CSM

Customer experience takes a huge beating when it comes to Field Service Management. The biggest issue faced by customers is the number of repetitions and iterations required to solve a problem. Clearly, there is a huge gap in customer expectations versus customer experience.

The Expectation-Experience Gap

You’ve probably been there, done that. You call up the call center reporting that your device is not functioning. The agent listens to you patiently, creates a complaint number and lets you know that a service engineer would attend this issue within, say, 72 hours. You hang up and get a message and an email with your complaint number and a promise that a Field Service Engineer would visit you within 72 hours.

Now the problem is you don’t know exactly when they are going to visit and 72 hours is a fairly long duration — you have to be available at the location when the field service engineer calls and schedules his visit. Keeping yourself available for 72 hours is an issue and if you miss, it simply goes through another complaint cycle.

Meanwhile, the company has internally raised this issue in their Incident Management or Field Service Management platform, which is usually not integrated with the Customer Service Management system. Therefore the Field Service team do not know what kind of a customer you are, how long have you been a customer, what is the kind of relationship that you have, how account management is looking at you as a strategic customer for future growth, and a whole lot of important information about you.

Hence, the Field Service team does not put the customer on priority, and merely keeps them in the queue. To make things worse, the designated Service Engineer may not have the right skills or the right parts for the job. This can and often does result in repeat calls and emails to the Customer Service Desk, adding to the customer’s frustration.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this seemingly endless loop of negativity, and it is a simple one. 

 Closing the Expectation-Experience Gap

The critical step in closing the expectation-experience gap is to look at the entire customer journey holistically, rather than as disparate components.

Diagram

Seamless information sharing holds the key to successful customer service management.

In solutions such as ServiceNow, Field Service Management is designed to integrate with Customer Service Management as well as Incident Management. This ensures rapid, successful resolution of incidents no matter where they occur or how they are reported.

ServiceNow Customer Service Management leverages the existing contract application to create and maintain service contracts – storing information about the type of support provided, details of assets covered, SLAs and entitlements based on customer category, and supported communication channels. This allows field technicians to access customer information proactively, and be prepared to address the issue the first time around, without any surprises.

Tips & Tricks

Whether you are new to the issue of customer service, or have experienced them before, here are some vital tips & tricks that can help you avoid the pitfalls of customer service:

  1. Integrate field service and customer service management

Ensure that your solution integrates field service and customer service management. This can significantly speed up the resolution of most customer issues

  1. Empower customers to self-schedule appointments

Enabling customers to self-schedule appointments with technicians makes life a whole lot easier and personalized, besides earning you major brownie points with customers. Customers get to know the availability and proximity of technicians, and can fit them into their schedules at their convenience.

  1. Manage your inventory

You can avoid major hiccups down the road of customer service through efficient inventory management which can be enabled by a solution’s Asset Management capabilities.

  1. Design for mobile

Everybody, everywhere has a mobile – why not leverage it? By designing for mobile, technicians can accept/reject tasks, use questionnaires to complete necessary task details, and collect customer signatures for work completion using a handy mobile interface.

  1. Create task dependency relationships

Identify and assign tasks by their complexity level, e.g., a simple task requires only one technician whereas a complex task will call for a set of coordinated and optimized task assignment among multiple technicians.

There you have it — a simple set of tips & tricks that can go a long way in solving customer issues even before they arise.

Another thing to keep in mind is that solutions such as ServiceNow tend to be quite a beast — there is literally no limit to what it can achieve and the feature-power it offers. Things can get overwhelming if you attempt to implement the whole system overnight. A far better approach would be to keep the initial rollout simple. Start small and scale according to your needs. This also ensures faster adoption by field technicians. After all, a solution works only if people use it, right?

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