Generally, acquiring a new customer is more expensive than retaining a current one, yet 89% of customers switch field service providers over the course of a year. Since a good share of those customers will announce their discontent via social media, a poor customer experience today will make it even harder for your business to get new customers tomorrow. Primary reasons customers list for switching providers:
- Rude, unhelpful, or unknowledgeable staff
- Feeling unappreciated
- Late arrival
- Failure to fix on the first visit
- Poor scheduling options
- Speaking to multiple agents
- Kept on hold
- Strong competitor reputation
Here’s how to transform a visit to a new customer into a long-term business relationship:
- Make your customer feel appreciated
- Prepare your staff for jobs
- Offer broad appointment options
- Utilize a self-service portal
- Actively strive for a top service rating
Make your customer feel appreciated
Why would a customer want to switch field service providers when they feel welcomed by their current provider? Train your staff to take company communications into their own hands. Imagine this – your estimator greets a potential customer with, “thank you for letting me come by today,” and concludes the visit with, “thanks again for considering us for the job.” Or your receptionist takes a call and, after identifying your company and his/herself, adds, “What can I help you with today?” Then, no matter how challenging the customer, ends with, “thank you again for letting us know about this.”
Develop a culture of courtesy. Actively train employees on manners, and model that behavior yourself. Provide examples of when to say “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me” and “may I?” Provide overshoe booties for your techs and insist they use them in customer homes and businesses. Stock toolkits with hand wipes so employees never leave a fingerprint. Make it clear they do not take non-emergency calls or texts when on a job, and how to excuse oneself before taking an emergency call. Instruct them not to engage in discussions of politics, religion, and income. Explain that as guests, they should not criticize anything on the property. Your customers are the life of the company, so follow up with them, meet them in person, and take an interest in them!
Prepare your staff for jobs
Unhelpful or unknowledgeable staff and failure to fix on the first visit suggest a competence issue and push people to switch field service providers. Examine your scheduling processes – be sure you are sending the right tech to a job, and that person is prepared for a first-time fix. Have your intake staff get as much information as possible, including model numbers and photos, when the work order is created. Your scheduler should know which technicians are rated for the equipment to be installed or repaired and what parts to send on the truck. Equip field staff with access to an in-house expert or manufacturer database.
Offer broad appointment options
How much do you charge for an hour of your tech’s time? Use that as a standard for the respect you show for your client’s time. Offer service calls in the evening and on the weekend. With the help of GPS tracking, your office can keep an eye on your units, tightening the estimated arrival time, and providing the customer with updates. Equip field staff with field management software that lets them connect with the customer or office with the touch of a finger. Improved job scheduling and better organization of customer information help make your customers’ appointments seamless and improve their experience!
Utilize a self-service portal
Provide a self-service portal where a customer can interact with your business directly, either with team members or a FAQ. Self-service portals allow customers to create a service request or work order, check on the status of an invoice, and leave feedback. Providing the customer with a personalized experience helps improve retention and cuts costs spent on acquiring new customers. In combination with job-site invoicing, a self-service portal eliminates hours of back-office and front-office time on calls and callbacks.
Actively strive for a top-service rating
It is essential that you build a great online reputation. Go to every length to resolve customer issues. Solicit online reviews, either on your website (not best) or in public spaces like Google+ and Yelp. Watch reviews – if there is a complaint or negative review, answer it, expressing your concern and explaining what steps you took to resolve the issue.
RazorSync’s field service software helps you manage your team and inventory to ensure that you’re able to provide high-quality customer field service requests. Contact RazorSync for details, or try it free for 14 days today!