December 20, 2017

3 Ways Field Service Companies Can Build Stronger Customer Relationships

Written by
Genevieve de Vera

Loyal, repeat customers are made from great customer experiences. Field service business owners, therefore, can expect stronger customer relationships by delivering faster, more consistent services that exceed customer expectations. To do so, field service companies can take on smart strategies guaranteed to improve the customer experience:

1. Embrace Software

Turning to a field service management (FSM) software solution that allows you to provide convenience and real-time information to customers and create first-rate customer experiences is one of the top ways field service companies can strengthen their relationships with customers.

How? It helps automate your key business functions, so you can do your job better. In turn, you can serve your customers better.

Instead of combing through your paper files to look up customer information or unpaid invoices, you can do a quick electronic search. Instead of going back to the office to check or update the team’s schedules, you can access calendars from your mobile phone or tablet, then easily drag and drop jobs to make changes. And instead of waiting until you’re back at your desk to write up estimates, you can create estimates on the fly and reuse old templates to save time and get quotes out to customers faster. That’s just the start.

How do customers benefit? They’ll get estimates via email, which the majority of homeowners today prefer over hardcopies, receive instant job or schedule updates and, with FSM, that comes equipped with payment processing, they’ll have the ability to pay with a credit card instead of mailing a check.

Ultimately, FSM software provides a modern, cleaner way to serve customers and exceed their expectations, compared to paper-based processes. The tools vary in functionality and sophistication, but the most basic programs will come with some level of lead and job management; scheduling and dispatching; estimate and invoice creation; and customer tools.

More advanced programs bring even more convenience to customers through online portals that allow customers to schedule visits and communication tools that automate customer notifications. Some programs also come with financial reporting that give you an idea of the health of the business, in addition to reports that help measure the productivity and performance of your staff. This can help you identify what changes need to be made to improve your processes and customers’ experiences.

2. Acknowledge and Reward Your Best Customers

Your happy customers are your best brand ambassadors, helping you get important customer referrals. They also spend more than your average customer — the top 10 percent of your customers in terms of loyalty will spend 3x as much than the lower 90 percent. The top 1 percent of your customers will spend 5x more than the lower 99 percent.

Rewarding your best customers can go a long way in enhancing customer relationships. The reward doesn’t have to be grand in order to delight customers and make them feel valued. It can be as simple as a discount or a free upgrade on their next service, a feature on your social media page, or a handwritten note.

Personalized gifts are another great way to show your attention to detail and impress your customers. If you know a customer loves coffee, buying him or her a local bag of beans would be a welcomed surprise. Tickets to a local event or a gift card to a local business also nod to your community and fellow business owners.

3. Keep a Regular Pulse On What Customers Think

Providing the best service is a surefire way to strengthen customer relationships, but how can you ensure you’re doing a great job? Just ask. Your customers are a great source of information about your service, employees, and processes.

Seventy percent of companies that deliver best in class customer experience use customer feedback to inform their decision making. Surveying customers not only shows you areas of improvement, it also helps make customers feel important, heard, and valued.

Encourage your techs to request feedback right away or tell customers that they’ll be following up to get feedback on the job. A good best practice is to share a survey request a couple of days after a job is finished. This way customers will be expecting it and you’ll still be top of mind. Also, the longer you go from the time of service to the time of request, the likelihood of getting review drops precipitously.

Online survey tools like SurveyMonkey and Wootric make it easy to create customer satisfaction and net promoter score (NPS) surveys, which measures customer loyalty like the likelihood a customer would recommend you to a friend or contact, and offer no-cost plans you can take advantage of.

One final tip: If you implement a customer’s recommendation, make it a point to reach out to the customer. It will give him or her a sense of pride in working with you, and strengthen your relationship.

To have stronger customer relationships, make use or at least consider FSM software. It will help you impress your customers and enable you to have excellent and quick follow-ups. You’ll also want to focus on your best customers and get in the habit of requesting feedback. Ultimately, the more you know about your customers and their preferences, the better prepared you are to serve them.

How does your field service company strengthen customer relationships?

 


Genevieve de Vera leads content and email marketing strategy at mHelpDesk, a top-rated FSM solution. She is a regular contributor to the mHelpDesk blog, a resource with actionable insights and business tips for field service business owners. Genevieve specializes in digital marketing, social media, and audience engagement strategies.