Steve Smith | 04.25.16
Summary >

In its most recent move to touch nearly every aspect of consumer life, Amazon announced a big retail partnership with Comcast to make the trio of Xfinity services available through its newly minted Amazon Cable Store. The benefits for Comcast are clear – gain a new sales channel in arguably the largest online marketplace in the world, and leverage Amazon’s well-honed chops at online experience to simplify the front-end of every transaction.

In the earliest days of the deal, we are already seeing what happens when the experience of purchasing does not line up with the customer experience after the sale. The Comcast page on Amazon already has about 100 reviews; and 85 percent of them are critical, many of them mocking and full of contempt. This embedded negative perception only heightens the uphill battle Comcast faces as it works to stretch the “storefront” experience improvements through to in-home delivery and set-up.

To be fair, most of the Comcast-bashing comes in the form of customers feeling they were overcharged, or suffering through marathon phone queue wait times, or feeling slighted by having a cap placed on their data plan. But it all adds up to Comcast missing on customer service and, interestingly, field service could be used as an important agent of change.

Here are some key considerations on the field service front that could help Comcast change the perception issue it has with service overall.

  1. Integrate “Internet of Things” data into its workforce operations to chart not only where employees are and what they are doing at all times, but also to arm them with the perfect information to be more effective and efficient at the point of service. Which leads to:
  2. The customer must be centric to any service interaction, and it is the little things of a direct interaction that really up the game for companies of any size. For example, a technician might avoid ringing the doorbell because the customer has been empowered to inform him or her of a napping baby inside. At the same time, customers can be given precise clarity about the status of the visit, including precise arrival times, an image of the serviceperson for safety, and the technician’s flexibility to handle additional requests while he or she is onsite.
  3. Treat every customer as an “interactive patient” by adding meticulous service history and future maintenance dates, replacement schedules, work descriptions, and even tone of interaction to the account. If a customer feels like their provider knows them, they are more likely to value the relationship, and it all starts with this kind of data.

Ultimately, it all comes down to shifting the service operation from a focus on job completion, to one of customer engagement. When visiting a customer with the right data in hand, the service tech is perfectly positioned to drive customer engagement instead of just service – we engage with those we know. Over time, this model allows service to become a differentiator, and defines the brand as one that is committed to customer lifetime value.

About the Author

Stephen Smith has over 15 years of experience defining and delivering Mobile Workforce Management solutions covering vertical markets that include Telecommunications, Utilities, Insurance, Home Services, Medical Equipment, Capital Equipment, and Oil & Gas operations. Aiding service organizations to optimize the use of their field resources, improve operational awareness, streamline process, and establish controls while ensuring flexibility and variability are enabled within their operations. Prior to his current role as VP Strategic Industries, Stephen managed ClickSoftware’s global solution consulting team exposing the benefits of MWFM to new users and helping increase the benefits of existing users across the globe. He will deliver the keynote address at the Field Service USA 2016 conference in Palm Springs, CA, where you can also meet with the ClickSoftware team.