From experience we know that customers need more than just a good service job to feel entirely happy. There are many more parts to the puzzle than simply doing the job.
Customers want to be informed, they want to be heard and they want to feel in control of the service they receive. They don’t just pay a technical service, they pay for a customer experience.
This might sound a little stereotype. But studies show that companies who take the needs of their customers seriously and anticipate solutions are more likely to be booked again for the same job.
In a market that is as competitive as the service industry you need to have some bad ass tools available that give your customer the little extra they look for.
For this it is crucial to understand how your customer thinks and which factors lead to increased stress and discomfort before, during and after the execution of a service job.
What customers really want
Generally speaking we need to divide customers into two groups. The B2C customers and the B2B customers. Even though both receive a similar technical service their needs are significantly differing.
Case No. 1 – B2C
The classic B2C customer is usually a person that has no time. No time to schedule an appointment, no time to be present, no time to wait for parts or to reschedule a job because the issue couldn’t be fixed right away. Needing a service job is not just a financial disaster for the classic B2C customer but also disrupts significantly his already tight agenda.
So just fixing the issue is not enough to equalize the general discomfort they experience. Imagine how much bigger the frustration is when the technician is not on time, doesn’t give precise information about when he will arrive, lacks important spare parts or doesn’t even know if an equipment is under warranty.
Common issues are
not being on time nor informed about precise arrival time
not being able to solve it in the first visit
not knowing if and how much it will cost
How to solve it
For the B2C customer communication is key. He wishes to be informed about the plan date and hour, to be reminded of it when the date approaches, and he wants to be informed on the day itself about the precise arrival time. How many end-consumers do not complain that they’ve been informed “the technician will be there between 9 AM and 12:00”, that they have waited the whole morning only to discover the technician arrived at 11:45AM….While a simple automated TXT communication that confirms in the morning the exact hour of 11:45 AM, and an automated follow-up SMS that states: “The techncian will be there in 30 minutes” would have made a whole difference, regardless if in the end the technician was there at 11:30 or at 12:00…. A precise appointment and full transparancy increase significantly customer satisfaction. Studies show by the way that customers choose short messages over email communication.
A field service management solution – like the one from Odyssee Service – provides the right tools to easily automate TXT communications and estimated travel times. Additionally, the Odyssee Service app makes TXT, emails or phone call communication with a customer fast and efficient.
When you don’t use these communication channels regarding precise planning information and arrival times, customers might call directly their service providers which often hand out the mobile phone number of the technician. Since the back office doesn’t know where the technician is nor has any information on the status of his work it is almost impossible to give concrete information on arrival times. Customers who call for information but are not served develop additional frustration and dissatisfaction.
To avoid this situation back office employees need to have real-time insight into localization of employees and the status of their work in order to give precise information to a waiting client. An intelligent planning tool includes map visualization and real-time status reporting on jobs that are still in progress or completed, and makes it easier to deliver your customers precise feedback on when the technician will show up.
When the technician is not able to solve a problem in the first visit, again a clear communication with your end-customer is key. We all know that spare parts logistics is easier said than done. That is why Odyssee Service has developed tools that tell the technician he needs to pick up spare parts or that spare parts need to be sent to the technician (depending on how you organize the part logistics). But still, a missing spare part happens. Try to inform your customer clearly.
One thing an end-customers always worries about, is the price. Is the equipment still under warranty? If not, how much will it cost me. And didn’t I signed a “special care” agreement extending my warranty? In most cases, the customer service will have told it already to the customer. In Odyssee Service, all this information is available as soon as the customer and the equipment is identified. But the technician onsite also plays his role. He needs to confirm the same information that “yes, indeed, it is still under warranty, it will cost you nothing”; And if not, he needs to inform the customer on beforehand how much the intervention will cost. Or if it is better to replace the equipment. If all this is clearly explained and transparently communicated to the customer it will, if not increase his satisfaction, at least make him feel treated correctly.
Case No 2 – B2B
While also B2B customers appreciate that a technician is on time and has a high first fix rate they have some additional demands which make it even more complex to keep B2B customers happy and satisfied. As much as the B2C customer wants communication, the B2B customer wants continuity. This requires a large set of service level agreements and maintenance contracts which guarantee fast reaction in case of emergency. The more risks are involved with equipment failure the higher is the general demand for service level agreements and maintenance contracts.
Since a broken equipment negatively affects several processes inside the company and might even cause loss of revenue when production is stopping, they appreciate a service partner who goes the extra mile and is reacting fast on their demands. B2B customers want to be carefree and seek foremost security when picking a long term service provider.
Common issues are
not being able to manage contracts and SLA agreements
not being able to guarantee continuity
not being fully transparent
How to solve it
Contracts bring generally speaking good money for service providers. But how to keep up with the tight SLA agreements? A service provider needs to be able to manage contracts professionally in order to stick to made agreements. This requires a system like Odyssee Service which has an contract management module and allows to link SLA agreements, maintenance schemes and warranties to customers and installed machines. These contracts automate the creation of recurrent maintenance jobs and calculate the ideal routes to make sure machines are maintained on time and that company processes are more cost efficient.
Similar to the B2C environment, handling logistics correctly is crucial to have a high first time fix rate and comply to agreed resolution times. Using the customer location to store spare parts can help a lot. But this implies the use different stock locations the technician must be able to handle. In the Odyssee service app, a technician can choose from which location he is using parts, allowing to update the back office about this usage so refillings can be done on time.
But B2B customers don’t want to just rely on their service partners. They want to be able to have control over their machines and the agreed maintenance. Client portals can help to become more transparent and offer B2B customers a maximum service. With the client portal that is included in the Odyssee Service Software, B2B customers can oversee their completed or planned work orders, zoom into the history of their installations and introduce directly online a new repair ticket.
How happy is your customer?
Even when service providers work already with a standard field service solution they still have one big problem. They can’t control what is happening in the field. Technicians who are in direct contact with the customers mainly focus on the technical aspects of the job but who knows how happy the customer was with their service?
Instead of waiting for negative reviews on Google, there are ways to give your customer a voice in a constructive way and to avoid the silent and unrecognized growth of dissatisfaction that often leads to a migration to other providers. The Service App from Odyssee – unlike the ones of other providers – allow your customer to leave comments when signing the digital service report and to rate the service of your technician with 1 – 5 stars. The comment and feedback is invisible to the technician on site but available in the back office to evaluate the performance of your employees and to intervene right away when a customer is unsatisfied.
A management tool for customer remarks further allows to react fast in case of issues, to advice remarks to customer service employees and initiate the right actions to reestablish customer satisfaction. Since client management functions are included into Odyssee, the communication history of customers stays always accessible and can help to fast assess the situation when remarks are made.