Reducing Customer Pain Points in Field Service

We’ve talked a lot on our Optsy blog about the importance of customer experience, or customer service, or just generally the idea of treating your customers well and making sure they (a) want to keep working with you and (b) might refer you to other potential customers. Customer experience is super-important right now in all facets of business, and it’s definitely at the forefront when it comes to field service — because the heart of field service is really about interaction with customers. Your techs do this every single day.

Scheduling

Customers want the scheduling process to be easy, at the most basic level. They don’t want to call a half-dozen times. If their machines are broken, they don’t want to be told, “We’ll get to that next week.” They want it done now, or they’ll try and find someone who can do it now.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that predictive analytics — which means a field service organization being able to predict a machine’s downtime due to analytics the machine itself is sending to the field service HQ (which in turn is called ‘Internet of Things’ technology) — is starting to become a bigger deal in the field service management world. As predictive analytics grows, the whole notion of ‘scheduling’ will change. Your customers won’t even call you; they’ll expect you to know about the performance of their machines and just come if they’re down. We’re not quite there yet, though: customers are still likely to call you. And when they do, they want the experiences to be as painless as possible.

Dispatching

This is more a field service HQ function, yes — but in terms of the end customers, they want to know:

Generally when the techs will arrive
If the techs are likely to be late, how might their appointments be adjusted

This all refers to the ‘bullwhip effect,’ or the idea that if a tech has five appointments in one day, and the first one runs late … well, you can guess what happens to the fifth appointment. That customer in the fifth appointment? He or she is not happy. That’s a bad customer experience and it could, over one to two reoccurrences, lose you business. You need to prevent that. When it’s not preventable (traffic, long-winded other customers, etc.), you need to find a way to be transparent about it.

Inventory

Inventory problems can be a huge hit to ‘first-time fix rate,’ or the percentage of jobs you solve in one visit. When a tech doesn’t have the parts he or she needs to finish a job and has to run to an office or warehouse and run back, this can annoy a customer (pain point). You need to make sure there’s some alignment between scheduling, dispatch, and inventory to minimize this problem.

Invoicing/Billing

Again, even if the jobs are completed, the customers don’t usually want the techs to have to run somewhere and then come back with bills to sign. They want the invoicing done on-site as well (that way the whole deal is completed), and typically they want it done quickly via their mobile phones, with invoices or receipts immediately sent to them. When it’s a drawn-out process or too reliant on paper, that can be a pain point.

If you look above, then, the surest way to eliminate pain points in field service management is to find a way to integrate:

Scheduling
Dispatching
Inventory
Invoicing

In all likelihood, your best bet on integrating those processes is using a FSM software solution that links all your information in one place — and thankfully, we can help with that in two ways! First, you can download this eBook and learn more about small business field service management approaches. Then, you can contact us and we can walk you through different solution options for potential customer pain points. We love helping small FSM businesses grow, so get in touch whenever you have time.