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Balancing Field Service and Customer Experience in COVID-19

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the country, the field service industry is still actively working to provide solutions for its customers and employees. Balancing customer experience and proper field service work has never been more difficult. The service industry has previously thrived on its face-to-face interaction in the field. However, even before the coronavirus pandemic, workforce management companies had noticed an upward trend in the use of AI, remote technology and perfecting data collection.

So although the in-person experience of field service management had led to its original success, some customers may now prefer virtual engagements, causing companies to rethink the way they achieve customer satisfaction. 

How do you go about providing excellent customer service while also keeping the satisfaction of your field service technicians alive? 

According to research by Deloitte, delivering a positive customer experience can reduce your cost to serve customers by up to 33%; moreover, customers who enjoy positive experiences are likely to spend 140% more than customers who report negative experiences and are likely to remain customers for five years or longer than those with negative experiences.

During a crisis, your field service technicians are interacting with customers in high-stress and impressionable situations, so there is little room for error. So how do we delight them, even when face-to-face interaction is minimal?

 Making Virtual Experiences a Positive Customer Experience

Just because the world has gone virtual, doesn’t mean customer experience goes out the window. Whether it is through email, text or video chat, there are plenty of ways to effectively communicate between techs and customers. There are several tools workforce management companies can use to provide a positive customer experience while also getting the job done, totally virtual. 

Increase First Contact Resolution

Service needs can vary depending on the case but aiming to resolve the less complex issues the first time around is key. You can enhance the quality of service and outcomes through in-field triage with tools like smart service.

Not to mention, improving your first time fix rate saves money and increases customer satisfaction. This time should absolutely be used to monitor and perfect that first time fix rate.

By empowering your technicians with the decision making and authority to drive ownership, they are able to use their skills and resources to ensure a quick resolution that is right the first time. 

Maximize Customer Engagement

Providing a self-service consumer portal provides for a great customer experience at any time on any given device. 

In the modern business market, a customer portal is no longer a special feature, it is a staple for any customer-centric solution. For instance, in the United States, 88% of customers expect brands to have an online self-service customer portal.

Having a customer portal provides many benefits. It can reduce costs while also improving productivity. The increase in visibility and the access to data make customers feel like they are in control of the situation and makes them feel less in the dark on where their problem resolution lies. Customers can also upload pictures and videos of the failure enabling techs to see the issue prior to the service event. 

Access to this portal allows for better communication, both internally and with the customers, so that plans can be changed quickly and easily. Plus, customer portals allow for instantaneous online payments, making sure the money is back into your hands as soon as possible.

Use IoT for Predictive Maintenance Solutions

Even after this pandemic is over, the future of service models are changing. Organizations are moving towards more planned and predictive models. IoT solutions use connected device data to identify pre-failure conditions and deliver predictive maintenance.  Using IoT can also eliminate downtime by streamlining workflow and reduce costs by ensuring the right technician is being dispatched with the right parts for the job. 

IoT enablement can better wrangle historical data and has the ability to monitor and react to IoT and machine outputs effectively. You can support a customer before they even realize they need you, and that is the ultimate customer service.

Continue to be Flexible

As new challenges arrive daily, your internal processes must adapt to protect the safety of your customer and your technicians. Outdated operations can severely slow down the process and frustrate both customer and field service providers.

Using a scheduling and route optimization software dynamically changes business rules to exclude in-person visits for geographical hotspots for COVID-19 and provides the safest most effective routes for your technicians. Less time on the road means the likelihood that a car will be less likely to need servicing due to overuse or an accident. Monitoring for COVID-19 hotspots also puts your employees and customers at ease about possibly contracting the virus in the process.

Scheduling and route optimization software can assist in achieving consistent customer outcomes, improved productivity at a lower cost and increased visibility. 

Customer experience is critical to sustaining the growth of a company by helping retain revenue and earn new customers. By building positive relationships with your customers and fostering brand loyalty and affinity, you can encourage positive customer reviews and can develop a significant reputation in your field. Customers are your best resource for increasing brand awareness in a positive light, and this influence should not be underestimated. With a positive emotional experience, customers are six times more likely to buy, twelve times more likely to recommend the company and five times more likely to forgive a mistake.

Tools like Predictive Analytics have the potential to be a massive game-changer in the field service industries. Workforce management companies that tap into its strength can be sure to meet their customer expectations. With the inevitable growth of AI, IoT and other innovations, there are plenty of ways that predictive analytics can and will transform the way field service management is run today. 

Although we are living in unprecedented times, there are tools available to help your business continue to grow during this pandemic. It is important to adjust to the new normal and keep both employees and customers safe. 

Learn more about how ServicePower can help you empower your technicians and improve customer satisfaction with our multifaceted solutions. 

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