For field-service businesses, providing a best-in-class customer experience is instrumental in customer retention and profitability. However, there is no single way of achieving this goal. Thus, different organizations take different approaches to providing their customers with the best possible experience. Nevertheless, the goal is the same for all.
At its core, the field-service customer experience is the experience a customer experiences when a technician comes to their home or place of business. This customer experience has a long-term impact on their overall perception of the company, which can affect customer satisfaction, customer retention, word-of-mouth referrals, and future sales. However, field-service operations are frequently disconnected from corporate initiatives to improve the customer experience.
Some leaders are now mobilizing their field-service operations in an effort to adapt to growing customer demands and differentiate themselves from their competitors with the aid of technology. Field-service mobile apps are playing a pivotal role in achieving this goal.
When developing a customer-experience (CX) strategy, service providers must consider, optimize, and link all important touchpoints. This requires placing a greater emphasis on the experience that field-service technicians can provide. However, companies often consider this role separately from marketing and CX strategy. Field teams—the people who actually render services to customers on the spot—can support the organization’s overall efforts to enhance the customer experience by achieving the following four goals:
Build capabilities that drive high revenues.
Deliver a consistently high level of customer satisfaction.
A field-management mobile app can achieve all of these goals with greater efficiency. Let’s consider how. By definition, a field-service mobile app is a dedicated mobile app that can automate and streamline the processes that are necessary to render field services. In other words, it is a digital tool that enables field technicians to carry out various tasks in the field, including viewing and updating work orders, checking customer assets and historical data, organizing inventory and parts, reporting time, and generating invoices on the go. Thus, field-service mobile apps seamlessly connect field technicians with the back office, facilitating remote collaboration more effectively.
However, field-service mobile apps are not just for field technicians. There are several leading brands that offer high-end, field-service management software that they’ve optimized for smartphones and tablets. With these applications, business owners, managers, and executives can conduct any sort of administrative task from anywhere. These amazing digital tools give them the freedom to step out of the office and spend their valuable time on other necessary tasks such as providing a better customer experience. But they can still stay on top of their administrative duties by taking care of everything via a mobile app.
This cutting-edge, digital innovation has been instrumental in transforming field-service management in several ways, helping not only business owners and management but also field technicians to do a better job in the field. Enhancing the customer experience has been an essential aspect of achieving this goal. Let’s consider how these mobile apps can help field-service businesses.
1. Team and Resource Tracking
What is the biggest challenge in day-to-day field-service management? Technically, there might be a hundred different things, but if you ask your customer-service managers or dispatchers, they’ll complain about a single problem: answering customers’ questions about when the technician will arrive. Every day, customer-service teams field an endless number of calls from customers inquiring about a technicians’ arrival, unexpected delays, or rescheduling requests. However, in an environment in which technicians do not have access to an integrated mobile app, the executive or manager has no way of knowing technicians’ precise current location or exactly when they’ll show up for a job. The result is a frustrated customer who is looking for answers and wants efficient assistance. This undesirable outcome can clearly detract from a company’s ability to meet its customer-experience goals.
Overcoming this problem is likely the most transformative capability of a field-service mobile app. By tapping into advanced GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, managers and dispatchers can accurately locate field technicians in real time. Thus, they can inform customers precisely how long it will take for them to arrive. What’s more, some software solutions can also send automated notifications to customers via email or text about when a job will begin, eliminating the need for them to call the service company multiple times.
For managers and business owners, there is no need to make multiple phone calls to check on technicians because they can update their job status directly via the mobile app. Addressing customers’ concerns is a breeze with a dedicated field-service mobile app and ensures the best possible experience for customers from start to finish.
2. An Improved First-Time Fix Rate
In field service, the first-time fix rate is perhaps the most significant factor in the customer experience. When clients book a service for installation, maintenance, or repair, they expect to receive efficient service that gets the job done as soon as possible. The longer it takes a technician to resolve an issue, the more it negatively affects the customer experience. As a matter of fact, field technicians won’t be happy to make multiple visits to complete the same job. Getting their job done on the very first attempt is the most effective way to make customers happy. It is also likely to garner positive word-of-mouth and referrals that can bring more customers in the future.
Here is where the field-management app plays an integral role in this scenario: Most field-service mobile apps are now cloud based, so they rely on cloud storage to organize their data. As a result, a field-service mobile app can give technicians seamless access to the database, no matter where they are. Using the app, technicians can easily view job details, historical data, and any other information they might need to get the job done. There is no need to go back and forth between the job site and the office or to rely on back-office interventions. Not only does this increase first-time fix rates and facilitate a better customer experience, it also opens up more time in technicians’ schedules, enabling them to take on more job orders and, thus, improve their productivity.
However, this is not the end of the story. Field-service mobile apps can also help technicians handle crises faster and reduce downtime, improving the overall customer experience. When there are service delays or other emergencies, it is critical to have a quick, effective way of communicating with everyone who is involved. When any type of event happens, field-service mobile apps let managers or dispatchers send real-time notifications and updates to the field team. This capability can help shorten the time it takes to transmit crucial information to those who need it most.
3. Transparent Communication and Greater Accountability
For any business, a compassionate, collaborative management style enables the business to reap maximum benefit from their resources. Communication plays an important role in doing this. The lack of an open communication channel within the organization negatively impacts leadership’s effectiveness. To maximize productivity, you need to increase transparency and accountability across the workforce, which requires you to have an open channel that facilitates unrestricted, effective, two-way communication.
A mobile app for field technicians can do this in the most efficient way. Field-service mobile apps increase communication between the front line and the management team. By using these apps properly, you can keep all the stakeholders involved and on the same page. This prevents trivial issues from snowballing into larger issues that could potentially affect the customer experience.
Furthermore, using these mobile apps enable field-service organizations to maintain accountability and, thus, ensure customer satisfaction. In some cases, businesses are legally responsible for the actions of their employees, as well as their consequences. If a company is unable to track and pinpoint the responsible person, it could be challenging to resolve such concerns. However, using a field-service mobile app can help prevent this altogether. Using the app, management can monitor and limit employees’ ability to access information and track their activities. This helps the company protect both customers and employees in the event that any untoward incidents occur.
4. Better Audit Trails and Faster Payments
Internal or external audits can build operational credibility and provide significant insights into process enhancement. Field-service mobile apps can record all user activities automatically, providing a complete audit trail for all actions and adjustments. This ability can be crucial in demonstrating that a work order has been completed correctly or in ensuring adherence to laws and industry best practices.
A field-service app also generates measurable financial benefits. The interactions between the service app, cloud interface, and an enterprise-resource planning (ERP) system facilitates integrated, expedited order processing, enabling you to shorten the order-to-cash process. Since the app transfers all data digitally, directly to the ERP, it effectively accelerates the billing and invoicing process.
Thus, these capabilities have significant positive effects on your revenue stream. The sooner you send an invoice to your customer, the sooner you can expect to get paid. Using the mobile app, field technicians can generate invoices right at the job site. They can also add items or make changes to an invoice before sending it directly to the customer. Most field-service apps even support digital payment methods, so technicians can receive payment on the spot. But, even if a customer doesn’t pay you instantly, you can keep track of all the invoices in the app and, thus, never miss a payment.
If you want to make the most of your resources in a service business, it is best to keep the experts in the field—away from pencil-pushing downtime and doing what they do best. To accomplish this goal, they must avoid mundane paperwork. This is where field-service mobile apps can make a big difference in increasing the efficiency of operations.
Field-service mobile apps can automate many of the data-entry procedures that technicians must complete in the field. This allows specialists to focus on the job at hand, while still keeping their data well-organized and accurate. Access to the necessary information improves the overall quality of services. Thus, field-service mobile apps enable technicians to provide the best possible service in the field and facilitate the best customer experience from start to finish.
Joy has extensive knowledge and experience in software development. Coding is his true passion. Driven by this passion and creative vision, he has dedicated his life to creating Field Promax, a state-of-the-art, paperless business solution for process automation. He has published hundreds of articles and blog posts on various prestigious platforms. In his free time, Joy likes to share a laugh with his friends and family, but only when he's not coding! Read More