Imagine you’ve just purchased an Internet-connected smart TV and want to use it as a second monitor for your laptop computer. You try and try to get your laptop and TV to connect to each other, but they just won’t. Now imagine that after a few failed attempts, a video pops up on your TV that walks you through the steps of what to do to get your laptop connected.
While technology can help customers, it can also make field service tech's lives easier by giving them the tools they need to deliver great customer service.
What’s the future of field service? It may or may not be something like this envisioned TV/laptop connection scenario, but new technologies are being developed that can give us a glimpse at how field service will become more and more integrated. According to a PwC report "(...) the next-generation customer experience requires innovation in service and support accross all access channels - contact center, web, mobile, social, email and face to face." Here are a few technologies that according to PwC will create a digital ecoystem reality in customer service.
Like, the smart TV mentioned earlier, many business websites have “live chat” pop-up features that appear when you’ve spent a long time browsing a help or product order window. In the future, more companies will begin to equip their products with intelligent support that’s connected to the Internet via sensors. These triggers will simplify how customers interact and communicate with customer service for example by having service come to them on their chosen device.
eCommerce for Service
Customers today want service on-demand. So what if customers could order up support as easily as they can order shoes online? Services like Swisscom Friends, for example, are offering customers the option to request and pay for services online when and where they want. This quick and flexible service is enabled by an external crowd that can react quickly to customer requests. Service should be as easy and convenient to order as purchasing items from an ecommerce site like Zappos.
Identity-Driven Web Service
Field service software equips techs to deliver great service because it collects all of the information about a customer and their service history in one place. More companies will start to utilize customers’ direct and indirect information, such as social media mentions, web log-ins, past purchases, and other online activity, to better understand the customer as an individual and provide more personalized service. Companies will be able to better anticipate their customers’ needs based on this individualized information.
Though many companies are using predictive analytics and big data to proactively help customers, remote diagnostics provide a way to help customers, before they even realize they need help. Machines equipped with smart sensors can not only notice a problem, but also alert the manufacturer that there’s an issue. Even more advanced machines can fix themselves so there’s no need to send a technician for a service call on that machine; technicians can work on other, more complex issues. For example, Symantec, an American technology company, offers customers a tool called Remote Symantec Management Agent Diagnostics (RAAD). It is an application that lets customers perform diagnostics on client computers remotely and communicate the information to service teams, without the client needing to call in and request service. Smart machines that communicate with other machines and their manufacturers will continue to grow in number in the future.
Co-Creating Tech with Customers
While crowdsourcing is one of the ways businesses can leverage their customers, companies are also focusing on the individualized customer experience. For example, let’s say an audio company tries something new. Instead of offering a customer a five-hour window appointment for a service tech to come install a newly purchased speaker system, what if the company offers that customer the choice of making an appointment anytime with a local small business merchant or a crowd member instead? This level of customization lets customers build their own platform of engagement with a company that includes the customer’s own preferences. It transforms the customer service they receive into service that’s personalized to fit them, rather than having a type of service that’s been ordained by the company as a “best practice” and forced upon them. What’s best for one customer might not be best for another.
These new machines and technologies show that proactive, personalized service is the wave of the future. To benefit both their customers and their businesses, companies should consider implementing new software and hardware that makes creating a digital ecosystem possible.