What is the most important factor for business success? Some say a great product. Others say it’s the people you hire who make your business successful. While those are contributing factors, the most influential key to consistent and long-term growth is customer service.
There is a lot of talk about growth hacks that move your business into the next sphere of profitability, but the greatest growth hack isn’t a hack at all — it’s serving customers well. Good customer service improves client relationships, boosts repeat business, and sometimes even provides free referrals for new customers. But what does great customer service look like and how can you achieve it?
The question has become more challenging to answer in recent years. With everything being automated and on-demand, it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with customer expectations. This is particularly true for businesses with reps or technicians on the go, who may struggle with rapid-pace and communication between the field and the home office.
Luckily, field service management (FSM) software can help bridge the gap between customer expectations and human ability. We’ve narrowed down the three most impactful ways you can improve your customer service to grow your business.
Communication is Key
How many times have you had to fix issues with customers who are upset because of a miscommunication? Wires get crossed, information gets lost, and misunderstandings happen all the time. It can be difficult to maintain communication with customers and employees, especially with multiple appointments scheduled in a day lasting from 40 minutes to 4 hours. These communication issues can taint the customer’s view of your business, even if the first interaction was great. They also take up valuable employee time when you have to send someone back for a fix.
The best way to solve your communication issues is to create an open line between your home office, your field techs, and your customer. Send your customers notifications and updates from start to finish. Begin by confirming that the job has been scheduled. Have techs send a message when they’re on the way. This will show your customer that you value their time just as much as you value your own. If it’s a long job, it’s important to keep them updated on the progress. You should let them know about any updates or setbacks as they occur.
Once the job is finished, follow up with any necessary billing information or receipts, as well as a chance to provide feedback. Doing all this with field service management software will save you both time and money, while also creating a record of interactions for reference later. You’ll find that having a record of communication with customers helps to prevent possible miscommunications in the future.
Convenience is King
In a world of smartphones, customers are used to everything being available at their fingertips. This makes having access to online and mobile payments, invoicing, and booking a necessary convenience to keep up client retention.
Customer expectations include the ability to pay on the spot with the receipt delivered straight to the email inbox. FSM software makes that possible and adds the value of convenience to transactions while giving you peace of mind knowing payment is being collected on the spot.
Similarly, customers have high expectations of mobile scheduling. They are constantly on the go and used to making appointments or bookings via email, internet form, or text. It’s far more uncommon now to call. The key is to provide customers with self-service options.
The ability to book online through your website, Yelp page, Facebook, or a third-party app, grants customers freedom and saves you time, giving you space to book new business. Customers who find you online can schedule a job right away, automatically appearing on your calendar and reducing the risk of being forgotten, double booked, or lost in translation.
Keep it Personal
While technology is universally accepted as more efficient than manual processes, a big fear amongst business owners is the risk of losing the personal connection with customers. However, with many FSM apps you can not only maintain that customer relationship, but expand it.
As customer bases grow, keeping track and maintaining a relationship with each individual can become a tough task. It can be easy to lose the grasp on personal details and regular check-ins that you had when your business was smaller. But features like customer notes and tags keep all of those personal details organized and easy to access within the app.
Another feature that helps grow the relationship with customers is direct and digital marketing. By sending automatic reminders when it’s time for routine service or extending a special offer to loyal customers, you can reinforce relationships while driving more business.
FSM software creates efficiencies — better communication and booking and billing convenience — that free up time to bring on new customers. It also helps maintain long-lasting relationships with existing customers through consistent marketing, customer tracking, and automated reminders.
Now that you know the three most impactful ways to utilize software to improve customer service and meet customer expectations, you’ll want to make sure to pick the company that works best for your business. Using a product selection tool can help you review options to learn whether or not a software company is a good fit for your unique FSM requirements.
Kindra Kernes is the marketing and communications coordinator at Housecall Pro, an all-in-one field service management app with full-feature capabilities such as job scheduling, dispatch, automatic invoicing, customer text notifications, and online booking.