Any successful field service company knows that the key to success has always been customer satisfaction. Happy customers are sure to be loyal customers. And they are also more likely to refer a service provider that offers reliable, effective, and quick responses and solutions. However, one of the biggest mistakes a field service provider can make is to assume that customers are satisfied and happy with the same kind of service as 25, 10 even 5 years ago.
The digital age has afforded a number of opportunities to improve the customer and service technician experience. These are the five pitfalls you should avoid so as not to derail your field service business:
1. Going it blind: Not having a strategy
The service sector is being rapidly reshaped by digital solutions. From IoT to artificial intelligence to augmented reality, digital innovations are offering field service providers an opportunity to provide faster, more effective, real-time responses to customer demands. However, it would be premature and risky to begin integrating digital technologies without a strategy.
Having a comprehensive overview of your business and the different areas where you can implement digital solutions will save you the hassle and cost of having to adjust and adapt your software and devices at a later point. For example, if you are hoping to integrate field service management software, it should be compatible with your CRM and ERP systems. If you intend to provide predictive maintenance, you’ll need an IoT-powered solution that lets sensors communicate with company’s and technicians’ backend and mobile devices. If you want to empower your customers and give them more control over their service experience, you’ll want to consider the myriad self-service options.
Digitalization is not just about eliminating paper and transitioning to mobile phones and tablets. Investing the time and money from the start will amount to a huge savings later.
2. Underestimating value: Forgetting your technicians
Your technicians are the most vital point of contact for your customers. They are the ones literally fielding all questions and concerns. As such, they are best situated to know what improvements could be made to create a more seamless field service experience. They also know what customers really want and need. This makes it possible to anticipate and instigate future sales and repairs.
However, service technicians need to be informed themselves in order to help customers. The tools they rely on have to be dependable, give them access to all relevant company and customer knowledge, offer real-time updates, and be readily accessible. Service technicians who are equipped for the job can work more quickly and promise a higher first-time-fix rate. This not only makes their work experience more positive, it also improves the customer service experience.
Digitalization is a change process so it is essential that everyone be involved. Given their firsthand, onsite experience, field service technicians can contribute valuable expertise to the planning of your digital strategy. They know what processes can best be digitalized to save time and money. And they can suggest what problems customers might be able to solve on their own with a customer self-service solution.
3. Missing the moment: Waiting too long to go digital
The digital transformation has made it easier for new business models to emerge. Disruptors, not hindered by complex corporate hierarchies, are introducing new products at an unprecedented pace. And more often than not, their solutions are more affordable, leaner, and faster. That is why it is essential for established service providers to initiate their own concepts for digitalization before disruptors have an opportunity to completely flood the market and set the norms and standards.
The winner takes all! If disruptors are able to penetrate your customer base, your customers will be more likely to turn to them for other products and services. Ensure that your customers do not have to look elsewhere!
4. Going it alone: Ignoring potential for ecosystems
The agility of digital business models makes it easier to form valuable partnerships with other companies in horizontal and vertical markets to create entirely new business sectors. This has frequently been evidenced by platform economies. One example being the business partnership between digital music service Spotify and coffee chain Starbucks. By allowing customers at Starbucks to identify and save Spotify playlists they hear while at the one of the company’s cafes, the two companies were able to tap into each other’s customer bases.
Not only does creating ecosystems make it easier for companies to expand their clientele, it also gives them access to expertise they otherwise would not have. This is the case with Crowd Services. Field service providers who want to expand their workforce are resorting to Crowds, a pool of technicians consisting of their own employees, partners, subcontractors, and freelancers. This expanded network of skilled workers raises the probability that service companies will have the right specialist on hand to tackle any customer demand.
5. Looking to the past: Stunting innovation
Any service company arguing that digitalization is too expensive and too much effort has not evaluated the exorbitant price of not digitalizing. Thinking that digitalization is merely a hype is a dangerous misconception. Customer expectations have shifted dramatically in the past ten years. Gone is the day when customers were willing to accept long wait times, unexpected delays, extensive unproductive downtimes, and any general lack of efficiency.
Companies need digitalization to provide immediate responses, real-time updates, instantaneous invoices, predictive maintenance, crowd service solutions, and more. And these services are all becoming standards in the field service sector. Not having the infrastructure to provide them will make a field service provider obsolete. In the very near future. Not being prepared to upgrade to digital is akin to corporate suicide.
The best advice would be to gather all your stakeholders -service technicians, back office staff, sales and marketing representatives, and management - to determine what solutions are necessary and viable and will contribute to sustainable business growth. Having a comprehensive overview will give you the information you need to design the tools to propel you forward!
For more information on the Crowd Service innovation and how it can make your company more reliable, fast, and effective, check out our white paper: