Field Service Management’s Guide to Anticipating Customer Needs
27 December 2021
Read this blog for six ways field service businesses meet customer needs and exceed customer expectations.
When it comes to organising field service operations, meeting customer expectations is a top priority for over half (56%) of field service management businesses.
But, to provide an excellent customer experience, you need a super-defined understanding of what customer needs are to then exceed their expectations. No easy task when these change over time.
And this is why industry-leading field service businesses focus on improving communication and capturing feedback… As well as looking at ways to simplify services to make things quick and easy for customers. After all, customers in all sectors are time-poor and expect slick services.
In this blog, we’ll talk you through the exact approaches they use to anticipate customer needs and look at how software can help make it much easier to drive customer loyalty.
6 ways field service management can meet customer needs
Here are a handful of ways field services businesses provide the best possible service to their customers. Let’s dive in 👇
#1: OFFER SELF-SERVICE OPTIONS TO DELIGHT YOUR CUSTOMERS ✋
This is a big one so we’ll go through this in depth…
🔍Even back in 2019, research found that 88% of consumers expected an organisation to have a form of self-service portal available.
And this is the first example of why tech is essential in field service management.
Make bookings convenient for customers. This customer log-in portal could be for anything from customer service queries to appointment booking. And the fact that customers seem to prefer to help themselves first, instead of talking to a business representative, cannot be ignored.
To anticipate your customers’ needs in field service management, you should use software that allows your clientele to book appointments when it suits them. This way, they can book immediately when they need to, instead of having to wait for business hours to contact your company and organise a booking.
Make self-serve convenient for you. Some digital services that provide this feature will also allow you to optimise your schedule. For example, the software can create a more streamlined calendar based on appointments and their purpose, freeing up any time that had previously been unavailable for booking due to error or out of date manual scheduling processes.
The end result?
- Your customer needs will be met quicker when using a scheduling assistant to optimise your bookings, as the company will have more availability.
- There’s more free time means more ability to respond to emergency maintenance call outs, as the schedule can be flexible enough to accommodate emergent customer scenarios.
- Anticipate and eliminate another type of frustration that customers may have.
Plus, with some tools you can get integrated GPS on bookings. This means that your clients will no longer be wondering where their field technician is. They can also receive automated texts and updates on the field workers’ location, so they are never left in the dark when dealing with your company.
#2: GO DIGITAL WITH YOUR DOCUMENTATION 📳
🔍In the UK, late invoice payments have risen by 23% since the start of 2020.
Due to the pandemic, businesses have been struggling to ensure they’re paid on time. However, to survive post-COVID-19, companies need to figure out how to improve their payment systems to maintain good cash flow and be paid for their work.
This is where field service management software comes in 👇
Field service software allows you to make use of the digital experiences customers expect. For example, an integrated invoicing feature makes the payment process far more straightforward.
- Once a mobile worker has completed a job, they can fill out all relevant information on their mobile device and send the customer a digital invoice right there and then.
- This invoice will also link up to any contact information on the platform’s integrated CRM (customer relationship management) system, meaning there will be fewer human error mistakes than if invoicing was manual and documentation was written out by hand.
- Your customers can then digitally pay their invoice immediately, giving them more convenience over their payment.
Not only will this ensure that your field service business bills are settled quickly and on time, but customers will have a smoother experience in dealing with the company and be more inclined to use your efficient services again. Plus, real-time updates means you’ve got the latest information for financial forecasting.
#3: DELIVER FIRST-TIME FIX RATES 🛠
Actually, access to real-time updates within field service management software can do so much more.
For example: If field technicians are able to quickly see customer information, inventory and service history, they are more likely to boost first-time fix rates because they’ll know exactly what’s happened with a job so far and what they need.
Arriving fully prepared with the parts and knowledge to fix a job on the first visit creates a much better customer experience.
#4: PRIORITISE THEIR HEALTH AND SAFETY 🦺
The emergence of COVID changed customer needs. Companies could no longer rely on what was routinely ‘business as usual’ because of the essential need to protect both their workers and customers from illness.
And field field service management software can help alleviate any issues about health and safety for customers.
For example: Tech that allows for ‘no touch’ signatures means that work could still be ‘signed off’ and carried out for customers without the need to physically touch items and potentially transfer germs physically.
Here’s another example: Risk assessments are also a large part of anticipating the health and safety of workers and customers. And so it’s best practice to not only run thorough risk assessments but to make the documentation available to customers on your self-service platform, as well as your workers on their portal.
Providing digital documentation will make sure that everyone is aware of the risks and the steps that have been taken to prevent them.
📕 Want to learn more? If you are unsure about this process, follow these five steps for carrying out an effective risk assessment.
#5: STAY ONE STEP AHEAD OF REPEAT CUSTOMERS 🔮
Suppose your field services company deals with a lot of regular maintenance. In that case, you could use field service management software to save your customers any administrative tasks.
For example: Automated texts or emails could remind them it’s time to book, or could automatically schedule routine maintenance to save them spending time contacting your field service business.
Not only are you anticipating customers’ needs, but you’re simultaneously providing a smoother, more frictionless experience where they have to do as little as possible to achieve an outcome.
#6: ASK FOR FEEDBACK 🗣
Finally, a way to anticipate what your customers want from you is to simply ask.
🔍Almost two-thirds (64%) of UK SMEs felt that using customer feedback surveys helped them improve their products and services.
The right field service management software can allow you to send automatic emails after an appointment or customer service enquiry. Asking directly is perhaps the most simple yet effective way to hear exactly what your clients would like from you or what you could change about how your field service operations.
HOW FIELD SERVICES CAN BOOST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TODAY WITH DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
Some systems manage relationships. BigChange helps you master them.
In one single tool, our fully integrated field service management platform gives field services a 360˚ view of every account, contact site and contract. Deliver positive customer experiences and drive customer loyalty with an array of features built specifically to support field service businesses. Want to find out more? See how BigChange’s field service management software can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.
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