Enhancing Field Service Customer Experience
Customer experience has become increasingly important in all fields of business, with AI-powered and automated communications for immediate customer responses truly raising the bar. For field services, the expectations have become even higher. Elevating your field service customer experience with quicker, better service, and an open line of communication is the key to building customer loyalty and retaining profitable contracts.
The Role of Modern Field Service Management Software
The rise of mobile-first software for field service management has enabled technicians to access the right data and tools while on the road, allowing them to foster a more enjoyable customer experience before, during, and after service appointments. Here are six strategies to enhance the customer experience with advanced field service management software:
1. Sync inventory management with technician scheduling
The number one thing you need to get correct for every single field service job is dispatching the right technician with the right tools and parts. Too often, a technician arrives at a job site with the correct expertise, but with insufficient or damaged parts. Connect your real-time inventory management with your scheduling system, so that both the scheduling team and technicians can check if their vehicle has the right equipment for the job before they hit the road.
2. Automate customer engagement
There are many ways to ensure that your customer receives immediate communication, whether it’s an automated chatbot message letting them know that a service request has been received, or automated text messages that inform the customer of progress on the job. Field service management solutions allow businesses to automate alerts for when a job request has been confirmed, dispatched, started, and finished. This keeps the customer feeling supported throughout the entire field service customer experience.
3. Keep an open line of real-time communication with your customers
Besides AI-powered automated communication, it is also critical to uphold a constant communication line between the customer and the technician. When there are delays on the road or incidents that prevent a job’s completion, technicians can use the embedded instant communication platform to contact their customer directly through their field service management solution, accessible through the majority of mobile devices.
4. Set automated alerts to avoid missing service requests
Juggling multiple service jobs while on the road can be tricky, and it can often result in arriving late to appointments, missed appointments, or late responses to new requests, which is extremely unpleasant to customers. It is especially unprofessional to schedule an appointment for a certain time and to arrive at a much later time, without prompt communication, because customers must stay at their homes waiting for the servicer to arrive. Prevent this from happening with a management software that sends automated alerts to the team when a technician hasn’t left for their assigned route yet, or service requests haven’t been responded to in a certain time frame. That way, when inevitable challenges prevent technicians from reaching their customer on time, the scheduling team can help dispatch someone else or reschedule the customer appointment.
5. Accelerate the billing process by going digital
Field service billing often takes a lot of time because information is lost through the shuffle. Documents become lost or writing is illegible, requiring accountants to follow up with technicians for clarifications. Moreover, if any inventory parts used or time worked was not recorded, technicians may forget to report it, leading to lost revenue. Instead, with a mobile platform like Acumatica, technicians can use voice dictation to record notes or even dialogue with customers. With a mobile platform, bills can be settled and printed directly at job sites, so customers can have invoices and job summaries sent to them immediately, significantly shortening the billing process for accountants. Reducing admin work and overhead costs also allows your accounting and finance departments to focus on more important tasks.
6. Set up automated surveys to solicit customer feedback
The most important piece to nurture in the modern customer journey is actually the post-purchase experience, because that is what prompts customers to return to and advocate for your business. Set up short feedback surveys that are automatically sent to customers following a service. Collecting ratings and descriptive feedback not only demonstrates your care to the customer, but it also gives you valuable data to help improve your business. This data can be synced with the field service management system’s built-in CRM, so the next time a particular customer returns, your team will best know how to serve their particular needs.
7. Use key metrics to optimize business processes
All decisions to change business processes or invest in new technologies should be driven by data. Enhancing the field service customer experience is a long-term project, thus it requires long-term data that goes beyond the surface level and is specific to field services. Acumatica Field Service Management’s dashboards can automatically populate and make visualizations of metrics such as speed of service, time spent on the road, first-time fix rates, customer satisfaction ratings, and many other KPIs – which can all be filtered by geographic location, type of service, or a range of other dimensions.
The Challenges of Adopting Modern Field Service Management Software?
While adopting new field service technology has been a challenge in the past two decades, this lag is expected to dissipate soon, as younger generations begin to take on both management and on-site roles in field services. According to Field Service News Magazine, 54% of field service companies that currently use an on-premise solution are considering a move to cloud technology (IBISWorld, 2020). While field service companies may face resistance to adoption, assembling a well-versed ERP training and change management team can not only ease the transition, but also help all levels of the team recognize how advanced field service management software helps enhance both field service customer experience and technician job experience.
Cook, D. (2020, June). Field Service Management Software: US Specialized Industry Report OD5393. IBISWorld.