Written by 6:00 am Feature, Service Operations

Delight or disappoint – it’s time to choose

Laurent Othacéhé, CEO of Cognito iQ explores the importance of going beyond meeting customer expectations and ensuring you are delighting your customers…

For some years now, the prevailing wisdom has been that in order to stand out from their competitors, businesses of all types must focus on their customers’ experiences.

Gartner says that in 2017 “89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator”.

The costs of bad service are well documented:

  • Bad customer service costs UK companies over £37Bn each year
  • More than a quarter of UK customers took their business elsewhere or spent less with a company due to bad service in 2016
  • A customer is four time more likely to switch to a competitor due to problems with services, compared with pricing and product issues.

As are the benefits of good service:

  • 86% of people will pay more for a better customer experience
  • Better customer experiences can lift revenue by up to 15% and reduce the cost of service by up to 20%

This wisdom has taken hold in the field service industry too: our industry has traditionally been more focused on keeping costs down, but research now shows that field service companies are putting the customer first.

Field service managers say that ‘customer satisfaction’ is their most important KPI, ahead of technician productivity and utilisation, and first-time-fix rate. But customer experience is more than just customer satisfaction.

Managing customer experience means paying attention to every interaction, the customer has with your company, whether that is through using your products and services or via your website, call centre, billing or social media.

In this context, it becomes clear that a visit from a field service engineer is loaded with opportunities to delight – or disappoint – your customer.

Think about your own experiences as a customer

You are never going to be delighted with a company that fails to deliver: the product doesn’t work; the parcel doesn’t arrive; the engineer is late and can’t fix your problem.

The basics have to be right. And if they aren’t right, the company has to go out of its way to resolve your issue or deal with your complaint. So far so good, but what takes customer experience from good to great is those occasional ‘moments of magic’: the unexpected extras, or the human touches that you remember, and tell people about.

For example, when an airline gets everyone seated, their hold luggage stowed, and the plane takes off on time, then that is a Brilliant Basic: customers get the experience they expect.

When the flight is delayed on the tarmac, but the airline gives everyone free food and drinks and lets them switch their phones back on to call ahead, then that is a Remarkable Resolution: the airline deals well with a failure of the basic service.

But when the flight attendant overhears a passenger worrying about getting her connection and making her sister’s wedding and contacts the destination airport to get the connecting flight held back, that is a Moment of Magic.

Of course, it is only the best-in-class companies that generally positioned to identify these needs and deliver those Moment’s of Magic, however, the good news is that for every service organisation becoming a best-in-class service provider is an achievable goal.

The first step has to be adopting a customer-centric culture across your organisation and then empowering and enabling your team to deliver the new culture you have embedded through the application of technology such as mobile and data analytics.