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The Time Is Now to Reimagine Field Service in the Appointment Economy

We all can appreciate that time is money. But when it comes to field service, our processes may be communicating to customers that their time is not as valuable as our own. 

Digital adoption has radically accelerated for businesses and customers alike, and the playing field is leveling. Standards and expectations have changed. Customers are learning the value of their time when it comes to service and support. 

There’s good news. The latest advancements in service technologies facilitate scheduling for optimized customer (and company) field engagements and also set the stage to deliver better end-user experiences. Resources can be freed to reimagine customer engagement in the last mile so executives can focus on delivering exceptional experiences and fostering loyalty.

Let’s not kid ourselves: before the pandemic, customers had no choice but to endure gigantic lines for specific services or long wait time windows for in-home or in-office visits. Now, everything has changed. Time takes on a more significant connotation. Time is not only money, these days, dedicating blocks of time to take care of things is also more difficult, scarce, and coveted. Time becomes currency.

That’s why we believe that convenience, efficiency, and experiences are the next competitive advantage, giving rise to what we call the “Appointment Economy.” 

“we believe that convenience, efficiency, and experiences are the next competitive advantage”

Brian Solis, Global Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce

In this economy, appointments-as-a-service conveys that both customers’ and experts’ time is valuable. As the world starts to open up, digital-first behaviors will continue to grow, and personalization will be recognized among the most precious of CX commodities.

Salesforce recently conducted research to help companies schedule, streamline, and personalize customer engagement in the last mile. In the process, we identified the opportunity for companies to reimagine field service in the appointment economy. We also created a handy infographic that translates customer expectations into an outline toward field service innovation:

Reimagine Field Service and the last-mile experience for digital-first customers 

Ultimately, understanding what field service can look like in a digital-first world is better for companies, and it’s better for customers. Here’s six tips to get you started.

  1. Invest in the capacity for real-time scheduling and analytics. 
  2. Facilitate easy, digital-first self-service for scheduling, rescheduling, and cancelling appointments. 
  3. Integrate automation, self-service channels and chatbots to handle the brunt of what’s needed today. 
  4. Make experiences part of the unified experience for customers, with digital at the core of engagement. 
  5. Follow up with personalized engagement and gratitude. 
  6. Use insights to predict the future.

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