Field service may seem like a technical-only business. After all, the daily business activities revolve around sending out field service technicians to deliver on-site maintenance, repairs, and other work. Many companies in the field service industry focus on delivering awesome technical services.
However, field service, just like any other business, is social. While the primary goal is to deliver technical service work, everything else revolves around customer expectations. In fact, field service engineers will find themselves having to maintain customer relationships more than they expected before joining a field service organization.
Forward-thinking companies have started to look at field service in a different manner. Field technicians aren’t just workers who deliver preventative maintenance and other technical work. They are also those who deliver positive experiences by solving customer problems. Thus, the newest approach to field service management is to see field technicians as customer service agents.
Customer experience in field service
According to SalesForce research, customers list expertise, communication, and proactivity among the most important customer service and support qualities. Delivering on these qualities is the key to maintaining customer loyalty.
Technicians are the primary source of communication in field service business models. While clients do have the opportunity to talk with the back office and support, most people dread doing that. There’s an implicit expectation that the person delivering field service operations will provide enough information that no additional customer support will be required.
Thus, field technicians are the main human interaction touch-point. Most importantly, since the initial customer interactions significantly influence the brand’s perception and overall service satisfaction of field service organizations, nearly everything rests on the technician’s shoulders. A small misstep can cause a lasting negative impact.
The good news is that with some training and a customer-centric focus any technician can create an exceptional experience while doing the technical jobs allocated. However, organizations first need to shift their focus to providing the right tools and expertise to their technicians.
Improving customer satisfaction through information
One of the first steps to improving customer satisfaction is collecting information. Research by Deloitte has shown that implementing a Net Promoter Score (that measures the quality of services rendered by a technician) helps enterprise-level companies improve over time. Having access to such data allows companies to find areas for improvement and improve their processes at the same time.
In fact, data is the key point to realize a customer-centric focus. However, it should not be limited to just the service quality. Data from numerous operations and equipment should be collected for various reasons.
Primarily, data on equipment can serve as either predictive or behavioral. Information can be utilized to help customers reduce their reliance on engineers by implementing management features through a website or applications. In short, in-depth data on equipment can provide insight for the customer, improving the overall customer experience.
On the other hand, all customers use technology differently. Knowing customer preferences and expectations through asset data can provide a technician with the opportunity to provide a highly customized and personal service.
Turning field service technicians into customer service agents
The first step to building a customer-centric field service company is to empower field technicians. Often that may mean undergoing a digital transformation within the company.
Digital transformations are required to reduce the number of manual calculations and other processes the field technician needs to engage in. Additionally, it reduces reliance on the back office, management, and manufacturers. Field service managers should ensure that they get as much customer data and other information as possible at all times.
Usually, this can be achieved through technology and new solution implementations. The use of technology can take care and automate several key aspects of field service:
- Asset management: sensor data, machine learning algorithms, and other data acquisition methods can provide real time information about businesses and equipment, which improves job efficiency.
- Resource scheduling: tools that help manage schedules and automate routing reduce costs, allowing field service companies to allocate resources more effectively.
- Customer engagement: in-depth customer data grants the ability to put their needs center stage and provide personalized service.
- Remote assistance: usage of smart tools allows companies to reduce the amount of on-site visits by monitoring equipment remotely. Additionally, such information grants customers the insight to request maintenance and on-premise visits ahead of time.
Field service businesses and organizations that have implemented at least some of the technological advancements outlined above reduce the burden placed on the technician. In turn, they can focus less on technical operations and more on customer management.
In its essence, a customer-centric focus starts by providing the frontline workers with the necessary mobile tools. If an engineer is highly reliant on management, the back office, and other factors, they cannot provide customers with the proper care.
FSM solutions for a perfect customer experience
Primarily, the best example for something that could truly help a business transform the way they manage their services is a field service management (FSM) solution. FSM solutions, in short, provide the opportunity to digitize all field services by allowing both the back office and engineers with real-time information about customers and services.
FSM solutions generally automate and improve important field service aspects such as logging, note-taking, invoicing, and document digitization. Additionally, they provide readily accessible information about jobs, customers, equipment, and services. With field service management software, engineers know what to expect and who to contact before they even get to the customer site.
Knowing all of that information ahead of time provides a distinct advantage when delivering customer-based services. Engineers have ample time to request additional information and research that enables them to optimize on-premise work. Additionally, information such as relationship context and previous interactions plays a big part in providing an exceptional customer experience.
Finally, FSM solutions improve employee engagement in field services as it grants them increased independence. With all the necessary tools and information at hand, engineers don’t need to contact the back office or search for data. They can then focus on their primary goals – field services and customer experience.
Field service companies are evolving. Instead of focusing purely on delivering proper field services, they are now looking for additional ways to get an advantage over the competition. The current trend in the world of field service is a customer-centric approach.
It’s no longer enough to simply perform maintenance and process everything properly. Research states that to bring profitability and revenue to the next level, field service businesses must find ways to provide an exceptional customer experience.
Want to bring your enterprise to the next level by delivering the highest level of customer experience possible? Frontu’s FSM solution can help your business achieve that. Our solution will allow you to improve scheduling, logging, note-taking and empower your frontline workers by providing all the necessary information at all times. Book a demo with our team to see how our FSM solution may benefit your business.