The COVID-19 crisis began while we were already evolving in a dynamic economic landscape. In an economic climate where customer expectations are constantly rising, delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX) should be a top priority for businesses in every niche. 

So how does field service management connect with improving CX? Salesforce surveyed business leaders from some of Belgium’s top enterprises about Field Service experience, and the results are illuminating.

 

Why is Field Service Management important?

We’ve had no option but to re-examine our business models in the light of global events, and more and more businesses are moving towards service-based models. Customer retention is now king, more so even than customer acquisition, and it’s no surprise that CX and field service plays a major role in this.

One of the main takeaways to come out of the COVID-19 crisis is customers’ desire for connected, satisfying, frictionless experiences. In this time of tremendous change, businesses are faced with many challenges, including how to continue to serve their customers in a consistent, personalised way across all touchpoints, and enable their service organisation to work no matter where they are. 

We’ve seen COVID-related innovations connected to safety and interactive visual tools for mobile workers, across all industries. These are likely to remain permanent, giving the enterprises that implemented them a competitive edge. For example:

  • 72% of Belgium enterprises have increased safety standards since the pandemic began.

  • 56% of Belgium enterprises have pivoted business and/or operational models.

  • 20% of Belgium enterprises report an increased use of video-based support. 


In this complex landscape, field service management is crucial. It can make the difference between great CX that keeps your customers coming back for more, and poor CX that shrinks your customer base. Pivoting towards a services-based business model will require a transformative technology-driven approach, so it’s important to approach any change with all the relevant information to hand. 

 

Field Service Management challenges

If field service management isn’t executed well, there can be setbacks to both customers and employees. 

Customers: 

  • Long waiting times

  • Slow and inaccurate communication

  • Engineers that aren’t fully briefed on their situation

  • The need for return visits


These issues all increase the possibility of your customers choosing a competitor next time. 32% of Belgium enterprises report having difficulty integrating digital tools that support the connection between field technicians and contact centres, tools that could help prevent missed appointments and delays. Implementing the right technology, and ensuring timely, corrective actions through knowledgeable, empathetic service engineers improves the customer/business relationship and boosts brand loyalty.

Employees:

  • Engineers not feeling informed and in control of their working day.

  • Arriving late (or not at all) due to problems on previous jobs, and bearing the brunt of the customers’ frustration. 


Field service engineers should be seen as brand ambassadors, and a complex mixture of their availability, timeliness, technical skills, appearance, demeanour, and people skills all add to CX. Not completing jobs to their satisfaction affects engineers’ health, mental welfare, relationships with managers, and sense of belonging — and, most importantly the energy and enthusiasm with which they engage with customers.

  • 42% of Belgium enterprises report managing/tracking a dispersed workforce a primary challenge

  • 32% of Belgium enterprises report hiring new employees a primary challenge

 

How to smarten up your Field Service Management

Marketing intelligence experts International Data Corporation (IDC) uses these five steps of maturity to measure how enterprises compare in strategic areas:

  • Ad-hoc:  manual processes and frustrated customers

  • Opportunistic: manual processes and frustrated customers

  • Repeatable: making the best of siloed solutions

  • Managed: customer and staff at the centre of mobile force management

  • Optimised: value-adding service


Belgium-based enterprises are rapidly climbing the maturity ladder of field service management, with around half of those surveyed already operating at either managed or optimised maturity.

Automation and integration are where opportunities lie in Belgium, and focussing on these two factors will help enterprises create a more agile IT environment and a better managed mobile workforce. It should also make it easier to integrate digital tools, particularly those that better inform field workers and connect them with contact centres. COVID-related innovations are likely to remain permanent, boosting overall competitiveness in the market.

 

Focussing on Field Service Management will boost customer engagement

Despite the major role field service plays in CX, customer engagement, and customer retention, it’s often overlooked as an organisational priority. With 86% of customers saying that service is now as important as the product and 80% of vendor executives recognising CX as a high priority business agenda item and a key competitive differentiator, focussing on field service management should be a priority for Belgian enterprises.


Check out the IDC report, ‘How to Transform Field Service Delivery Into Impactful Customer Value’, to find out more about delighting your customers through digital transformation and field service software.