What constitutes excellence in field service? Not what you might imagine, in short. Field service profitability? No. High levels of serviced asset uptime? No. Low cost of field service delivery? Again, no. In fact, as a recent report from analyst firm Aberdeen Group makes clear, it’s field service customer service.
Based on in-depth surveying of over 200 field service organisations, the report sheds light on what differentiates field service leaders from field service laggards.
And the answer is unmistakable: the difference is high levels of customer satisfaction, achieved by superior levels of field service customer service.
But what, exactly, do field service businesses have to do to deliver that superior field service customer service? Again, it’s not quite what you might imagine.
Field service: customer satisfaction matters
Best-in-class field service organisations, it turns out, focus strongly on customer satisfaction as a KPI. It’s the metric that matters most, in short.
So measure it, monitor it, and consider incentivising your field service organisation on it.
Because it’s one thing saying that field service customer service matters—and quite another measuring the week-to-week, month-by-month impact of actual customer service, on actual customers.
Field service: excellence in service delivery
Of course, high levels of customer satisfaction stem from more than just superior customer service. Field service organisations will need excellence in service delivery, too.
In part, that excellence in service delivery comes from a superior performance in the key deliverables that any field service organisation must achieve: high ‘first time fix’ rates, high levels of equipment uptime, and so on.
But also important are factors such as being able to reliably provide promised arrival times for field service engineers, smooth and reliable invoicing and paperwork processes, and smoothly functioning back office systems—especially at critical points of customer interaction.
Field service: customer engagement
Field service leaders also understand the importance of proactive customer engagement in customer service.
Best in class field service organisations, it turns out, are 44% more likely to hold annual—or even more frequent—customer forums, as compared to their peers.
Such events serve multiple purposes, not only helping to build and cement customer relationships, but also acting as a conduit to capture field service improvement opportunities, and driving field service delivery innovations.
Field service: capturing equipment performance
Moreover, that same determination to capture insightful customer feedback extends right across the customer interaction spectrum, and is not restricted just to specific customer events.
Best in class field service organisations, it transpires, are also 56% more likely than their peers to proactively capture customer feedback regarding the performance of the products and equipment that they maintain and repair.
This feedback is then once again used to better align the field service organisation’s offerings with emerging customer requirements, out in the field.
The result? Greater levels of customer satisfaction—and greater levels of customer retention.
Field service: a service-oriented culture
Finally, best-in-class field service organisations exhibit one other customer service-enhancing behaviour. Namely, they understand the importance of building—and nurturing—a service-focused organisational culture.
A culture that actively and passionately believes in excellent customer service, and works hard to deliver just that.
It’s not easy. For many field service organisations, it’s the biggest challenge they face.
But get it right, and everything else follows.