field technician
Field technicians, with their direct contact with customers, now play the part of brand ambassador as well as service provider PHOTO: Jorge Gonzalez

Remember when our idea of customer service was one touch point, a call center which allowed for limited customer interactions?

Fast forward to today, and what used to be thought of as customer service is now just a piece of the overall customer experience. Technology adoption at service-oriented retailers such as Amazon, are driving expectations across the board and shaking things up in the field service industry.

Putting the Service in Field Service Calls

Positive customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for service-related industries. From cable and utilities, to energy and HVAC, customer experience has become one of the top priorities in industrial enterprise. 

Modern-day customers expect and demand high levels of real-time visibility, communication and control over their interactions with their service providers. Field service companies today need to deliver on expectations across the entire experience — a major shift in thinking from the old paradigms of customer service.

Empowering Customers Through Technology 

When customers can arrange their own appointments, gain access to the field technician’s estimated time of arrival and monitor progress to a satisfactory resolution, field service organizations are more likely to see repeat business and benefit from referrals. 

Today, many field service organizations equip their technicians in the field with mobile devices, whose enterprise-grade applications allow for full data collection and ways to empower customer interactions with that data.

For example, the technician leaves the service call site and within minutes, the customer receives a service report with photos that documents all the work carried out and provides the customer with the opportunity to provide ratings and feedback. A wonderful customer experience!

Mobile Service Strategies to the Rescue

There are other ways mobile strategies can empower utilities and other industrial enterprises in improving their customer experiences and building stronger relationships:

  • Customers can get urgent appointments faster with shorter time windows, since mobile scheduling apps give dispatchers greater flexibility to dynamically schedule or reroute technicians.
  • Access to customer and equipment histories can give technicians additional input regarding particular jobs, which can improve first-time fix rates.
  • Technicians can order the necessary parts online or from an app, while still at the customer’s house or office.
  • Connections to dispatchers, engineers and support staff enable technicians to make better and more agile field decisions.
  • Information captured by techs can be shared in near real-time with marketing and sales teams for appropriate customer follow-up.

Technicians as Brand Ambassadors

When the customer can easily get a tech to the job site promptly, get a repair completed competently and get the repair information preserved for any future needs, the technician becomes a brand ambassador, even if we are talking about a utility company. And every one of the technician’s actions creates a positive association in the customer’s mind.

Many field service management solutions are well advanced, with capabilities that let organizations concentrate heavily on customer experience. But first, there is a need for organizations to understand what their customers’ preferences are when it comes to communication and service expectations. 

Envisioning IoT-Driven Service Solutions

The future vision is one enhanced with sensors feeding streams of data from assets, as well as IoT capabilities to track serviceable assets and service vehicles. By tracking service vehicles, customers can get greater transparency into the technician’s location, and timely adjustments can be made to service appointments if the technician is running late. 

Use of IoT will result in quick diagnosis and resolution of issues, allowing field technicians to seize on opportunities to improve customer experience. However, the challenge remains in collecting disparate information and combining it into a single coherent — and actionable — view of the customer.

A Vital, but Overlooked CX Opportunity

Technology is transforming customer experience. Every single customer interaction matters and is a competitive differentiator. Field service organizations that channel customer needs during repair processes and can harness technology to solve repair problems quickly and thoroughly, will position themselves for success in a vital but often overlooked area of customer experience.