By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
My husband and I (along with our two babies under two!) moved recently. I had an experience with our home security and automation provider that got me thinking about the times that great field service just doesn’t matter. Here’s what happened:
When I called to set up our transfer of service from one address to the other, I spoke with a very friendly, capable representative about what our options were. She reviewed everything with me, and I told her I needed to talk some of those options over with my husband to determine any changes to our service before she set our appointment/created the work order. She told me she’d email me a summary of our call, and that I could reply to her email the next day with how we wanted to proceed. I did so, and no response. Tried again the next day, and no response. The third day, I called and asked to talk with her, was told that wasn’t an option, and assisted by a new rep. So there I was, starting a 45 minute phone conversation from scratch. In today’s technology age, it is confusing and frustrating to me — and any customer — why this would happen. There are simply too many ways to capture data for a customer to have to waste time on duplicate interactions like this.
Fast forward to our field service interaction, and it was great. The technician was prompt, well informed, friendly, and competent. But in reality, it didn’t matter much — because my frustration had already occurred; my negative perception had already been created. Even a great field service interaction wasn’t going to undo that entirely.
So what is the lesson here? I think there are a few.
Customer Experience Is Collective
First, it’s important to remember that customer experience is a collective concept, and therefore, the various customer-facing functions of your company can’t operate in a silo. It doesn’t make sense to put time and money in on the field service side to ensure a great customer experience if another division of your company is falling short in that area. If customer experience is a key objective for the company (and it should be), it needs to be addressed in every area of the business. What are your customer service goals? How are you communicating them to your employees? What measures are in place to track improvement? How is this consistent from department to department?
Customer Interactions Should Be Seamless
With the technologies that are available today, the experience of having a 45 minute conversation that is just lost in the abyss should not happen. A customer wants to be able to pick up where they left off, and that isn’t just true for phone calls. How are you collecting, storing, processing, and using customer data? If I email, fill out a form, or call, I want that data to be accessible for my next interaction. Whatever my method of communication is, I don’t want to have to repeat myself or start over. Data needs to be captured, stored, and accessible to enable a seamless customer experience.
Communication Is Critical
Communication between business functions is critical. Communicating to your employees the type of customer experience you want them to provide is critical. Easy and timely communication with your customers is critical.
To summarize, enabling and incentivizing your field technicians to provide a great customer experience is crucial to success in today’s service landscape. But relying on them to carry the weight of customer experience for the whole company just isn’t reasonable — and ensuring a seamless experience for your customer base needs to be a cornerstone of your strategy.