Field services are the backbone of your organization. They represent you in the real world, and they’re a part of your enterprise with direct contact with your customers. This alone is enough to make them directly responsible for your customer relations.
Sure, your marketing team can make promises, but it’s your field service that is responsible for fulfilling them.
The importance of positive customer experience
In other words, a positive customer experience is the ultimate objective of your customer service teams. A happy customer is a customer that returns again and again.
According to some estimates, just 8% of your regular customers can make as much as 40% of your entire profit. Not to mention that return customers are more likely to leave reviews and eventually turn into brand ambassadors.
All in all, there’s nothing more significant than the positive experience of your customers since it guides them towards becoming regulars. So, here are some tips to make your strategy of pleasing them more consistent and reliable.
Improve Responsiveness and Response Time
The first thing you need in order to improve your field service is to provide a faster response to your customers.
Present-day technology has all but made people used to instantaneous responses. So, having to wait will make your customers feel neglected. This is especially true if your competitors tend to be more responsive.
So, how do you improve responsiveness and response time?
First of all, you need better scheduling. No one expects you to go out there instantly. They’ll be content with – as soon as possible. By properly scheduling, you will send your first available team/technician into the field.
Other than just boosting your response time, this type of schedule will also increase the efficiency of your teams. Namely, it will keep the idle time at an all-time low.
Keep in mind that a schedule is just a plan. In order for it to give effect, it needs to have a proper execution, as well. We can call this the punctuality of your team. Now, there are several factors affecting this punctuality. Punctuality is affected by:
- Meeting consumer demands
- Real-time connectivity
- Promoting productivity
On their own, each of these four factors will affect the efficiency of your field service teams/technicians.
Using the Right Software
The issue of field management is as old as the business world; however, at the present day, this is handled with the use of field services management software.
In the past, scheduling was done on a whiteboard, communication was troublesome, and the majority of alterations were a proper nightmare. Nowadays, a good tool can help handle all of these problems.
Specialized software can help you get the most out of your field service teams. For instance, it can help you:
- Coordinate between appointments
- Improve the efficiency of your fleet
- Automate logistical processes
- Monitor inventory
- Improve transparency between the workforce and the management
Each of these issues, on its own, makes a world of difference when it comes to the effectiveness of your field teams and the way your customers perceive them.
Learn How to Say No
While casting blame is never a productive thing to do, a lot of times, a failure of your field service team will be your fault. Sure, you may blame this on your customers making unrealistic demands and expectations but are they really to blame for this?
It’s their right to ask for the impossible.
It’s your responsibility to say: “NO,” when they’re unreasonable.
Why is saying ‘No’ so important?
You see, some requirements are so unreasonable that they were never meant to be possible to fulfill. By agreeing to do this or by at least agreeing to think about it, you’re legitimizing this absurdity. Remember, your clients are not industry experts; it’s not their job to know what’s possible/not possible – it’s yours!
Failure to do a task that you’ve agreed to will ruin your relationship with the customer in question, but it may go even further and ruin your reputation. It will earn you negative reviews, negative WOM (word of mouth), and it might even cause you to pay a fine.
Outright refusing work doesn’t feel like a good practice, but a failure to deliver on a promise is even worse.
Other than this, by saying no, you’re asserting dominance and displaying your authority. In the business world, this can be invaluable. It will not only change how the client perceives you but also how your own employees see you.
Analyze and Improve
To achieve a better customer experience, you need to know where you are now. After all, the term ‘better’ lacks a proper meaning without a reference point.
Better than what?
- Industry average?
- Closest competitors?
- Your previous performance?
In order to get reference points for any of the three, you need to do your research and start analyzing/testing everything. Another one of your priorities is to establish reliable customer satisfaction metrics. This way, you’ll know if you’re heading in the right direction. Even more importantly, you might figure out what exactly you’re doing wrong and could/should do better.
Some of these KPIs (key performance indicators) are:
- Customer lifetime value
- Return rate
- Loyalty participation program
Each of the three is enhanced through a better customer experience.
Customer lifetime value
The customer lifetime value reveals the total amount of cash that a customer is likely to spend with your business. Unless you’re in a one-purchase industry (exercise equipment, chess sets, etc.), return purchases will be the most profitable stream of revenue.
The return rate is also quite important. Even if you do everything right, not every customer will return. It is your job to find out what your field team can do to improve the return rate.
Loyalty participation program
Lastly, the loyalty participation program will determine whether your customers see you as a go-to business in your own industry.
In some industries (like fashion, technology, or food industry), customers will not be exclusive to a single brand. This helps determine where you rank on their own list.
You see, boosting customer experience through better field service may be your primary objective. Still, it’s not all that you get once you commit to improving your business model.
Improving your field service will also make your business more efficient and more dependable. It is a long-term investment in your organization that will always pay off.