Field service companies looking to improve their value, grow their revenue, and become a trusted resource in the industry need to start focusing on their customer retention now. Moreover, without a customer retention strategy in place, it will be very difficult to stay competitive in this customer-centric landscape.
This blog will cover customer retention basics, and explain how field service companies can actively improve their customer retention moving forward.
What is Customer Retention?
Customer retention is the ability of a company to increase the number of repeat customers and increase the profitability of each existing customer. Likewise, customer retention can be calculated like this:
Number of customers at end of the period - Number of customers acquired during period /
Number of customers at the start of period x 100
When calculating customer retention rates in the field service industry, it’s important to establish a time frame that is long enough to cover expected service periods based on a company’s current customer base.
Why is Customer Retention so Important?
Customer retention is extremely important to the success of a field service business because it illustrates a company’s ability to provide a positive customer experience and to increase revenue. Moreover, a positive customer experience and a strong revenue stream are significant factors in business success for the following reasons:
- With a positive customer 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.
- By increasing customer retention by 5%, a company can increase profitability by 25-95%.
The opportunity cost of not retaining customers is quite high and can be the difference between success and failure in the long run. This means that field service companies should be paying close attention to their customer experience and customer retention strategies.
What is a Customer Retention Strategy?
A customer retention strategy is a collection of activities and processes that a business uses to convince their customers to become repeat customers and also pay an increasing amount of money over time. A customer retention strategy starts with the first interaction between a company and a customer and continues throughout the duration of a customer’s relationship with the company.
How Do You Retain Customers in the Field Service Industry?
With so much at stake, field service companies must actively work to improve their customer retention strategies. However, customer retention is not a one-sided process, and it relies heavily on a field service company providing a valuable service offering, a positive customer experience, and building an effective relationship with each customer.
Luckily, there are three main ways for field service companies to improve all of these customer retention strategies and secure their success moving forward.
- Improve Response Times
When a customer experiences an issue and reaches out to a field service company for assistance, the clock has already started ticking. This means that every minute counts for customer retention, especially when a customer is dealing with a critical appliance or home system being down.
In order to improve response times and fix the issue in a timely manner, field service companies need a digital solution that leverages AI-driven scheduling, routing, and inventory management. By automating scheduling and dispatching, field service companies can make sure that a qualified technician is available and dispatched for each job as soon as possible. With real-time route optimization and inventory management, technicians can quickly access the tools they need to complete the job and make sure that they arrive on time. In addition, customers can view the technician’s real-time location, so they know exactly when to expect help to arrive. Providing customers with visibility into the situation and getting a technician on-site are both important, but the quality of service provided once the technician is there is also important.
- Increase First-Time Fix Rate
A field service company’s first-time fix-rate is a strong indicator of the quality of service provided to their customers. For instance, a low first-time fix-rate means that the majority of service jobs are not completed on the first try. This strands customers for longer periods of time without working appliances and systems, and creates a need for repeat service jobs. Not only does this waste company time and resources, but it also degrades the quality of service and the customer experience.
Aberdeen found that 57% of customers want better first-time fix-rates. By focusing on increasing first-time fix-rates, a field service company can provide their customers with exactly what they want- high-quality service. Field service management software can help field service companies improve their first-time fix-rates, ensuring that the best technician is dispatched for each job, with the information and tools necessary to fix the problem the first time around.
- Provide Self-Service Customer Portal
A self-service customer portal is one of the top five trends in the field service industry in 2021, and for a good reason. Customer portals empower customers to take control of their own experience, allowing them to seamlessly report an issue, schedule a repair, track the status of their service, and communicate with technicians in real-time.
With 88% of American customers expecting brands to have a self-service customer portal, this is a trend that field service companies need to adopt as soon as possible. Moreover, by providing customers with the digital tools they need to facilitate a positive customer experience, field service companies can start improving their customer retention rate.
Customer retention is a key aspect of success in the field service industry, and every forward-thinking field service company should be measuring their customer retention rate and actively working to improve it over time. Likewise, there are three main ways field service companies can upgrade their customer retention strategies:
- Improving service response times
- Increasing first-time fix-rate
- Providing a self-service customer portal
By focusing on these three areas field service companies can provide a valuable service offering, a positive customer experience, and build an effective relationship with each customer.
ServicePower’s field service management suite has been helping field service companies improve their customer retention rates for years.