Most companies grapple with delivering customer service that increases loyalty and decreases churn. Keeping customers while gaining new ones boosts revenue and strengthens reputations. After all, a strong brand known for excellent customer service is also one that strengthens loyalty and reduces churn. However, even customer-centric companies struggle with what happens to customers after the sale.
The next contact customers typically have is when they require support, and support delivery is often uneven at best. After the initial support request, customers often have to wait 48 to 72 hours before the initial scheduling contact is made.
Once the service technician schedules a time to provide on-site assistance, customers are often required to set aside large blocks of time waiting for a field technician (e.g., “We’ll be there between 9 am and 3 pm”). Even when they arrive, field service technicians might not have the latest information regarding parts availability, or needed repairs, or real-time analytics. This lack of visibility into the full customer experience—a full 360-degree customer view—creates log jams that cause customer dissatisfaction.
A strong end-to-end customer service experience that supports the customer after the sale as well as before, during, and after support is required. To engage customers throughout the lifecycle, field service must bring insight, expertise, and precision to each interaction. By arming field service technicians with integrated cloud-based technology, businesses can offer insight to the customer with real-time scheduling, part availability or software updates, warranties and analytics, etc., so that all parties know a customer’s status at any point in time.
So what does end-to-end service entail?
Proactive versus reactive
Rather than waiting for a customer to call support with a problem or a question, an integrated cloud solution offers the opportunity for a proactive field service response. For example, instead of a customer calling in when a warranty expires, the proactive customer service agent is alerted by current customer data to reach out to the customer and offer services during the warranty period and can deploy a field service technician to address any issues before they become emergencies. Alternatively, after an initial quote, automated emails are sent to customers asking if they require further assistance or information in their purchase decision.
Cloud-based service data gives two- or three-way insight into scheduling, product servicing, and customer status and is accessible by all parties. For example, real-time mobile scheduling allows the technician to give customers an exact appointment time, enables customers to see technician status, and allows managers to see progress for every appointment throughout the day.
A 360-degree of view of your customer
As each business silo is empowered to communicate (for example, accounting with billing with IT with service and support) fewer details are lost in translation. A full 360 degree view of the customer is now visible to anyone at any time and anywhere. Armed with the right customer data, any company representative should be able to address any customer concerns effectively as they will know customer purchase history, support requests, sales conversations, and potential for future sales. Access to this information should be available in real time, on the go.
Omnichannel is a requirement
No longer restricted to old technology such as phone and email, customers can access support and knowledge across channels: using live chat, online calls, social media, direct cell numbers, and knowledge base interfaces. This omnichannnel approach also provides communication between on-site expertise and field service technicians who can access knowledge using any of these technologies.
To ensure an unbroken chain of customer experience, it’s critical that service is able to support customers after the sale is complete. To create an end-to-end positive customer experience, field service technicians need access to data, scheduling, analytics, and expertise. This puts the right tools in the right hands so that every customer receives first-class service every time throughout the customer lifecycle.
For more customer service strategies that get results, see 6 Ways To Make Your Customer Service Stand Out.