How to Deliver Field Service Excellence
There is “good” customer service but there is “great” customer service as well. What’s the difference? Good customer service keeps your customers satisfied. Great customer service not only keeps them totally satisfied – you make them loyal customers as well.
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So, whether your company caters directly to customers or provide products or services on a contracted basis, it is vital to your business existence to have satisfied and loyal customers. You simply cannot survive without such customers. One clear way of providing great customer service is to deliver field service excellence.
This goes beyond providing consistent field service according to a basic set of criteria and within a pre-determined time period. Field service excellence means providing high quality and guaranteed quality services at maximum efficiency, without delays, and while keeping your customers well-informed with updated data.
Field service excellence means anticipating what your customers will need, reacting quickly and deploying experts and engineers at the perfect moment. Such excellence in service will lead to better customer satisfaction, better customer relationships, and greater sales.
So, how can you deliver Field Service Excellence? Check out the list below and find out.
Get Customer Data in Real Time
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In an era where information about almost anything under the sun can be obtained within mere seconds at just a flick of a finger or a click of a button, customers expect brands and providers to deal with them using the most up-to-date, or better yet, real-time data. So, how can field service engineers get updated customer data in real time?
Companies need to invest in applications and systems that field service personnel can access and use even when they are in the field or in remote locations. The applications can be accessed through their smartphones or tablets and the data collected can be feed backed to their main control centre for immediate processing.
For example, field service engineers can get customer information after performing service work, send information to their control centre, and receive compliance certification which he can give to the customer. All these performed within minutes of field service work completion. No need for customers to wait weeks to get certification or other important documents from the field service company. No waiting time, no hassle – happy customer!
Get Feedback from Your Customers
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The opinion and what your customers say matters deeply to any business or organisation. When a customer talks, the provider should listen, otherwise they’ll end up providing goods and services that are sub-par or even completely different from what the customers need and expect.
Although many customers are familiar now with online surveys, review sites and other forms of feedback facilities, many still downplay or could not understand the relevance of answering or filling up such forms – and would simply choose to ignore or do nothing about it.
Field service personnel can however collect customer feedback, particularly after a project has been completed. As much as possible, avoid using printed form and make use of online survey facilities when engaging with customers. These can be accessed and used through their smartphones or tablets, with results sent directly to their main servers.
However, make sure that you don’t bombard your clients with several survey requests, many of which may not be relevant to the services you provided. Doing so will foster confidence and better relationships with the clients, not to mention the greater trusts accorded by the customers, when you put value and effort into these endeavours.
Keeping Your Customers Well Informed
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As mentioned earlier, customers nowadays are getting accustomed to the digital space and expect things accomplished immediately or in the now. In light of this, it would be a great practice for Field Service Excellence if you keep you’re clients well informed with up to date data.
Data or information that you provide can be anything that your customer needs in relation to the products or services you provide. This can start with a simple ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) notice regarding the arrival of field service personnel on site or the arrival of parts, sub-assemblies or the product itself.
Aside from that, you can also provide them with valuable information, whether directly through your field service personnel or through electronic means, that includes tips and procedures on how to handle equipment, periodic maintenance they can perform on their own, and preventive measures to help them keep their equipment from breaking down.
Provide Self-Service Facilities for Your Customers
Despite the fact that many customers expect services handed out to them in real time, many still want to add their own personal touch and would be keen in accessing and performing certain steps through self-service facilities that suppliers can provide. For example, customers can download and access your apps or their own and perform various self-service tasks like downloading information, getting certifications, get status updates, and other items they can perform on their own.
These facilities can add value that you can include on top of your basic services, which would put your business at an added advantage, particularly if you’re involved in a highly competitive market.
According to Ron Kaufman, a customer service expert, author of Uplifting Service, and a keynote speaker in a recent Smarter Services Executive Symposium, field service excellence should not only be about addressing customers’ immediate needs but also providing them with additional value on top of your basic field service packages.
To be on top of the game and gain an added advantage over competitors, companies should provide excellent field service, which they can attain by getting and providing real-time data, knowing the pulse of your customers, providing them with real-time information and adding value that they will need on top of what you provide in your basic services. These are now made possible with new technologies and systems, providing your customer with added value and a better customer experience.
Value-for-money and add-ons that your customers can get from the products or services can be a differentiator that will separate good field service – from excellent field service.
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