Every customer has felt the pain of scheduling a field service appointment: you’re put on hold, slotted into next week’s schedule, and told someone will come between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. In short, you’re subject to the inefficiencies of a reactive model in field service management.
Why can’t customers have a same-day asset installation experience like they do when they place an urgent order on Amazon or book an appointment seamlessly like a ride via Uber? When 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, field service teams must be proactive and put the customer in the driver’s seat with connected, consumer-like experiences.
In this article, you’ll learn how to establish a proactive model for customer engagement with a four-part roadmap for success:
Empower customers with self-service
Keep customers in the loop on service status
Deliver a seamless post-visit experience
Engage customers beyond when there’s an issue
Let’s buckle up and get started.
1. Let customers take the wheel with self-service
In the business world, customers want that same level of control, convenience, and flexibility they get as consumers. They’re accustomed to making appointments, placing orders, and receiving instant confirmation without ever having to look up from their phones.
Companies can offer a consumer-like experience with self-service capabilities to create and change requests as well as open the lines of communication across channels:
Create a customer portal. Through an easily accessible customer portal on your website, customers can book or update an appointment and access FAQs for common questions that may prevent the need to schedule an appointment.
Leverage chatbots. Customers want an instant response to their inquiries. Chatbots enabled on your site or customer portal can field common requests such as how to make an appointment or check a service request and create a seamless experience for the customer.
Provide visibility into service history. Use your customer portal as a one-stop-shop, not only for booking appointments but for service history and service-level agreements. Access to this information eliminates redundancies in problem-solving and the need for customers to call up for details.
2. Automate service status updates
Nothing is more frustrating for customers than having to call and ask where a mobile worker is or why they haven’t arrived yet. Reduce this friction by sending automated updates to customers via email, SMS, or the customer portal. Customers are notified when a mobile worker is nearby or if there are any delays. This improves satisfaction and reduces call volume for dispatchers.
3. Streamline the post-visit process
Customers may still receive a printout of services completed, but in today’s digital world, companies can automate the entire post-visit process with a list of services recorded in the customer portal. Offer a digital payment option so customers never have to mail a check or need to call to share their credit card number – and if they have a question or an issue, give them the ability to connect directly with agents through chat.
To close the feedback loop, reach out directly on their preferred channels or deploy an automated survey or questionnaire on everything from issue resolution to their experience with a mobile worker. This helps evolve staffing and training to better meet customer needs and address any issues head-on to maintain and build customer loyalty.
4. Keep customers engaged on an ongoing basis
Chances are, if it’s not broken, customers aren’t going to remember to fix it unless scheduled maintenance is a part of the equipment service contract. To stay proactive, use real-time data to understand asset condition and detect when it’s due for preventative maintenance or an upgrade. This information is used to automate timely notifications to customers across email, SMS, or the customer portal with updates and scheduling reminders. It’s helpful to customers, decreases costs, and continues engagement beyond the times when there’s a problem.
Are you ready to go the extra mile and improve customer engagement? Take the field service basics trail on Trailhead, our free learning tool, to learn how you can go from reactive to proactive and deliver the best customer experiences.