By Mark Forrest, general manager, Trimble Field Service Management, www.trimble.com/fsm
Are you doing what it takes for your organization to deliver service excellence?
The success of your company hinges on many things, but one of the most critical is how your team performs in customer experience management (CEM). It is the customer experience that determines sales, profits, and ultimately business success. According to Aberdeen’s State of Service Management: Forecast for 2012, companies with a 90% or greater level of customer satisfaction reported higher retention, loyalty, and profits compared to companies with less than 50% customer satisfaction. Despite these findings, many businesses still remain skeptical about spending money to improve service, because they don’t see a direct correlation to sales and ROI.
So what does service excellence mean? It means efficient scheduling, punctual arrival, fixing the problem the first time, and employing a front-line staff that is an excellent ambassador of your company. In June, we commissioned an independent study with Proteus Research to survey field service directors across the country about their concerns and goals. The report, entitled The Road Ahead: The Future of Field Service Delivery, found that 80% of the managers surveyed rated customer satisfaction as their number one priority. These companies want customers to want to do business with them.
The findings also revealed several characteristics that set service-savvy companies apart from their competition. We’ve listed a few of these characteristics below. For a complete copy of the report and its findings, visit www.trimble.com/fsm/theroadaheadreport.
Here are five strategies to better leverage your company in this ever-competitive business landscape:
- Foster a service culture. In the report, more than 90% of the managers surveyed agree that the workforce is critical to the company image. When a company exceeds service expectations, it’s clear that its employees understand company standards and will go above and beyond to make sure they deploy them. These companies have created a customercentric culture based on service excellence.
Train workers. To achieve best-in-class customer service, successful companies hire best-in-class performers and give them the training they need to do their jobs well and to solve service problems. More than 60% of the companies interviewed offer regular customer service training, and about half hold regular meetings about customer service. Consistent training and coaching are essential to ensuring that your staff reflects your company’s values.
Promise less. Deliver more. And communicate. We found that customers are more disappointed by unmet promises than they are by no promise at all. Service-savvy companies set realistic expectations and then exceed them. If they cannot meet the expectation, they let the customer know quickly. These expectations apply to every level of staff, from the call center to the field staff. For a company to be truly successful, everyone must be aligned in supporting the company brand.
Involved leaders. Involved leaders contribute to the firm’s success by understanding what services are critical to their customers. Yet how many executives know how long it takes to answer a service call, or if their workers inform customers when they are going to be late? A determining factor in customer satisfaction is how your company engages with the customer. Involved leaders know the appropriate level of resources and competencies to provide to help their staff succeed and ultimately strengthen their competitive edge.
- Quest for high efficiency. Today’s customer is more demanding. In service delivery, the customer sees efficient scheduling as an indicator of an efficient operation. While 75% of the companies interviewed provide technology to optimize scheduling, only onethird offer fully automated dispatch and mobility. A lack of automated dispatch prevents these companies from achieving best-in-class efficiency, a major factor in service excellence. Technology is a critical component to maintaining a well-run, field-based operation. Service-savvy companies know that deploying the right solution to schedule and manage jobs pays off not only in increased service but in a strong bottom line.