6 Ways You Can Use FSM to Improve Customer Experience
In today’s fast-paced world, clients receiving on-site services expect a good customer experience, from beginning to end. Although it’s clearly important to try and create practices to ensure your employees can help meet that demand for an enjoyable customer experience, it can be a difficult road to traverse.
Below, we’ll review some of the difficulties associated with field service work and six ways to overcome them with proper field service management. Read on to see how you can deliver a standout customer experience.
Customer Experience Challenges for the Field Service Workforce
Developing good customer experience is challenging in any industry, but it can be particularly challenging in the field service industry. Workers have a limited amount of time in which to do their jobs, and that window becomes even smaller when processes like scheduling and dispatching aren’t fully optimized.
Moreover, field service workers aren’t always equipped with the proper tools to facilitate favorable interactions. Their desk-based counterparts have a desktop or laptop immediately available and are always online, making it easy to pull up customer history and prepare for customer communications. But field service workers don’t always have that crucial information at their disposal. That means they’re often left troubleshooting as they go rather than arriving at the job site prepared.
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6 Ways Proper Field Service Management Can Improve Customer Experience
One of the most effective ways to resolve the problems mentioned above—and to subsequently improve the customer experience—is to develop a more robust field service management (FSM) program. When supported with the right tools, FSM enables your staff to streamline processes and, in turn, make your customers happy. Below are six ways to start improving your customer experience with proper FSM.
1. Speed Up Response Time
When a machine breaks down or requires repairs, customers need to get things back up and running as soon as possible. And since your response time to customer requests is one of the first impressions people get from your business, it’s critical to make sure it’s a good one, even for last-minute service requests.
To ensure your field employees can get to customers quickly, data is key. Examine the average response time for different variables like type of job and time of day to determine if there are any trends linked to bottlenecks. Are jobs with significant delays the same ones that require workers to travel to the other side of town? Are response times slowest when urgent jobs are added at a certain time of day, like rush hour? Whether it’s traffic, unclear expectations, inefficient travel, or something else entirely, being able to spot these blockers is the first step toward coming up with solutions to address them.
2. Provide Real-Time Access to Key Resources
Another way to help improve the customer experience is to ensure your employees have all of the resources they need to effectively complete the job. Information like a customer’s previous maintenance history can give field workers the necessary context to troubleshoot whatever issue prompted the appointment. But according to recent data, 54% of technicians surveyed said reviewing service history before an on-site visit is a serious challenge. Using field service software that provides these sorts of details can be the difference between an unsatisfied customer or a happy one.
But the way field employees receive that information matters just as much as the information itself. Using platforms with mobile apps that workers can easily access helps ensure they have what they need once they’re on the job site and communicating with customers.
3. Optimize Scheduling and Dispatching
On the surface, scheduling and dispatching might not seem as critical of a process to improve as, for example, distributing information that’s essential for deskless workers’ jobs. But a sub-optimal route and schedule can quickly create a waterfall effect. For instance, consider an employee is on job site A and their next appointment is across town on site B. If their work on site A takes longer than expected, they’ll assuredly be late to site B, and will likely be late to site C, and so on. And even if their work doesn’t run over, they will likely feel rushed to get to their next appointment, increasing the likelihood they’ll make a mistake or otherwise compromise on the customer experience.
The best way to address these issues is to make sure you’re effectively scheduling and dispatching employees.
Customers should be able to schedule appointments quickly and easily, because schedulers have a real-time view into the capacity and availability of their field workers. And while 89% of customers want to see easy scheduling supported by on-demand technology, in reality, 25% of field service companies use spreadsheets while another 25% use the even more antiquated whiteboard method, according to one recent survey.
The right FSM system accounts for job locations, travel time, and other jobs in a worker’s queue to help schedulers create and assign jobs in a way that’s efficient for all parties: Workers are only assigned appointments on routes that make sense for their daily queue, and customers are only able to choose appointment slots that align with what’s realistic for field employees.
4. Enable Streamlined Communication
Communication throughout all stages of an on-site assignment is key to field service success, so it’s crucial to make sure this communication is as streamlined as possible.
First, to create a dynamic, quick response system for customers, use various channels like chatbots, email, text messages, and phone calls. Beyond that, it’s important to also strive to eliminate confusion between the customer and field technician. Proactively address basic customer questions by providing information such as cost estimates and appointment requirements (e.g. if someone needs to be present to let a technician in) ahead of time.
Then, ask customers to provide and confirm details critical to their appointment, like their address, details about their problem, and who will be there to greet the technician. Your FSM platform should be configured in a way that gives deskless workers easy access to these details so they have what they need to complete their job. Additionally, your platform should be able to send real-time alerts to customers that communicate when technicians will arrive and if there are any unexpected delays.
Together, these elements create transparency, help ensure customers and employees are on the same page about what’s expected, and bolster the customer experience.
5. Increase Visibility to Identify What’s Working (and What’s Not)
Another hugely impactful way to improve customer experience with FSM is through increased visibility—which largely comes down to data. The right FSM platform should be able to collect data from multiple sources, analyze it, and generate visualizations that can help stakeholders identify roadblocks.
In today’s modern business landscapes, legacy systems like CRM, HRM, payroll, billing, and more are cornerstones to operations. But often, data that can help streamline field work operations is siloed away in each of those systems. A robust FSM platform should integrate easily with the major legacy systems in your tech stack to help you unlock information that’s critical to identifying the pros and cons in your workflows and processes.
The right FSM platform should also be able to help you spot trends in the data collected in the platform itself. The use case of response time, which we reviewed earlier in this post, is an example of this. The right FSM platform should be able to analyze data tied to appointments and your employees’ response times to them in order to highlight variables that might be hindering field technicians from getting to their appointments quickly.
6. Capture Key Field Data
Some of the most important details that come out of an appointment come up while workers are interfacing with customers on the job site. These details can be key in terms of ensuring that the next technician who comes out has the right context to troubleshoot and provide good service.
However, it can be cumbersome for field employees to capture this data efficiently and accurately. Traditionally, technicians would take notes on paper, then try to find time either between appointments or at the end of the day to manually transcribe their handwriting into digital notes in the system.
But a robust FSM platform and mobile app should allow employees to enter that information in real time. Instead of trying to decipher scribbled notes after the fact, workers can input notes directly into the system, as they arise in the field. That way, there’s far less opportunity for error and any worker assigned to that customer in the future has the information they need.
Finding the Right Field Service Management Tool for Your Workforce
Customers lead busy lives and don’t have the time or patience for slow service. They expect to get their problem resolved on time and stay informed throughout the booking, repair, and checkout process一all while interacting with a pleasant and helpful technician.
Skedulo specializes in making field service management efficient and pain-free, enabling companies to schedule, manage and engage their field employees. And when your team arrives at the right place, at the right time—every time—your customers and staff will thank you.
Want to learn more about how Skedulo’s deskless productivity platform can help you improve customer service? Read about how Vancouver-based residential cleaning company ServiceMaster Residential uses Skedulo to create a more nuanced, customized, and efficient scheduling and dispatch process.