer service principles, build effective delivery systems, and integrate those delivery systems and customer service principles to build a compelling environment for your service customers.
“Break all the rules of traditional thinking to respond quickly and effectively. We recommend you transform your service people into salespeople. After all, they are the ones talking to your customers every day about equipment.”
Written for the field service industry, this book provides easy-to-implement solutions field service managers can use to tackle day-to-day challenges and increase customer loyalty.
The book features real-world insights gleaned from interviews with global manufacturing and field service executives. Overall, it helps readers make the mind shift from seeing service as a “necessary evil” to a huge world of profit opportunity. Filled with dozens of on-the-job insights, this book is a must-read for any service professional.
“Any company that gets so complacent it thinks everything is ‘fine’ deserves to go out of business—it literally means its leaders have stopped caring. A competitive company is always on the offense. Always. Always. Always.”
Author: Gary Vaynerchuk
This is more than a how-to-excel-at-customer-service advice book. “The Thank You Economy” dives into what defines and drives successful relationships between businesses and their customers. The author uses his own business experiences, case studies, and statistics to demonstrate how to harness the power of “old-fashioned” word-of-mouth marketing through contemporary methods, such as social media, and the Internet at large.
“If your organization requires success before commitment, it will never have either. Part of leadership (a big part of it, actually) is the ability to stick with the dream for a long time. Long enough that the critics realize that you're going to get there one way or another ... so they follow.”
Author: Seth Godin
This book from prolific business advisor Seth Godin will help you re-think what leadership means. This extremely motivating book will help service leaders find their passion, and uncover the “why” of customer service with both customers and peers alike.
“For individuals’ behavior to change, you’ve got to influence not only their environment but their hearts and minds. The problem is this: Often the heart and mind disagree. Fervently.”
Author: Dan & Chip Heath
Now that you’re ready for change, how do you make it happen? You want to turn the corner, and ignite amazing customer experiences, but you’re struggling to gain momentum at your organization. You’re not alone. In fact, implementing change is the hardest part.
In this book, prolific business writing brothers Dan & Chip Heath uncover methods for inspiring change, whether it’s a bad eating habit, or dated culture around the customer experience. If you’re looking to win the hearts and minds of both your customers, and your co-workers, this book is a great place to start.
“Field service engagement can serve as the connective tissue between technology and customers. It’s the human side of field service that stands to reinvigorate trust, care and quality in our increasingly technology-driven industry.”
Written specifically for field service professionals, this ebook offers actionable steps to take your customer experience techniques to a whole new level.
The book dives deep into how to disrupt the status quo at your organization through four key steps. The journey starts by unearthing customer needs, and ends with a dedication to continually improving the customer experience to meet the constantly evolving customer technology landscape.
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