Sales organizations are often well-oiled machines, delivering the right product at the right time to customers. To keep customers happy after the sale can be more challenging, providing customer care that positively reflects the promises made during sales and by the larger brand. Field service either delivers on these promises, or undermines these efforts and brings down customer satisfaction.
Successful field service delivers the right people to the right jobs and is backed by the right parts and knowledge to get the job done. Ultimately, customers should consistently get the results they need regardless of whether service is over the phone, in the field, via chat, online messaging, social media, or via email.
These are the top 5 field service considerations to build a successful field service model that provides excellent customer service throughout the customer lifecycle.
A proactive field service model offers more to the customer–lessening the time between insight and action, while providing greater product knowledge for maintenance and repair. From knowing what service level agreements are needed, to having remote sensors tip off field service techs when a repair or maintenance action is required, proactive field service stays ahead of the customer. This intelligence relieves the customer of work, and increases satisfaction with service.
Field service technicians encounter unpredictable situations–stalled equipment, overheating equipment, malfunctioning systems, and insufficient safety protection. Even when unpredictable problems arise, customer insight and data that is accessible to field service more ably addresses any issues and prevents further equipment damage.
Scheduling field service is often the first hurdle customers and managers have to overcome. Nothing creates customer dissatisfaction faster than repair delays, which cause operational outages and lost revenue. In oil and gas, for example, idle equipment can cost millions. The right systems create transparency between customer, technicians, managers, and other key parties, so the mystery of why a tech is running late, or a part isn’t yet delivered, is solved. A tool that gives customers, technicians, and managers insight into scheduling go a long way to smoothing out scheduling problems, both in terms of technician workload, and in terms of reducing customer wait times.
By offering your customers the ability to schedule appointments based on their availability, to then sync this to the technicians’ calendar, which is also synced to manager’s calendar, removes a significant roadblock to customer satisfaction.
On-site and off-site collaboration
Providing linkages between off-site field service technicians, and in-office expertise and data is critical. At a customer site, field technician calls plagued by limited access to customer service history, parts and repairs knowledge, and predictive maintenance data, are more costly for the customer. The faster and more effective field service can deliver customer service, the happier the customer.
Create systems to streamline and automate collaboration between mobile technicians, managers, and in-office experts. Give technicians access to service history, equipment knowledge, and all the tools they need to make the repairs and move on to the next customer. Get control of field service by leveraging technology to create bridges between knowledge silos within an organization.
It is the on-site technician who is the first point of in-person contact with the customer. The ability to access service data, check stock, take surveys, generate billing, get relevant signatures, access knowledge and communicate directly with the right people at the right time, requires access to the right tools. Having the flexibility to respond across channels to real-time issues is invaluable.
Field service technicians who can only access needed data online, but who find themselves outside the reach of wireless routers, deep within the bowels of an HVAC system, are stuck. A technician armed with the mobile tools they need regardless of the ability to access online resources is better prepared to meet whatever contingency arises.
Actionable performance improvements
Excellent customer service is constantly improving, responding to changing circumstances in the wider industry and within a customer’s organization, is able to identify and address logjams, and fix them in short order. Identifying KPIs and measuring them consistently is one thing. Turning them into actionable performance improvements is the more difficult task.
Measuring service delivery (time on site, customer satisfaction, predictive and preventive maintenance outcomes, cost of repairs over time, field service safety etc.) against targets, highlights problematic areas, people, and products, and helps organizations identify solutions more quickly.
Resolving field service technician performance problems, critical equipment supply issues, ongoing safety concerns, and systemic service delivery revenue shortfalls are only a few of the issues field service organizations face. Creating the right KPIs with the right feedback loops, increases efficiency and ultimately increases customer satisfaction.
Getting control of field service management isn’t easy. Taking actions on these considerations lays the groundwork for operational improvements and increased customer loyalty and happiness.