What is the Customer Experience?
While customer experience is a popular phrase, it's often used incorrectly or confused with customer service. Let's clarify exactly what customer experience is: Customer experience refers to how a customer perceives the sum total of their interactions with your company. It is comprised of three main components: customer service, technology, and design. In the field service industry, this consists of the entire customer journey, ranging from requesting maintenance, scheduling service with a call center or through a self-service customer portal, communicating with the field technicians, payment, possible upselling, and follow-up.
The Importance of Your Customer Experience
Companies that deliver field-based services have always understood that their customers, due to the nature of the business, expect a certain level of service. Is the customer experience important in other industries, perhaps auto sales or real estate? Yes, and it always has been, but now customer experience is increasingly taking a front seat in service as well.
We have all experienced this, that coffee shop where you pay a little more but the atmosphere and people are worth every extra cent. The grocery store of choice, not because of price or product but because the deli guy is always so helpful and the service is amazing. Haven't we all made a conscious decision to pay a little extra because of how we felt, how we were treated - because of our own customer experience?
Customer service is meeting the needs of your customer, the demands of the job. At one time there was no rival against price or product. Some companies made the best cars, some companies made the best televisions, refrigerators...you name it. Today, the quality of products produced in essentially every industry is of comparable quality to every other. The internet and the cyber-marketplace have had the same impact on pricing, now the difference in price that used to be dollars is now cents. That left one factor in the control of business owners - customer service.
It wasn't long before the leading companies recognized this, and none sooner than those who relied on field-based services. That meant going beyond customer service in the call center.
How to Improve Your Customer Experience
89% of businesses are being projected to spend the majority of their focus and resources on improving the customer experience. This denotes a recognition by companies from every industry, that there is a new business priority quickly taking shape.
In order to improve your customer experience, you need to focus on advancing your customer service, technology, and design. While these three components differ, they're also quite integrated as you'll see.
Customer service is defined as the assistance that your company provides your customers. This assistance can take place in person, over the phone, or through a web or mobile application. Regardless of the method of assistance, the end goal is to resolve a customer's issue as effectively and productively as possible while making customers feel heard and respected. With technicians spending the most time with customers in the field service industry, vetting, onboarding, and training technicians to provide positive customer service are critical for success.
As the digital transformation sweeps through the field service industry, technology plays an increasingly large role in the modern field service customer experience. Customers these days expect companies to provide easy-to-use mobile apps with self-service capabilities. When a company does not provide up-to-date technology and expects customers to pick up a phone, call the office, and possibly wait on hold, there's a serious problem with the customer experience. Likewise, if there isn't alignment between the design of the interface and the company's branding, it can cause confusion or frustration for the customer. Ensuring a unified brand experience is important for removing friction from the customer experience, and that's where white-labeling comes in. When a company uses a field service app that offers high-quality white-labeling, the customer is secure in knowing they're on the right website, using the right application, and will feel a lot more comfortable inputting any personal data.
Benefits of a Positive Customer Experience
67% of consumers list bad customer experience as one of the primary reasons for churning. The simplest and most honest way to decipher that statistic is to say that these were customers who were not satisfied. The entire goal of the customer experience is to create a satisfied customer. Customer satisfaction equates to return customers. It transforms customers into clients, and most importantly it increases company revenue.
Conversely, providing a positive customer experience can improve customer retention, maximize time to ROI, and help turn your organization into a profit center.
Continue improving your customer service and explore the top 5 tips to improve communication with field technicians.