Customer experience is a buzzword that’s been going around for some time but field service companies often find it challenging. After all, it’s not that easy to make an experience out of an electrical check or follow-up on a quick service, for example. Which is why in this post, we’ll be talking about all the problems related to customer follow up.
Of course, we would never throw a bunch of issues at you and leave it at that. Read on to find the solutions!
To help you see the experience your business provides from the customer’s perspective, in these posts we’re asking you to play the part of a customer who’s called a plumbing company to fix a leak. If that doesn’t work for you, replace the scenario with one that does.
For example, maybe you’re a customer who’s called a fire and security company to install a new alarm system. This will help you assess where your customer follow up strategy is at now.
After we discuss each possible pothole in your customer’s journey, we’ve taken the liberty of speculating how you (you’re the customer, remember!) will be feeling about your business.
The customer experience problems we cover here are relevant to most field service businesses. Depending on your particular company, you may discover even more that apply.
Don’t let it get you down! It’s better to know about the problems so you can fix them and create the perfect customer experience. Happier customers = more work = more profit!
2. Customer Touchpoint: Paying for the service
The technician has completed the work order and it’s time for the customer to pay. Imagine how the process looks from the customer’s viewpoint. Do you notice any of these problems?
Problem: The invoicing process is clunky.
The technician digs through a pile of paper forms on their clipboard and finally finds the one for you to sign off on. Several days later you receive an invoice in the post. That’s if you’re lucky. The other scenario is that the invoice never arrives and, being an honest customer, you have to call the business to chase it down. It makes you want to yell, ‘Why won’t you take my money?!’
As a customer, you feel: Mild bemusement that there are still businesses that work this way. Not to mention, your confidence level in the business drops. Is a field service company that’s so behind the times really using the most up-to-date tools and knowledge?
Solution: Who enjoys paying by check? You have to dig your check book out of the junk drawer, write out the check, find an envelope and stamp, and remember to bring it to the post office. By sticking to this outmoded way of accepting payments, you slow down the flow of money into your business – never a good idea – and annoy customers with a poor customer follow up.
Instead, try one of the many free and inexpensive apps that let customers pay you on site or online – like the accounting systems we mentioned earlier. Your payment process will look more professional, be more pleasant for the customer, and get money into your bank faster.
Problem: The business makes it difficult to pay.
It would be so convenient if you could just hand the technician a credit card while they were at your home, or pay online. That would make for the perfect customer follow up to the service call. But the only payment option is for you to send a check when the invoice finally arrives.
As a customer, you feel: Guilty that you keep procrastinating on sending the check. It’s such a hassle, not to mention you can’t find a stamp.
Solution: Instead, try one of the many apps that let customers pay you on site or online—like the accounting systems we mentioned earlier or Stripe, SumUp, or WorldPay. Your payment process will look more professional, be more pleasant for the customer, and get money into your bank faster. Just don’t forget to get a software that integrates with it!
3. Customer Touchpoint: After the sale
The work is done and you’ve paid, but it’s not over yet. Keep a lookout for these problems as you envision, from the customer’s perspective, what happens once the field service company has your money.
Problem: You never get a request for feedback.
At this point you might be happy, disappointed, or steaming with anger. And yet, the company will never know because they never asked.
As a customer, you feel: Like just another number in the business’s invoicing system. You paid and now they’re done with you.
Solution: Smart field service businesses keep tabs on their customer satisfaction ratings so they know where they’re doing well and where they need to make changes. Once the customer has paid for service, there are various ways you can get valuable feedback from them:
Send a simple email asking how the customer felt about the service they received.
Ask the customer to rate your business on one of the popular review websites. Be sure to include a link to the site in your email to make it easier for the customer.
Post on social media asking for reviews.
Send out a customer satisfaction survey.
Get your Net Promoter Score. A one-question survey and a simple calculation let you know how many fans vs. detractors your business has.
Reviews are the main element of great customer follow up. Asking for feedback makes them feel important and shows them that you value their opinions. Don’t skip this easy way to improve the customer experience and get them to keep coming back. Not to mention the immense value of having a lot of (positive) reviews.
Problem: The company doesn’t send you any customer follow up at all.
You joined the plumbing company’s email list and opted in to receive information, but once the sale is done you never hear from them again. No thanks, no news, no special offers.
As a customer, you feel: Nothing. You feel zero loyalty towards this company, so the next time you need service you’ll probably search Google again and call the first business that pops up.
Solution: People are a lot more aware of their privacy rights these days but if they do agree to receive marketing communications from you, sending the occasional follow-up will show customers you care about them beyond the sale. (You can also follow up on social media like Twitter or Facebook.)
For example, you might:
Tell customers about new services and promotions that are relevant to them.
Let them know when you’re closed for holidays or bad weather.
Send useful tips to help customers keep their equipment and appliances running perfectly.
Send news that’s relevant to your customers, such as product recalls.
The bright side is that nowadays, people are more and more inclined to leave reviews. It’s simply wired into our online behavior to tell others what we think. It’s the same with your customers. All they need is a little nudge.
So today, we’ll be breaking down all the different aspects of getting your customers to leave more positive reviews, how to deal with the occasional negative one, and the best way to use them for your marketing strategy. This takes us to our next point:
Problem: You forget to schedule annual service.
You bought a new appliance from the plumbing company that requires annual maintenance, but who has time to remember to call and schedule an appointment? You’re busy with little things like, oh , you know, living life.
As a customer, you feel: Panicked when that appliance starts making a funny noise because you never had it serviced.
Solution: Upselling customers. More often than not, people frown upon this but if you do it only when it’s in their best interest, it can actually improve the customer experience.
It’s the same with service reminders. Reminding customers when their annual service is due takes the burden off of them to remember and keeps their systems running smoothly. So if you’re not sending service reminders, you’re neglecting the final part of a positive customer experience.
Email marketing systems like MailChimp will let you create groups and conditions where customers receive the right reminders at the right time. It’s ideal to take into account when exactly the job took place in the first place and time your reminder right.
Another option is to ask your field service management software provider if they have any features that will do service reminders for you.
4. Your Customer Follow Up Strategy: How did you do?
You’ve now seen the entire customer experience through the eyes of your customer. How did your business fare? If you discovered that your business is making your customers anything less than perfectly happy, try some of the solutions we suggested.
If you prefer to read offline or would like to share the solutions with your office staff or technicians, click the banner below to download our full communication guide that fixes these problems and many more.
Hi! I'm Cristina Maria
And I want to bring next-level strategies to the field service industry. When I'm not working on the best tips to grow your business, I'm on the lookout for a sci-fi novel to beat The Foundation.