Arriving in Style
If everything has gone correctly, your team should arrive well-equipped, well-hydrated and perfectly on-time. This puts you in the perfect position to provide service in style. If your team has succeeded or lucked out so that they are ahead of schedule, it depends on the customer whether or not it is better to appear early. When confirming the final schedule, consider checking with customers to discover if they would prefer an early arrival or are counting on the scheduled time. Make a note in the work order instructions so your team knows whether to hang out for a few minutes or get to a customer as quickly as possible.
Estimates and Invoicing
Competitive Estimates and Expectation Management
When it comes to estimates, there are two kinds of field service customers: those who compare estimates and those who don't. To win the business of cost-savvy customers, it is important to have competitive prices, especially at the basic service level. However, customers are more likely to be unhappy after service if their invoice sports a collection of unexpected additional costs.
While it may be tempting to try and win more business by only listing your lowest prices, it is more honest and ultimately more successful to be transparent about what customers should realistically expect. This is known as expectations management. There are several ways to remain competitive and transparent at the same time. Your best approach is to be very clear with your customers about what the base pricing is, what if any likely additional costs will be, and the costs of any unexpected complications.
Try to get a clear idea of what the customer needs before giving a final estimate. If they are cooperative and have a little time, as them for details like the model of an appliance that needs repairing, the exact problems they've been having, and so on. This will put you in the best position to give them an accurate estimate.
A "No-Surprises Invoice" Improves Customer Satisfaction Ratings
Never ever let the invoice be a surprise to your customers. If there is some reason their invoice will be more costly than the given estimate, make sure your team has talked to them about it before the invoice is received. In some cases, you may want to get permission to provide additional service in case the customer is already tightly budgeted. Whatever you do, don't let them experience 'sticker shock' at the final printed price. Even if you do your best giving an accurate estimate, the second half of expectations management is avoiding surprise. Break additional costs to them gently and give them an opportunity to celebrate a lower-than-expected cost with your team.
Paper or Electronic Invoices
Handing your customer a printed invoice is field service tradition, but it does require a certain amount of hassle unless their estimate is so rock-solid that the invoice can be printed back at the office. Otherwise, you will need a portable printer set up in the vehicle and to take the time to print before a work order is complete. That said, most people handle the majority of their paperwork online now so switching to a fully digital invoicing system is incredibly viable. If you do still hand out paper invoices, you may also want to back up this practice with a friendly email receipt for your customer's digital records. With the right mobile software, you can combine the tradition of handing over an invoice and the practicality of digital invoicing in simple steps that end up saving you time and money and increasing customer satisfaction.Successfully managing your field service business requires great organization, oversight, and planning. While there will always be the occasional circumstance that is out of your control, your teams will have the best chance of handling the unexpected events smoothly when everything is properly planned and implemented - that usually means utilizing software that can automate many of these manual processes for you. For more information on ServicePower's unified platform of FSM technology and tools to improve your field service business management, contact us today!