Happy customers are returning customers, and as a field service agent, you want to ensure that you are giving your customers the best experience possible so they call you the next time they need your services. Field service agents or technicians can work in various fields, including general contracting to HVAC servicing, mobile vehicle repairs, on-site machinery, specialist equipment repairs and maintenance, etc.
But regardless of the type of work you carry out, how you carry it out should be universal to offer the best level of customer service possible.
If you’re on the fence over how important good customer service is, remember this;
- 78% of consumers will return to a company if they receive excellent customer service (source: Salesforce Research)
- Customers are 93% more likely to remain loyal customers after receiving good customer service (source: HubSpot)
Read on for some proven ways to improve your field agent customer service and boost satisfaction and retention rates in one fell swoop.
Before sending anyone out on a call, they need to have all of the information to hand and be able to relay anything back to the office or converse with in-office staff to help them complete the job in good time and to a good level of repair. Using a field service app can give each technician information on previous calls, repairs, additional information, resolutions, and more to facilitate a job well done. With this information, they can plan the work ahead of time and ensure as much as possible that they have the right tools and equipment to complete the job. The more information they have, the better it will be for everyone involved.
Using field service agent software can help you reduce redundant tasks as everything will be logged straight into the app or system to reduce the need for manual entry and copying of information. By using the software this way, you can create a centralized point for everyone so nothing is missed or delayed, and whoever needs the data can access it at a moment’s notice. The less time it takes to get the information to the right people, the better customer service you can give.
One of the best ways to deliver exceptional customer service is to be on time for all of your appointments as much as possible. But, if you will be early or late, you need to contact the client beforehand to alert them of any changes to your appointment time. Customers appreciate those who arrive when they say they will and are ready and prepared to carry out the job at hand.
The aim should always be to be on time and fix the first time, so putting in the prep work, using time tracking tools and GPS software to estimate arrival times, and allowing enough time for repairs, i.e., not underbooking time slots can enable technicians to carry out the repairs conscientiously and get it the right first time without worrying about delaying their next call due to running over. Remember, it’s not about how many appointments you can fit in in one day; it is about the quality of the service you provide. So if this means additional work or travel time, then so be it; your customers will appreciate the attention to detail and desire to be on time and get the job fixed without return visits.
While the job itself is essential, what isalso important is how you talk to and deal with the customer. You need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively and ensure that you keep them updated and informed as much as possible about what is going on, what the issue is, and what you are going to do to resolve it. Talk to the customer about the repair, how they can avoid it happening again if possible, how long the fix will take, and what you expect once it’s completed.
Technicians should also be ready to answer any and all questions as they crop up and handle any issues professionally should the job not go to plan, all without hiding anything or disengaging from the customer.
Directly linked to the above point is communication. Not just on the job but before and after, too. Communication with clients needs to be constant and ongoing throughout the length of the project and can be done in various forms: face-to-face, via the telephone, email, text, video calls, and so on. To leverage good customer service, field service agents need to be proficient at communicating via all these methods to cultivate a relationship with the client so the client understands what is happening. From booking the job via phone to sending a text or email reminders, checking in the day of the scheduled appointments, and following a few days post-completion to check everything is ok, communication isn’t just a one-time thing. It should be constant from the moment the customer gets in touch until the job is finished.
While being on time is super important, so too is schedule planning to allow you to maximize your appointments and get as many slots booked in and not wasted as possible. You can plan your schedule in different ways, including
- Keeping one agent free for emergency call-outs per day
- Prioritising revisits for ongoing work
- Scheduling geographically
- Scheduling around the different tasks you have on, e.g., blocking easy fixes or quick jobs on the same day or same days of the week and leaving bigger slots for more complex work
It’s also a good idea to be realistic about the time each job will take using data from previous work similar to estimated booking times. No one likes to feel rushed when working, and your technicians will appreciate the extra time to get the job done right, and your customers won’t feel like they are a burden or aren’t being appreciated by you because the job is rushed. Use data on previous projects to estimate the length of time required; don’t forget to add in travel time, breaks, and lunches, as well as the time needed to pick up equipment if required (again, by logging the job correctly, you can reduce these instances as can blocking them in your schedule to collect tools and materials prior to arriving with the customer).
A great way to boost customer service is to allow the customer to access their invoices and estimates online to see how much it will be and how the job is broken down. You can use a set template for your business and include as many details as possible, e.g., parts, labor, taxes, discounts, etc., so the customer knows exactly what they’re paying for.
You can take this one step further by allowing them to pay digitally beforehand or on the day, make deposits or payment installments for larger jobs, and get a receipt and warranty if offered for work carried out so they don’t have to wait for the technician to hand it to them. This way, they know exactly what to expect cost-wise upfront should the repair or work required be as expected.
Improving customer service as a field agent means you must work closely with the customer to help build a rapport that facilitates a healthy working relationship and ensures that customers return time and time again as and when they need your services. By implementing the suggestions in this post, you can improve your customer service efforts and ensure that everyone is happy and informed throughout the whole process.