In the past several years, we have witnessed the sharp decline of customer loyalty as the era of on-demand everything reshapes customer expectations. Today, each and every company out there is measured against the likes of Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, Airbnb, and a slew of other customer-centric companies and services.
Just look at any of the hundreds of statistics on the Internet about customer experience (CX) and you’ll quickly realize that this has become the number one differentiator, no matter your business.
To prepare and best serve the customer of tomorrow, it’s wise to understand what they expect and how your field service scheduling software can help satisfy their demands. In the following paragraphs, we’ll explore exactly that and how you can meet their demands head-on.
Offer Tighter Service Windows
Consumers are told to show up at the Apple Genius Bar at an exact time, so why shouldn’t service organizations be equally specific about their arrival times? News flash, it’s now expected.
It’s safe to say consumers have never enjoyed waiting indefinitely for their service appointments. But what has changed is the fact that your customers know it’s now possible for you to schedule more precisely using today’s technologies. When you continue providing 4-hour service windows, they assume you don’t respect their time.
Modern field service scheduling software calls upon machine learning and predictive intelligence to take scheduling to new levels. Your organization could, for example, use this technology to forecast technician requirements. You would know the number and type of technicians needed to handle demand at a given time and adequately staff up. At the same time, by applying artificial intelligence (AI) software, you could rapidly analyze streams of data to make the best scheduling and routing choices.
With the right number of technicians available taking the best possible routes to jobs, you wouldn’t need to leave any customers on hold, so to speak.
Deliver a Deeper View into Technicians and Their Whereabouts
After getting comfortable with Uber and similar ride-sharing apps, customers expect a view into the world of the companies they’re doing business with and the services they are paying for. When it comes to field service, they want to see a picture of their technician ahead of time, know their service record, and see exactly where they are on a map.
Through your site or mobile app, you can provide customers with a link to view information about the technician assigned to their job so they can prepare themselves for the visit. Pair this with mobile tracking enabled via your website or custom app so you can let your customers keep tabs on your technicians’ locations.
Making all this information available to your customers puts them more in control of the service visit—and less likely to bother your dispatch center or support group with questions.
Offer Service Options & Information
In the past, there was often just one option for servicing equipment—send out a technician to diagnose and (hopefully) repair. Whether or not that’s still true doesn’t really matter. The fact is consumers believe there are more options due to the endless amount of information available online. Think of all the options we often see when requesting service from our Internet and cable TV providers. Many of them serve up numerous options when it comes to resolving issues. Other service organizations would be wise to follow suit.
Instead of “Click here to schedule your appointment," your site or app could display this: "Click here to view your diagnostic options." You could then offer a menu of choices, such as:
- Request that a technician runs a remote diagnostic
- Request that a technician runs an in-person diagnostic
- Read our guide on the most common problems with this equipment type
- Fix the issue yourself with the help of our video tutorial series
While some of the above options won’t make sense for more complex service scenarios, simply providing more information will help your customers appreciate the complexity of service. When you empower your customers, you could very well be saving money by offloading fixes to them.
Deliver Self-service Knowledge to Prepare the Customer
Carrying on with the theme from above, field service organizations need to give customers the information they are already seeking: how to do it themselves. Just look to reality TV for proof that DIY (do it yourself) is the latest trend among customers. Whether it’s a whitepaper, or a YouTube series, helping customers better understand the equipment you are servicing will be a key differentiator along with service scheduling.
While the majority of customers will simply need to schedule time with a field technician, some will be interested in determining the root cause of a problem and how they can avoid it next time around. The scheduling software of the future should absolutely include how-to content and educational resources. As your customers are scheduling their appointment, the software could serve up troubleshooting suggestions and potential problems and fixes. If the customer is going to go on YouTube and search for the information themselves, isn’t it better to keep them engaged with your organization by offering this knowledge right on your app or website?
To maintain a competitive edge, field service organizations must get smart about how they remain relevant in the face of ever-changing customer preferences and expectations. In many cases, the answer lies in modern field service scheduling software that calls upon the newest technologies. By applying this technology in innovative ways, your organization can satisfy new demands without undue stress or breaking the bank.
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