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September 30, 2021

How field service businesses can achieve a successful customer-centered approach


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The last two years have forever changed the way most people work. In-person meetings and events have transitioned to being held online and working from home has become the new norm. 

But a virtual world unfortunately isn’t possible for all workers. Non-desk workers, or employees in the ‘field’, don’t get a real break from their normal routines. Think about delivery drivers, service workers, healthcare workers, and even HVAC technicians. What these workers have in common is that their companies are primarily focused on customer service and that they have to be able to deal with different issues on-site.

According to a Mordor Intelligence report in 2020, there are an estimated 20 million field technicians operating around the globe. All of these jobs are essential to the customer service sector. They are also the face of the companies they work for, which is why it is crucial that businesses choose the best practices to ensure the best possible service quality and increase customer satisfaction.

Why is a customer-centric approach such a big deal?

One of the most important things to consider when wanting to become more customer-focused is that technology has changed the way brands are perceived. The way a business presents itself engages with customers and provides service has played a large role in what customer expectations are. In today’s world, there is a lot of information ready at the tip of people’s fingertips, easy and fast access to services and there are a large variety of products and services available. 

But with all of these technological advancements changing our current economy, field service companies risk their brand image and business when they don’t develop a connection with their customers. Since these customers are used to ready and on-hand information and services, B2C businesses need to work on building relationships with their clients in different ways than with only field technicians. 

A report by Capgemini has found that 79% of utility companies strongly believed that they offered a customer-centric approach. On the other hand, only 7% of consumers had the same view. These statistics show that even though businesses believe that their current practices focus on the customer, there seems to be a point where this connection is disrupted. 

Field service companies, therefore, need to make sure that they are doing everything they can to build a reliable brand identity, boost revenue and increase customer satisfaction. A McKinsey report even found that with improved customer satisfaction businesses were able to increase revenue by 15% and also decrease costs of servicing these customers by almost 20%. 

It goes to show that field service businesses can achieve more success by striving to foster a customer-centric approach. So how can businesses make sure that they are doing their best to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction? Let’s look at a few ways that they can do so.

How to make your field service business more  customer-centered

Try to improve service time

A better service time usually comes as a result of high-quality work together with little time dealing with a customer on-site. The way to achieve this can go one of two ways: by trying to utilize any predictive analytics for better deployment of technicians, or by equipping the technicians with the best tools and resources. 

Being able to leverage predictive analytics helps field service businesses to save time by knowing which technicians have the perfect skillsets for specific jobs and projects. As a result, on-site workers will know immediately which jobs they will be doing next. The data analytics the company uses can also be used to automatically assign employees jobs based on their skills.

The second method that you can use to improve service time is by supplying tools and resources that technicians can take advantage of. With enough resources to rely on, the time of completion of jobs is greatly reduced. One example is the use of asset intelligence networks by industrial and manufacturing businesses. They use these networks to keep detailed records on parts, service, and support issues. All of this data is stored digitally, and on-site technicians can assess the asset intelligence network to look at diagrams, information on parts, 3D models, repair instructions, and more. 

Both of these approaches offer a better overall customer experience and improved service time. Customers get faster, more efficient, and effective service when the right technicians for the job are sent to a site. The service time is also significantly reduced when they have a lot of resources to rely on. 

Integrate predictive maintenance

It can be quite bothersome when customers need to interrupt their workflow or end a workday early because they have to call and wait for a service team to come on-site and fix an issue. To avoid such scenarios, field service businesses can install remote monitoring and predictive maintenance to increase customer satisfaction. Devices that are always connected can be paired with machine-learning software to improve service.

Even if you don’t incorporate machine-learning software, a remote maintenance system can be a great time-saver when dealing with potential issues. All of the data collected from on-site equipment helps in identifying problems before they cause a complete shut-down or failure. Faults and issues can be seen remotely, and your company can send the right technicians to service the customers. They won’t have to stop everything to call your company and wait for technicians to come. 

With the help of predictive maintenance, your company can reduce the cost and service times for repair jobs. You will also be able to avoid lengthy interruptions that could have a negative impact on your relationship with the customers. 

Make improvements to response times

In today’s world, we have a lot of information readily available to us. We are also able to access information and data faster than ever, which has also contributed to our shortened attention span. This is true for customers as well. 

To make your business more customer-centric, strive to get your technicians to repair sites as fast as possible. Knowing what your customer expects is key for growing a successful business and building lasting relationships. So try to see how you can maximize efficiency and improve response times, without decreasing the quality of work. 

A way that you can do this is by making use of visual planning and collaboration tools, which would include a visual route plan and visual dispatch management. 

Strive to increase the efficiency of call centers

Call centers are one of the most important links between your company and your customers. They are the ones who can make or break your business. You can have the best technicians in the world, but if the call centers aren’t doing their jobs right they won’t be able to service customers effectively. Therefore, improving the efficiency of your business’s call centers should be considered a priority.

Utilize data and analytics to make things run smoother by not making customers spend too much time on the phone. Being able to leverage prescriptive modeling and advice to help with decision-making can be a huge time-saver when it comes to dispatching a service team. 

Some other ways to improve the efficiency of your company’s call centers are:

  • Continuously make improvements based on data and feedback from customers and technicians

  • Incorporating a communication line between agents and between agents and technicians

  • Having rules that base calls on technician skills

If customer retainment and revenue growth are important for you, then one of your main focuses should be on improving your customers’ experience. While the majority of issues remain with response times, there are other ways that you can strive for bettering service You can offer personalized support for independent customers, utilize scalable technology for on-site services and work more closely on first-time fixes so that the same problems don’t arise again. Using any of the above-mentioned tips will help you foster a more customer-centered approach within your business.

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