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5 Ways to Put Your Customers First in Your Field Service Organization

Field service software is becoming more advanced every day. It is impossible not to be impressed with systems like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service which provides leading-edge functionality such as IoT, AI, advanced analytics, and even mixed reality, all from a cloud-based platform.

The first impulse of many companies looking to deploy best-of-breed field service software may be to find ways to differentiate themselves in their markets by leveraging some of these awesome features. These capabilities provide a great opportunity to improve many aspects of an organization’s business, including operational efficiency and reduction of costs. However, when implementing a new field service solution, shouldn’t the focus be on improving the experience of your customers?

In today’s marketplace, the customer has become king. Word of mouth has always been important for developing business but the influence of social media on business has truly empowered the customer. Studies have shown that 90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. With the modern customer being more knowledgeable than ever before, online feedback is becoming more vital than ever.

According to a recent study, Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience. Furthermore, 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service. On the flipside, happily engaged customers will be the best representative of your brand, essentially turning good customer service into the most effective source of marketing.

The challenge facing businesses today is ensuring the customers’ needs are being met across the entire customer experience. This leads to formidable challenges for companies providing field service. That being said, attaining this level of customer satisfaction can become a top competitive advantage reflected on the bottom line.

You know that your employees, processes, and systems must all align with the customer’s needs when providing field service. Now, how can you attain this? Below are five areas of focus.

  1. Understand Your Customer’s Experience: Develop a Customer Journey Map that defines the experience your customer has with your organization from the point of initial contact, to establishing a business relationship, through ongoing business interactions during the business relationship. This exercise will help you understand how your customers are currently viewing your relationship and how it can be expanded to create the optimal experience for your customers. This optimized customer journey becomes the basis for determining which software solutions you purchase and provides a roadmap for how that software should be designed and deployed.
  2. Know Each Customer: Once you have established a typical experience, it is important that you get to know each customer and share this knowledge with your team.. This info can move you from a frustrated customer to a customer that feels valued. This is an area where implementing field service software with best-of-breed Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functionality can be leveraged. By providing all departments with a 360 degree view of customer, the team can see all order history, service tickets, work orders, and interactions from a single customer record. You can enhance this information with artificial intelligence capabilities to gain advanced insights into your customers and their needs.
  3. Arrive On Time: One of the biggest issues for field service customers is the inconvenience of waiting for a field representative that is late for a scheduled appointment. Utilizing a field service system that optimizes schedules around customer locations and route planning improves both the utilization and coordination of your field team. This not only improves the customer experience by reducing wait times, but also allows for higher job volumes and saves money by reducing fuel costs. Adding more value to the customer are solutions such as Glympse, which shares the location of the field rep with customers to enhance the customer service experience and reinforce the commitment to arriving to appointments on time. Customers can conveniently plan for their appointments and eliminate the mystery about when the rep will arrive.
  4. Technician is Prepared: Another source of customer frustration is when a technician shows up unprepared. This can make the representative and company not only look unprepared but even incompetent. The ability of a technician to complete quality service on a single visit or within the estimated duration will not only meet, but exceed customer expectations. This can be further enhanced with mixed reality where information is shared between remote subject matter experts and the on-site technicians, while staying heads-up with hands-free visibility. This leads to faster, more effective troubleshooting and ultimate resolution of the issue.
  5. Get Customer Feedback: Proactively getting feedback from customers not only provides valuable information for continuous improvement but also shows the customer that you value their satisfaction and input. This can be accomplished by incorporating customer survey capabilities into your system and processes.  These surveys can be triggered by relevant business triggers so they are sent in the right situations at the right time. Combining this with more personal interactions such as calling your customers to follow-up on a service call shows that you paid attention and genuinely care.

Tools that track and manage the sentiment from social media will help you proactively manage how your company is represented online. This allows companies to gather insights, monitor changes in sentiment, and build their brands.

Field service software has traditionally been an extension of ERP or accounting software. This provides solid capabilities for managing the transactions related to conducting a service call with functionality for products, pricing, inventory, and invoicing. However, these systems by nature do not have a customer focus. Utilization of field service systems that provide CRM functionality provide a platform to develop customer facing capabilities. However, if those systems are not built with a focus on the customer, the results can be the same — a system that addresses internal organizational needs but does little to improve the customers experience with the service being provided.

At Hitachi Solutions we combine a customer-focused approach with the extensive capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service. Dynamics 365 for Field Service is built on a customer-centric CRM platform while also providing best of breed Finance & Operations . Combining the Dynamics 365 for Field Service with Microsoft’s leading edge Azure Cloud Services, IOT integration, and the analytical power of Azure AI and Power BI capabilities provides a platform unmatched by a single vendor.