The one area that most companies ignore in customer experience is field service. The field service personnel are the face of the company. How they interact with the customer can make or break the company’s image. If done right, companies can grow 2x times faster than those undermining their potential.
Yet, companies have not fully leveraged it. Typically, field service goes through a process of scheduling shifts, ensuring parts availability, allotting the right technician to the right type of issue, cross-sell or up-sell products, getting feedback from customers, and reporting and updating the status of the customer request. According to the Finances Online survey, 52% of companies still use manual methods for field services. Manual and paper-based services can lead to unnecessary delays and inaccurate reporting. Also, since most of the time is spent manually filling the details and reporting them, the field service personnel get little time to address the real issues or have meaningful interactions with the customer.
To create a memorable experience for customers, companies must make field services faster and better. Automation of field service using cutting-edge technology solutions can solve this problem.
End-to-end automation of field service can bring transparency to the process. It helps streamline the processes and ensures that everyone has access to all the relevant resources through a centralized location.Take Penumbra, for instance. The global healthcare company focuses on innovative therapies. Penumbra designs, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative products. The company digitized its field operations to improve efficiency, employee productivity, and free them up for high-value tasks. Before using automation, the field service personnel had to manually reconcile the product stocks at 2000+ customer locations worldwide. Getting data from disparate systems provided limited visibility on available or replenished stocks. To resolve these challenges, the company leveraged the power of a modern field-force integrated mobile application with a built-in barcode scanner. This app helped the personnel perform stock checks and stock transfers and eliminate the manual reconciliation process. It helped increase the field personnel's productivity, reduce errors, and lead to customer delight.
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When it comes to building customer loyalty, field personnel play a critical role. They need to engage and communicate with the customers by updating them about the repairs or services needed based on historical records and current requirements. However, the paper-based work formalities take up so much of their time that they hardly engage with the customer.
Automation can solve this challenge on several levels. To begin with, automating the paperwork can give the field personnel more time to engage with the customer. Secondly, if they have easy access to the customer’s previous records, they can effectively recommend the right services and repairs. It also allows them to cross-sell or upsell appropriate products or services to the customer and boost sales. Most importantly, they can send real-time updates on the status of their request through email or SMS. It makes the entire process transparent and enables the customer to trust the brand more.
Typically, field service personnel must complete work orders, compliance reports, checklists, timecards, and much more. They spend a lot of time filling these forms. It’s time-consuming and susceptible to human errors. There’s also a risk of papers getting misplaced. By digitizing and automating all such operations, companies can eliminate the need for paper-based procedures. They can update their reports, complete the work orders, schedule, or manage visits, update the checklist, and start and stop the timer from anywhere, anytime, with a mobile app. It can improve the productivity of the field personnel, reduce the processing time, and bring transparency and accuracy in field service management. The field personnel can then get more time to focus on the customer’s problem and better engage with them.
Field service automation can eliminate the time-consuming, error-prone paper-based invoicing process. Sometimes the field personnel procrastinate the invoice filling process or could forget to add the services and products they delivered, leading to inaccurate invoice generation. The field personnel can use a mobile application to fill in critical details such as the work done, materials used, time spent on repairing, discounts or warranties, and get the customer’s electronic signature. They don’t have to submit the invoices in the office physically. They can do it as soon as the work is completed. This helps the company to generate accurate invoices and process them quickly.
In a hyper-competitive market, customer experience is of paramount importance for the company's growth. According to Salesforce Snapshot Research, customers had listed expertise, speed, empathy, flexibility, communication, and proactivity as the desired qualities in customer service and support teams. Field personnel with these qualities demonstrated better abilities to build long-term relationships with the customers.
At PopcornApps, we help companies automate their field services processes, so the field personnel can focus on building meaningful relationships with customers and performing high-value tasks rather than spending time on manual paperwork.