Customers Play a Role In their Own Satisfaction: Partnerships in Quality Field Service and Support.

Mar 19, 2019 • FeaturesAly PinderIDCCustomer Satisfaction and Expectations

According to research from IDC 30% of manufacturers will soon provide personalized dashboards for customers by 2023 which could lead to a new era of customer satisfaction: customer collaboration. Aly Pinder explores the potential of this evolution. 

What role does the customer play in their own service experience? If we were to think back a few years or decades the answer would be minimal. Historically, the service organization or manufacturer held the keys to a customer’s happiness and satisfaction.

Show up, preferably on time, with the answer to resolve the issue was the main goal. If the issue were resolved the customer was happy and vice versa. But as most of the world is now accustomed to on-demand experiences and collaborative interactions with peers, manufacturers, and technology platforms this model is changing. IDC predicts that resulting from demand for hyper-customized customer experiences, 30% of manufacturers will provide personalized dashboards for customers to schedule service, learn about products, and collaborate by 2023. Customers now can create their own experiences and in turn their level of satisfaction with their expected outcomes.

This isn’t to say that the manufacturer is completely absolved of responsibility to have knowledgeable technicians, reliable products, and efficient processes to support a quality service experience, but a good service experience is evolving and has become inclusive of customers, partners, and other stakeholders. Customers can and will continue to play a bigger role in the experiences they create for themselves and the impact they will have on quality service. From their level of engagement to the access they allow manufacturers to use the data that is created customers will only become more relevant for the future of service excellence. Below are a few ways I see customers impacting the service experience in 2019 and beyond.

Customers are invested in your success but have options
Engaging customers in their own experiences with service is not only a way to balance risk and the cost of service, but ensuring customers have a reason to stay with you. Competition for service has never been higher, no longer is the manufacturer the sole provider of service for a customer. Third parties are nothing new, but they have become more viable in their ability to deliver quality, timely service on a variety of products and equipment types. Therefore, manufacturers must innovate the ways in which they build bonds with customers going beyond the suggestion that “you bought it from us, so you must sign a service contract”.

"Customers can and will continue to play a bigger role in the experiences they create for themselves..."

A personalized dashboard which integrates with suggested new services or products, creates a community of user-driven content, and boosts the customer’s performance in KPI that matter to them is one way to create longer lasting customer partnerships.

Expectations change and manufacturers need to evolve at faster pace
Not much is more frustrating than providing feedback in a survey and seemingly having that information go into a blackhole not used by the those who administered the survey. Customers are very willing to give manufacturers feedback as we have seen an influx of customer advisory forums, social interactions, and other channels of insight. But too often this is used as a marketing tool and not as a path to tailor future products, service, and experiences because of this intelligence.

As customers provide manufacturers with insight into what they value and how they want to be interacted with, it is imperative that this information leads to improvements as this is the customer taking the time to involve themselves in their own service experience.

Connected products must enable intelligence and customized experiences
The number of connected products and devices will only continue to grow, but unfortunately, we still lag well behind the promise of this future. Data from connected products too often is just stored in the cloud used by just a few when the ability for this insight to trigger new and valuable experiences is plentiful.

Customers through their usage and behaviour data have provided manufacturers and service organizations with a treasure trove of insights that must be leveraged to enhance on-going experiences.

Customers shouldn’t just be an open wallet or an email address. As much as customers of the future are a wealth of data points they also have a growing willingness to be a part of the experiences that are delivered to them. Not engaging them in a true partnership of shared experiences, shared benefits, and shared goals is a missed opportunity that won’t be sustainable in our shared futures.

Aly Pinder is Program Director at IDC.