Oct 26, 2018 • Features • Management • field service • field service management • Samir Gulati • Service Management • Service Power • Customer Satisfaction and Expectations • Managing the Mobile Workforce
The customer experience is a crucial differentiator between organisations and that experience needs to be consistent across the whole customer journey, Samir Gulati explains why this is so vital...
Today’s field-service customers demand responsive support, especially digital natives who are used to getting what they want when they want it.
But even though these customers expect field service to be speedy, it pays to slow down and examine the customer journey to better understand their expectations. Field-service providers then know what elements are worth measuring and can, therefore, leverage software solutions to direct their technicians to respond appropriately in real-time.
So let’s take a look at the five stages of the field-service customer journey, as well as the key metrics worth tracking at each step.
#1 The Service Request
The customer journey starts with the creation of a service request. But even a simple request carries the opportunity for deep insight so long as field service providers measure the flexibility of their engagement with the customer and their access to the servicer.
Can users submit such inquiries through multiple channels? Fewer and fewer customers want to communicate through a call centre. Instead, they prefer self-service online portals and machine-to-machine service requests generated automatically by their smart appliances.
But just as customers need access to technicians, technicians need access to customers - namely their service agreements. Automated registrations and entitlement checks, using preconfigured warranty information, allow service providers to assess maintenance options and confirm services instantly.
#2 Scheduling Service
Once a service request is submitted and subjected to the automated entitlement check, it’s time for scheduling. At this stage of the customer journey, scheduling options and response times matter most.
Customers should be able to easily book truth-based appointments, which reflect your technicians’ skill level and actual bandwidth based on a combination of real-time and historical data.
This ensures that the right technician is sent out to the right job, which increases first-time-fix rates.
That same information should populate estimated arrival and completion times so customers can plan for their field-service slots and appointments accordingly. Users can then utilize self-service scheduling to reschedule their service calls, at which point they have access to updated information regarding technician availability.
#3 Tracking Technicians
Modern customers value visibility and expect field-service companies to offer real-time tracking, much like Uber, for two reasons.
First is compliance with scheduling - simply, will the right technicians be selected, and if so will they arrive and complete their work on time?
This is as important for customer satisfaction as it is for maintaining a tight schedule and limiting unnecessary expenses. Second is real-time updates. If a technician finishes a job early or gets stuck in traffic, will the next customer in the queue receive a notification?
Furthermore, if a customer has extra information they’d like to communicate to the technician, can they send it directly to him or her without routing the message through a call centre?
Even simple messages that tell technicians, for example, what the code to a locked gate is or that the dog in the backyard is friendly can make all the difference in the timeliness and quality of a service call, but only if field-service providers open a direct line of communication between the customer and the tech.
#4 On-Site Repair
Once technicians arrive on-site, there are several key metrics that they and their employers ought to track:
- Preparedness: Does the tech have all the right information (and parts) necessary to complete the job on time?
- First-time-fix rate: the percentage of service requests resolved with a single technician visit.
- Time-to-repair: the average period of time it takes for a technician to repair a malfunctioning product.
- Time-on-site versus estimated: the difference between the estimated time-to-repair measurement and the actual repair time.
Field-service providers can use these measurements to assess the productivity and efficiency of their technicians as well as the effectiveness of their appointment workflows.
They can then fine-tune their processes and improve their service.
#5 Post-Service Engagement
Post-service engagement is the crucial last step in the field-service customer journey, which includes payment, customer satisfaction surveys, the ability to re-open a ticket, if necessary, and backend reporting.
By tracking order to cash (OTC), field-service companies can reduce the complexity in payment channels complicated by contract work, warranties claim management and sourcing parts.
And in a world where nearly 7 out of 10 customers leave reviews after purchasing products or services, channels for tabulating repeat services and gathering immediate feedback on services rendered can further provide valuable insight that field-service companies can act on immediately.
Samir Gulati, is Chief Marketing Officer, ServicePower
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