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Are you prepared for the Connected Customer?

Sep 4 • Features, Future of FIeld Service • 942 Views • No Comments on Are you prepared for the Connected Customer?

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Emily Hackman, Global Director of Marketing, Astea, looks at how the modern phenomenon of the connected customer is driving heightened service expectations that field service companies must meet…

In the last few years we have gone through a true revolution when it comes to digital connectivity.

The widespread adoption of tools that offer ever-greater connectivity amongst the general populace is increasing at ever-faster speeds. The end result of this increase in connectivity for businesses is a rising need for meeting rapidly heightening customer expectations when it comes to service quality.

Looking back even just a decade we would never have imagined the sheer pervasiveness of connectivity that we enjoy today

Indeed, this is truly the era of the connected customer—consumers have become accustomed to having an unprecedented access to the knowledge and insight offered by the Internet right at their fingertips. And in a world were smart phones are virtually omnipresent, that access is 24/7/365, no matter where they happen to be.

Today’s consumers can instantly interact with friends and associates via text or social media, they can quickly summon a ride, make restaurant reservations, or order a gift with just a few clicks and swipes on their phone. Looking back even just a decade we would never have imagined the sheer pervasiveness of connectivity that we enjoy today and the huge impact it would have on our lives.

Yet for field service business, such increased levels of connectivity can be a double-edged sword offering both challenges and opportunities in equal measure.

Rising Expectations of the Connected Customer

Thanks in no small way to the companies like Uber and Amazon – who have embraced technology to not only disrupt the markets they exist within but also in many respects establish entirely new markets, the Connected Customer is intimately aware of the capabilities mobile computing bring to service operations.

Thanks to advances in mobility, their local florist or Pizza Delivery company can provide them with updates on their orders in real time. So why shouldn’t they expect field service technicians to be able to access those same or even more advanced mobile capabilities?

When it comes to service, connected customers now expect as standard:

  • Real-time alerts when technicians are on their way to the job site/residence
  • Technicians that will arrive armed with their individual customer histories and preferences
  • A service organisation that can respond quickly to emergency calls
  • The ability to receive real-time updates on the status of their service, both online and via their mobile phones
  • Technicians that have full access to the repair information and parts that they need to complete the job

In fact, whilst just a few years ago mobile technology in and of itself offered a competitive advantage, mobility is now basic table stakes when it comes to field service.

And today, by harnessing the technology, service organisations are able to satisfy the needs of their customers. This can hugely effect how they refine and improve the customer experience, enhance their reputation, and reduce both employee and customer churn

Leveraging Customer Connectivity

In the world of enterprise, companies are rapidly embracing mobility.

According to data from Frost & Sullivan, 47% of North American businesses have at least 11 different mobile worker apps deployed, and 88% plan on introducing at least one new employee-facing app within the year.

According to the same data, companies have found that key mobility benefits include:

  • More efficient business processes (49% of respondents),
  • More productive employees (46%),
  • Improved collaboration (46%),
  • Cost savings (45%)
  • More satisfied employees (44%),
  • Enhanced customer engagement (43%),
  • Competitive advantage (42%).

Of course, having a mobile solution in place does not automatically enable a service organisation to effectively serve the connected customer.

Focusing on reducing costs, whilst simultaneously improving productivity and efficiency is no longer the end game when it comes to mobility.

The brutally honest fact is that your customers don’t particularly care when you save money on fuel or can bill more jobs per month, they solely care about whether you’ve met your SLA

This is largely because whilst reducing costs and completing more jobs per day is good for the bottom line, they don’t necessarily assist in improving customer satisfaction and are not always in line with value creation in the long-term  and how quickly you can get them back up and running.

The brutally honest fact is that your customers don’t particularly care when you save money on fuel or can bill more jobs per month, they solely care about whether you’ve met your SLAUltimately, service customers simply want reliability and visibility. Did the service organisation get their technician to the job site quickly, armed with the right parts and repair knowledge? Were they able to complete the repair in one visit?

Every decision the service organisation makes should be weighed against a backdrop of the overall impact to the customer. The fact that customers are now highly connected makes it easier for service organisations to meet their needs, provided that they have their own robust mobility solution in place. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

By leveraging analytics, the input your connected customers provide can help you understand consumption patterns and deliver a personalized solution—and potentially do so at a premium, creating new pricing models and differentiated service models, and establishing new revenue streams in the process.

Want to know more – there is a white paper on this subject available for Field Service News subscribers – and FSN subscription is complimentary for industry practitioners.

Click here to apply for a complimentary industry subscription to Field Service News and get the white paper “Preparing for the Connected Customer” sent directly to your inbox now

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