Competition and business go hand in-hand. You can’t expect other entrepreneurs to sit back and let you capitalise on a market while they sit on the side-lines. Rather, the more successful you are, the more others will want to follow suit.
While it's influenced by a number of factors, this success primarily hinges on one thing; customer satisfaction. With increased competition comes increased customer fluidity.
Think of it like this; two bakeries are next-door to one another and sell exactly the same cakes for exactly the same price. The only difference is the customer service; Bakery A has a friendly cashier, while Bakery B has a more abrupt service style. Which would you choose? The vast majority would choose Bakery A.
While albeit a basic example, the above is true of how consumers operate today. As the loyal customer becomes increasingly rare, customers are not afraid to demand more—and as a business, it’s your job to give it to them.
This mantra extends beyond price and product too. A 2017 report by Capgemini found that more than 80% of customers would be willing to pay more to receive greater customer service. As an intrinsic element to customer attraction and retention, it should be a high priority for all businesses, but especially those with field service engineers.
So how can you instill a clear link between your field service engineers and customer service? In this blog post, I explain the service standards basics and how it translates into field service:
Disengagement kills customer service. If an employee isn’t invested in their role, it will be very difficult for them to show any genuine care and interest in what they are doing. For field service engineers, this simply cannot happen.
Field service engineers often react with customers in the event of a problem. The customer then is already disgruntled and inconvenienced — the last thing they need is a disengaged engineer to visit who is not willing to go the extra mile to rectify the issue.
Communicate to your engineers just how vital their role is within your business to ensure service standards don’t slip as a result of employee disengagement.
Establishing a connection
To deliver superior customer service, it’s important that your engineers establish a connection with the customer. The first-time fix rate is important, but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of pleasantries too.
There are two approaches to delivering customer service as a field service engineer, centred on connections and education. A connection is made through light-hearted chit chat, while some customers will also value an explanation of the work that is being carried out—education.
This doesn’t involve baffling the customer with jargon or complex processes; it could simply be a case of explaining the key steps — from diagnosis to fix, for example.
Of course, a key part in helping your field service engineers achieve this level of customer service is training. As an employer, you should ensure your engineers have the skills and knowledge they need to meet their KPIs.
Split your training between general communication skills and your own customer service process to ensure you have the right balance of knowledge and personalisation.
You’ve trained them up and they’re your service stars — but fail to keep them happy and you could lose them. This is where the competitive element comes back into play.
Research carried out by job search site Monster has found that 41% of employers admit that they don’t thank their staff enough. 54% of employees said they don’t believe they are appreciated enough, while 41% said they were currently feeling demotivated.
Field service engineers are intrinsic to the level of customer satisfaction your business is able to achieve. Implement a scheme to recognise exceptional service standards, whether this is a simple verbal recognition or a physical reward.
It seems simple, but don’t underestimate this step. If you do, you risk losing the reason why your customers choose you — your service staff — to your competitors.