Since digital innovations have begun to deliver higher standards of customer service in some areas, consumers’ expectations have been raised across the board. Uber, in particular, has raised the bar for customer experience by delivering quick, reliable, on-demand services that are cheaper than the competition.

As consumers, we now want the same level of service when booking a doctor’s appointment, organizing internet service, finding a repairman to fix a broken washing machine, or even simply ordering a pizza.

What does this mean to deliver excellent field service? The service provider shows up on time, at the right location, they have the right skills, the right tools, and the right information to get the job done the first time.

Any company that provides services with field resources needs to take a look at Uber’s success in providing an outstanding customer experience – and consider how they can offer equivalent levels of service, because this is the new era of customer experience.  

There are three key ingredients for businesses looking to ‘Uberize’ the customer experience:

1. Real-time Booking With Full Visibility of ETA and Location

Providing an Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) and location tracking can be critical in creating a successful customer experience for anyone who has booked an appointment or service. These tools enable the customer to monitor the service provider’s location, as well as the internal workforce management (usually called the dispatcher). This tool makes the service more reliable to the customer and also makes the customer feel in control. Every time a customer opens the Uber app and books a driver, for example, they can see the driver heading towards the pick-up point. This is reducing the no-show rate from both sides (rider and driver) as it increases reliability.

2. Seamless Experience

By providing automated billing and payment, service providers can make transactions quick and seamless, creating a more pleasant and efficient user experience. In the case of Uber, billing is calculated automatically according to the driver’s GPS, and payment is managed by an online system. Uber charges the rider and pays the driver once the service is complete. The customer only needs to provide payment details once, when signing up for the service. Passengers can simply get out of the car when they arrive at their destination. Automated, cashless transactions can be utilized in many customer service contexts.

3. Rating System

Providing a rating system helps ensure high standards of service by building incentives to maintain excellence. In Uber’s model, riders and drivers can rate each other. Positive reviews help good drivers attract more customers while negative reviews can see them eliminated from the Uber community. Crucially, the rating system is a simple three-second effort meaning users are far more likely to participate. Many companies still ask users to complete surveys that take several minutes to complete and find their customers simply can’t be bothered. Having a rating system is a great way to ensure outstanding service, but it needs to be quick and easy.

While these three innovations can radically improve customer experience, there are also other, more advanced functionalities that will help to support the ‘Uberization’ of service delivery. They include:

· Variable Pricing: The price adjustment is done by surging on high demand and low ‘supply’ of drivers. Surge pricing could incentivize more drivers to be out on the road. This variable pricing benefits both drivers and riders at the same time.

In addition, by optimizing the driver's ride and reducing the off-trip time, Uber is able to drop prices in the transportation industry. This price drop gives Uber a big advantage over their competitors (taxis in Uber’s case).

·  Data-driven decisions: Uber provides great service by sending customers a driver with very quick/short SLA (from my personal experience, in some cities Uber can get you a driver within 5 minutes). They are able to do this by forecasting the demand and then balance supply and demand by routing drivers to areas with high demand.

The ‘Uberization’ process is already changing the way companies provide services to their customers. Any service provider should consider using similar innovations to deliver an outstanding model of customer service. For those who do not, they may find their market being disrupted, much like Uber has disrupted the taxi industry.

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