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How to create better customer experiences in field services

4 February 2022

Home > Blog

> How to create better customer experiences in field services

See how field service businesses are improving the customer experience at every point of the buyer journey using field service management software.

More than ever, field service businesses are realising the power a good customer experience (known as ‘CX’) has on business growth.

For a start, it creates a competitive edge because customers now expect top-notch service. In fact, up to 76% of customers decide to purchase from a brand based on customer experience alone.

What does this mean for your bottom line?

Well, businesses have reported an average revenue increase of £823 million1 over three years for a company with £1 billion in annual revenues. That’s because growing a strong reputation and loyal customer base leads to reduced operating costs and long-term growth.

So how exactly do you make your customer experience better?

It starts with a deep dive into how your clients perceive your field service business at every stage of the buying cycle: from booking, to job execution, through to aftercare.

Let’s delve into this a little deeper.

Looking for shortcuts? ✂ 

3 biggest benefits of a strong customer experience in field service

We’ve boiled down the biggest benefits to these three:

1. INCREASED PROFITS 📈

Field service businesses that provide superior customer experiences bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that don’t focus on their clients’ needs.

Let that sink in. Improved customer experiences lead to improved revenue. 

So, focusing time and energy on improving the service you provide could significantly impact your bottom line.

2. MORE LOYAL CUSTOMERS 💓

Customers that give companies a high customer experience score spend 140% more and remain loyal for up to six years.

So not only will improving your customer experience reap more profit in the short term, but these loyal customers who trust your business will spend more over the course of their entire relationship with you.

Plus, people who have a favourable view of your field service business are more likely to spread the word to their social and professional circles.

But don’t take our word for it, research shows that 92% of customers will trust recommendations over any form of marketing.

To sum up, providing excellent customer experiences could lead to word-of-mouth marketing, exposing your company to a new audience that could turn into sales.

3. MORE STREAMLINED OPERATIONS ⛵

A golden tool for streamlined operations is customer feedback.

In terms of customer experience, the majority (77%) of customers say they view companies more positively if they’re asked to provide feedback.

And then actively see businesses using it to improve their products and services.

When it comes to operational efficiencies, feedback on customer preferences could improve your entire operation — from moving to self-service platforms through to using chat instead of phone calls.

WHAT ARE THE KEY STAGES IN THE BUYER JOURNEY FOR FIELD SERVICES?

Put simply, there are three stages for field service businesses: 1) pre, 2) during and 3) post appointment.

Let’s take a look at how customer preferences are prompting a change to traditional practices 👇

STAGE #1: THE BOOKING PROCESS

With a traditional field service business, customers would have had to pick up the phone, use a contact form or send an email to scope out booking a job with a field service provider. 

But nowadays, 42% of people prefer online scheduling over picking up the phone. And  70% of customers say speed of service matters the most when dealing with a business.

With first impressions being everything, you can see why leading field service businesses are moving towards self-service platforms and online booking facilities. Customers can quickly get what they need and businesses don’t lose those customers.

Win-win.

While this new booking method is preferable to customers, it’s also more efficient for field service businesses. That’s because it takes away the need to speak directly to one of your back-office staff to make an appointment. And these bookings can be made outside of business hours.

Key takeaway: If you are still using out-of-date legacy systems and slow manual administration processes for bookings, you’re likely lagging behind in providing the best customer experience.

STAGE #2: ON THE DAY OF APPOINTMENT

We’ve all experienced this at some point: As customers, we don’t appreciate having to wait around all day for their appointment because we’ve been given a vague time slot for a technician to arrive… And, typically, communication has been poor.

It gives the impression that our time isn’t valued and it’s incredibly frustrating.

But, luckily, that’s a pretty old-school process that’s being phased out.

Now, businesses can send automatic updates to keep you in the loop. The result? The majority (68%) of customers have a better opinion of the company.

Key takeaway: Providing your customers with updates about the job status and their technicians’ locations is essential to creating a superior customer experience.

STAGE #3: POST-APPOINTMENT CUSTOMER CARE

To provide an excellent customer experience, you have to consider how you interact with people — even after completing the job. 

Take invoicing for example. Using traditional accounting methods might mean your customer is waiting a couple of weeks to receive an invoice. Drawn out payment processes can:

  • Be inconvenient
  • Detract from their overall experience
  • Or, make them consider a competitor in future who offers a more seamless payment experience. 

Key takeaway: To thrive, your field service business needs to modernise its invoicing methods. 

So how can technology improve all this?

HOW TECHNOLOGY ENHANCES THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Using a job management platform improves the customer experience at all stages of the buyer journey.

Here are the top three ways you can use technology to enhance your service 👇

1. CREATING EXCELLENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOKING STAGE

USING A SELF-SERVICE PLATFORM

We’ve briefly touched on this one already. Here’s why it’s so important: The majority (88%) of consumers expect an organisation to have some form of self-service portal available.

With an online self-service portal, you can send an immediate alert to your back-office staff. Your team can then use the information the customer provided to schedule and dispatch the most appropriate technician, based on factors like:

  • Customer location
  • Traffic information
  • Vehicle type
  • Job constraints
  • Necessary qualifications
  • Equipment needed

The end result? Your workers will be able to get the job done right the first time and take less time out of your customers’ busy days.

GATHERING ALL THE INFORMATION

In the field service world, high first-time fix rates are essential to a good customer experience. 

In fact, companies with a first-time fix rate of over 70% retain 86% of their customer base. If they achieve less than 70%, their retention rate drops by 10%. 

So, at the booking stage, it’s essential to gather as much information as possible about the job and the constraints that might be relevant so that your engineer can fix the customer’s issue the first time.

This is where tech comes in.

Using a job management platform to gather information and allocate the right assets to a job means your technicians can confidently arrive for appointments with the tools they need to complete the job first time.

The end result? Not only does this provide a smoother experience for your customer, but your retention will benefit from your improved first-time fix rate.

OPTIMISED SCHEDULE

More than half (56%) of field service professionals say that their customers are demanding faster response times.

So businesses will need to modernise their schedules to meet the growing demand for quick services. By using job management software that optimises your schedule, you’ll have the resource to attend more emergency appointments and act quickly on emergent customer requests.

💡Quick tip: The best field service management platforms on the market include intelligent scheduling assistants that enable you to optimise your schedule, taking into account all appointments, their purpose, and the time they will take.

The end result? The system then frees up any time that had previously been unavailable for booking due to manual scheduling or human error. And you’ll free up more time for both back-office staff and make more profit from extra appointments.

2. PROVIDING STRONGER EXPERIENCES ON THE DAY OF APPOINTMENT

Let’s look at how you can streamline the experience on the day of the appointment:

ENSURING PARTS AND EQUIPMENT ARE AVAILABLE

A staggering 43% of small businesses fail to track their assets and inventory effectively.

Using manual or paper methods for asset tracking opens your company to many risks caused by human error.

For example, engineers could inadvertently take spare items, or writing on forms may be illegible. Such mistakes mean items go missing easily, and replacements can be costly. And, overall, a disorganised inventory could lead to a lack of necessary items and slow response times for a customer while you get parts or tools back in stock.

Cue: new tech 👇

Instead, you can digitise your asset management, which removes the logistical headaches of managing an inventory. For example, field service management platforms like BigChange allow you to create a detailed register of equipment and parts. Then, you can track the movements of items using serial numbers, barcodes, or QR codes. 

The end result? Your technicians can check inventory in and out directly from their mobile devices, giving you better visibility over your valuable equipment. So, your customer will never suffer a wait for parts or tools that were an oversight in the planning process.

IDENTIFYING THE QUICKEST ROUTES

Using software to manage your operations allows you to match the right person to the right job, faster than ever.

For example, you might have a technician in a nearby location to a customer, but traffic could cause them to take longer to arrive than another available person. In such a case, the system will suggest the best worker to allocate, saving your team from having to work it out manually.

The end result? Quicker response times for customers, fewer labour overheads and fuel costs (thus reducing your business’s carbon footprint).

NOTIFICATION FEATURES WITH GPS

Did you know? BigChange’s field service management software allows your customers to get notifications about their appointment status and see the live location of their technician via the GPS vehicle tracking feature.

The end result? Never again will your customers feel like they’re left in the dark about the status of a job or have to wait at home all day.

3. IMPLEMENTING EXCELLENT AFTER-APPOINTMENT CARE

FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENTS

Going one step further than self-service, customers can even book their own repeat appointments.

Did you know? You can use group job schedule templates for clients who have lots of jobs. The recurring job feature enables you to group jobs so you can schedule them in bulk, saving both you and your customers a significant amount of time and stress.

Plus, the software includes a feature that allows you or your customer to use automatic job scheduling to create follow-on jobs.

The end result? Quicker, easier and hands-off renewals. And all new appointments link to any previous jobs, meaning any relevant history is readily available for the engineer working on it.

EASY PAYMENTS

For the average small-to-mid-sized company, it takes approximately 25 days to process an invoice manually from receipt to payment.

As a result, businesses have to deal with overdue payments, processing costs, and employees wasting time on drawn-out manual methods. However, field service software with integrated payment gateways can speed up the payment process 🚀 

How? With the right tech. 

Integrated payment solutions allow you to send your customer an invoice online automatically. Your technicians can fill out all the necessary paperwork directly on their mobile devices and send the invoice across immediately.

The end result? Customers can view the invoice and pay online the same day using a variety of payment options, making it more convenient for the client and better for your cash flow.

ASKING FOR CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

Thanks to tech, as soon as your technicians have completed their jobs and marked them as complete from their mobile devices, you can automatically send digital satisfaction surveys to your customers to ensure that they’re happy.

Once you’ve gathered your satisfaction surveys, systems like BigChange CRM automatically store all interactions. You can then easily access survey results in the future and use them to adjust your services based on customer feedback. This will show your audience that you value their feedback, and can adjust your service accordingly.

The end result? Better customer retention as your loyal customers will feel valued and build more trust with the organisation.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

With tech designed specifically for field service businesses, you can:

  • Minimise burdensome and time-consuming processes throughout the customer journey.
  • Free up your team’s time to focus on making the customer experience the best it can be.
  • Find optimised schedules so that your engineers can take on more appointments each day and boost your bottom line in the process.

HOW TO DELIVER A SUPERIOR FIELD SERVICE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TODAY

Ready to reap the benefits of tech today?

Look for a tool that can manage your entire operation on a single platform. 

BigChange gives you complete control of your admin, from quotes to invoicing and beyond. Also, with our mobile app (available on iOS and Android), you can seamlessly connect your office, field technicians and customers and provide an excellent customer experience as well as increased profitability as a result. 

Our fully integrated CRM system gives you a 360˚ view of every account, contact site and contract. Deliver positive customer experiences at every level thanks to an array of dynamic product features.

Want to find out more? Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger and arrange a free demo today.

Sources:
1 Customer Experience Matters 2017

BigChange.com

4th February 2022

BigChange

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