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Field Service and the Age of Consumer Self-Service

Field Service and the Age of Consumer Self-Service

Consumers today have high expectations of services and products and want to be empowered by self-service technology (often through mobile platforms). Whether it’s ordering a car ride service, booking air travel by themselves, or using a field service organization’s self-service customer solution, consumers want higher levels of control and visibility on when the service will be delivered – often with real-time updates. 

How are field service businesses adapting to meet these evolving customer expectations of fast, easy, and quality interactions with businesses and services?

Modern field service organizations realize the importance of driving excellent customer service via consumer self-service solutions. But the benefits are multi-fold; both consumers and businesses can benefit from positive outcomes when deploying self-service technologies. With economic fluctuations and an aging/retiring workforce, field service teams can lean on these technologies to reduce costs while improving customer excellence.

In this post, we’ll examine how the right field service self-service consumer solution can meet evolving consumers’ expectations, cut costs, improve customer retention, drive revenue, and more. 


Business challenges faced

Customers these days want to avoid talking and waiting on the phone with a call center when dealing with a business. The long wait time, the frequent complexity of waiting for the right representative to come on the line (sometimes it’s not even a real human but a computer), and the frustration of having to explain the problem multiple times to various call center representatives are all obstacles to a positive customer experience. The consequences of bad customer service are tangible. 65% of customers said they have changed to a different brand because of poor experience. (source: Khoros customer service stats of 2023)

Maintaining a call center is costly, requires endless training for the representatives who may not actually be a part of the business, and presents a risk to brand reputation.

What if the consumer wants to know the status of the deployed field tech? What if the consumer wants to reschedule or cancel the service call?

The traditional time-consuming and expensive manual process would involve the customer phoning the call center, with a rep then having to call the field tech to receive an update, and then report back to the customer. Overall, this process is not an ideal scenario and can negatively impact your brand.


Benefits of deploying a consumer self-service solution

Key benefits for consumers and field businesses include:

1. Creating a customer-first strategy

Consumer self-service solutions empower consumers to schedule/reschedule/cancel their own appointments, find answers, and check the status of scheduled field technicians via text or email. Placing the consumer at the center of this control shows how much your business cares and values their engagement while recognizing their evolving demands. Meanwhile, consumer self-service technology solutions can result in a 20% improvement in customer satisfaction.

2. Reduce inbound calls

As covered, maintaining or even partnering with a third-party call center can be costly. A consumer self-service portal helps reduce the number of inbound calls to the call center and decreases the need to hire additional staff. As your customer is empowered with self-service technology, you can potentially see a 70% reduction in call center volume.

3. Improve customer loyalty

Increased customer experience excellence is intrinsically tied to improving customer loyalty and retention. When consumers have a great experience with a field service organization, there’s a much greater chance that these customers remain long-tail customers. Furthermore, these loyal customers can share their positive experience with other potential new customers. In today’s economy, where customer experiences/reviews are critical to brand reputation, positive word-of-mouth marketing can go a long way. Research has shown that consumer self-service solutions can result in a 27% improvement in Net Promoter Score (NPS), a common metric to measure the loyalty of customers to a company.

4. Increased revenue

Overall, customer satisfaction and customer retention help drive corporate profitability; in fact, a 5% increase in customer retention can potentially increase company revenue by 25-95%, according to HubSpot Research.


Evaluating solutions

While it might be tempting to build your own consumer self-service portal, by doing so you run the risk of creating a solution without all the necessary features/functions due to lack of deep industry technology expertise. Also, the ad-hoc solution may be a combination of disparate solutions and may not be user friendly for the end user; in addition, the cost to maintain the system can be significant. Furthermore, while there are various marketplace solutions, not all of these self-service customer solutions are created specifically for the unique needs of field service management.

Here’s what to look for when selecting a field service management consumer self-service solution:

  • Easy-to-use interface for the consumer
  • Field service tech location tracking
  • Website and mobile platform alignment
  • Appointment confirmation by email or text
  • Real-time, triggered status updates
  • Personalized digital consumer experiences
  • Configurable portal for your business brand
  • Proactive, customizable notifications and responses


The age of consumer self-service

Consumers demand fast, easy, and quality interactions with businesses and services. The main drivers of this trend are based on massive consumer digital adoption (typically mobile platforms) paired with expectations of immediacy. In short, consumers want excellent customer service and higher levels of control and visibility. To stay agile with evolving customer expectations – as well as changing economic and workforce variables --- businesses need to adapt to these expectations.

ServicePower is a pioneer in developing innovative self-service technology solutions for consumers as well as field service workers. Its solutions meet the evaluation criteria and more.

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