Customers are increasingly looking for more than just service. They look for a company that values their feedback, cares about their issues, and goes above and beyond to make them satisfied. The importance of customer service can’t be overstated, especially in a field service business. Providing an excellent customer service experience ensures customer loyalty and retention. It starts with your customer booking calls with your representatives and is not just about the field service technician facing your customer.
Customers have numerous options available to them when choosing a field service provider. Earning their trust, making them loyal to your business, and retaining them over time is no easy feat. To provide excellent customer service, you have to understand your customers' needs, value their time, and provide exceptional solutions. Meeting a customer’s expectations is not enough; you must also be willing to go the extra mile. In 2022, customers expect a friendlier, faster, and more convenient experience than ever before.
Providing excellent customer service results in customer satisfaction. The ASQ (American Society for Quality) defines customer satisfaction as “a measurement that determines how happy customers are with a company's products, services, and capabilities."
For field service organizations, customer service is a product, so always ensure your service quality exceeds expectations. To achieve a high customer satisfaction rating-both internally and externally-you must pay attention to their experience.
To increase customer satisfaction and improve their experience at the same time, pay attention to customer service improvement. It is evident that excellent customer service is a name maker in any industry. It helps grow revenue, maintain customer loyalty, and improve your overall business strategy.
Investing in your customer service not only leads to more satisfied customers, but can also result in repeat business. Developing a sustainable business can be very challenging, but investing in the customer service experience for your field service company is an important step along this path.
To keep on top of the game, you must follow a few best practices. Below you will find a list of customer service tips you can begin implementing in your service management business today.
Five tips for improving customer satisfaction in field service businesses
1. Use technology to provide a convenient experience
Field service companies offering an online experience is no longer unusual; customers today expect it. Research indicates that 75% of customers want their experience to be effortless; convenience is a top priority in today’s market. The first step in providing the effortless experience that customers want is by making sure that booking an appointment online is and intuitive process and can be done easily.
With a self-service booking portal, like the one available with Zuper’s field service management system, you can let customers book their own service appointments. With no need to call an agent, the customer can go online and select a time slot for the type of service they need. After a date and time have been chosen, and the appointment booked, a confirmation will be sent to the customer either through SMS messaging or email.
What some companies fail to realize—and yours should not—is that a home visit can involve a high level of effort on the part of your customer. They may have had to take off work to wait for your field service team to arrive. Making the whole experience as convenient as possible is important. The fact that they are reaching out in the first place indicates that they are already being inconvenienced in some way. If you can make the process as smooth as possible on your end, you will be ahead of the game.
Consider this: Dissatisfied customers often don’t even complain—they just move on to another company in the hopes of a more satisfactory experience. This is why keeping your customer’s convenience in mind is vital. Customers are constantly evaluating you. They are judging your company and your service not just on how efficiently a technician rendered service, but also on how smooth the experience as a whole was.
In another scenario, customers need to keep on calling the field service support team when they are unaware of the technicians’ whereabouts. Never keep your customers in the dark. Real-time location tracking helps share the location of technicians to customers and the business's back office. With the help of field service software, automated SMS/email notifications can be sent to the customer instantly.
2. Focus on delivering first-time resolutions
When a customer calls a service business, they expect a technician with the correct skills will be assigned to their case. If a technician without the correct skill set is dispatched, it can hurt your first-time fix rate and result in a dissatisfied customer—this is bad for attrition rates.
Field service organizations can help to keep first-time fix rates high not just by making sure they dispatch the correct technicians with the appropriate skill sets, but also by making available to all technicians the information, resources, and tools that they need to resolve a variety of issues.
By making this information widely available, it allows an incorrectly assigned technician to puzzle their way through it and hopefully resolve the issue without having to call another tech to the site—and that is better for your first-time fix rate. Failing to provide the necessary tools and information to resolve an issue or successfully close a job leads to poor first-time fix rates (FTFR) and that means negatively impacting profit and revenue—no organization wants that.
So what can a field service company do to help improve their technician's first-time fix rates? By investing in a workforce management system, companies make it that much easier for field technicians to make sure that they have the parts and equipment necessary for a repair before they begin.
A work order management system allows inventory to be updated in real-time and for parts to be marked as reserved. Technicians will be in a better position to arrive at a job site not only with a better sense of what needs to be done, but with the resources they need to complete the job as quickly and efficiently as possible—the first time.
Give your technicians a mobile app that provides them with easy access to complete job details and service history. Having a completed service history for a piece of equipment can allow a technician to resolve issues much more quickly than when working without this information.
Additionally, a technician using a mobile app is able to navigate to a customer’s location much faster because GPS mapping will help route the technician along the fastest route—reducing the amount of time that it takes to get on site.
3. Automate your field service process end-to-end
Scheduling difficulties are common customer complaints in a field service business. Overlapping calls, double booking, and unavailability of technicians happen when scheduling things manually. Any of these can delay your response time, and a delay in response time can hurt—if not ruin—your reputation. Oversights and inconsistencies with scheduling can quickly lead to unhappy customers.
When using field service management software that automates scheduling and dispatch, your field service managers are empowered to schedule and assign their technicians more accurately and with greater efficiency.
Scheduling systems integrated with AI and location intelligence allow matching the correct technician to the right job. A variety of considerations can be taken into account, such as skill set, historical performance, customer rating, immediate availability, and distance from the call. The scheduling calendar of your business can be synced with technicians’ personal calendars so they never miss appointments and can stay focused on improving the service quality.
The automatic scheduling and dispatching process helps optimize the utilization of field resources, bringing much-needed accuracy and transparency to scheduling and dispatching. The benefits of scheduling include reduced travel time and associated costs, improved turnaround time, and accelerating your journey to achieve operational excellence.
From the customers’ perspective, the benefits of automated scheduling play a big role in gaining their trust. Booking appointments on WhatsApp or online, cutting down on their waiting times, and responding to their issues rapidly is something that improves customer satisfaction rates.
4. Adapt paperless methods
Moving away from paper-based systems and adopting paperless equivalents is another way that the customer service experience can be made better for clients. Annual service agreements or contracts, for example, become useless if they are out of date. When a change is made to a document of this nature—even if for the customer's convenience—a trip back to the office may be necessary to get an updated copy. At least when dealing with paper.
But with field service software, your business can adopt automated contract management in which the service level agreements and annual maintenance contracts can be effectively managed—digitally. It allows converting proposals to contracts without manual intervention. The changes can be modified and synced across, and the customer can review them immediately and sign the agreement. Faster times-to-close a deal with less effort on the part of your customer means a win for everyone.
When a customer enquires about a job quote, it can be automatically generated by the field service software’sestimate module and shared through the preferred mode. Estimates shared with customers online, can be quickly converted into jobs complete with all necessary details, including a scheduled time.
With an automated invoicing module, the invoice can be easily generated by technicians with a mobile app. Calculating the cost for all services rendered and hours worked, an invoice can be generated with a link for digital payment.
Customers can choose their preferred method of payment and pay online. Some field service software comes with consumer-friendly financing options, enabling customers to pay in monthly installments without incurring late fees. These multiple options in one place make your business reputable and deliver an extraordinary customer service experience.
5. Turn your customer feedback into a good service experience
When customers are happy with your service, they recommend your company—and that kind of word-of-mouth marketing is invaluable. Bad reviews, failure to follow your call-to-action, and poor ticket responses are all red flags that you may be missing opportunities to improve your customer experience.
Each time an employee of your company interacts with a customer, it makes a difference. Use the technicians’ mobile app to get customer feedback after each service call. It will be helpful to investigate what went on during a service call. If these issues are regularly ignored and not addressed, you may miss out on opportunities to turn negative reviews into positive ones. If you receive negative reviews, respond promptly and address the concerns raised. Don’t ignore feedback—especially when it comes from your customers.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system will streamline your communications with customers and help you provide consistent and reliable customer service. It helps customer service reps to understand customers’ needs and resolve them quickly and it helps to monitor customer satisfaction based on the number of open tickets and average resolution time.
Focus on social media, Google My Business, Yelp, and Amazon reviews to find and interact with dissatisfied customers. Being courteous and calm may bring back customer satisfaction and reliability. In spite of the fact that it does not result in a lead right away, you will remain top of mind when customers need to get a service in the future. In turn, customers will have a more consistent experience.
With all this in place, your business has a better chance of forming a solid customer relationship and retaining their trust. Prioritize the convenience of your customers. Focus on streamlining their booking and payment process—make their experience effortless. Ensure your team is always available to customers when they face issues.
Improve your customer service and streamline your work orders by automating your entire business. Utilize field service management software to gain more clients and take advantage of its full potential.