Digital Customer Experience Best Practices: Field Service Guide With OptimoRoute and Zendesk

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No matter what type of field service business you’re in, your digital customer experience matters. It can either be your largest advantage over your competition or your Achilles’ heel.

Brands with the top customer experience (CX) make 5.7 times more revenue than their competitors, and 84% of businesses that invest in CX report an increase in revenue.

We spoke with an expert on customer experience—Senior Customer Success Associate at Zendesk Mara Simonson—to bring you tried-and-true tips, so you can develop a top-tier customer experience for any field service business.

In this article, we cover:

What Exactly Is a Digital Customer Experience?
Why Does Digital CX Matter for Field Service Businesses?
Using Cutting Edge Software to Create a Top-Tier Digital Customer Experience for Your Field Service Business
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What Exactly Is a Digital Customer Experience?

Customer experience, or CX, refers to your customer’s overall experience with and impression of your brand. Your customer experience is the sum of every single interaction you have with your clients—from the first time they visit your website to when they pay their invoice online.

Say, for instance, you own an HVAC company, and you work hard to make sure every in-person interaction with a client is a positive one. You educate homeowners about their HVAC system so they know they’re in good hands, you remember their dog’s name each time you visit so they feel valued, and you go the extra mile to build a strong relationship. Your digital customer experience should be a reflection of this same personalization.

(Source) Businesses need to deliver consistent interactions to customers across calls, texts, and chats. 

Whether your customer calls, texts, emails, or reaches out via a chat function on your website, you need to deliver the same personalized interactions to create a great overall customer experience.

Why Does Digital CX Matter for Field Service Businesses?

As noted above, CX is tied to your bottom line, but digital customer experience is increasingly important for several other reasons.

“Companies have a lot to think about when it comes to creating a positive customer experience but there are a few aspects that should be prioritized over others,” Simonson said. “In Zendesk’s 2020 Trends Report, we surveyed customers on what they think makes a good experience and the top three aspects were responsiveness, effortless access, and friendliness.”

More business happens online

Today, people do product and company research and make purchases online. More than 2.14 billion people will buy goods and services online in 2021.

Because of this, the Internet is the first place many consumers will interact with your brand, so it’s imperative that your field service business meets or exceeds customers’ high expectations.

Customers want options

People want to be able to reach out to your business in a way that’s most convenient for them. HubSpot Research found that “consumers want to communicate with companies through 13 different channels.”

So you need to provide quick responses, whether a customer reaches out via your website, calls, emails, or DMs you on social media platforms.

(Source) Customers want to reach businesses through multiple channels. 

Smart brands like Wag! and Instacart have up-scaled their customer service using a cloud contact center that enables seamless customer communications across all channels.

Customers expect quick response times

In today’s digital world, responsiveness is a must. Customers expect businesses to reply to questions, address complaints, and more in a timely manner.

How long does a field service business have to respond? Just 10 minutes.

(Source) Customers want responses in 10 minutes or less.

Friendly service is a must

In addition to a prompt response via their preferred communication channel, customers also expect warm and helpful support from your customer service providers. In fact, 73% of customers say friendly customer service representatives make them more likely to stick with a brand.

When you’re building a hands-on business or an in-field service, it’s natural to prioritize in-person interactions. Many business owners overlook digital interactions, but prioritizing your responsiveness, creating effortless access across all channels, and providing friendly responses wherever your potential customers choose to reach out can foster brand loyalty that will boost your bottom line.

“Seventy-four percent of customers feel loyal to a particular brand or company and 52% go out of their way to buy from their favorite brands,” Simonson said. “Good experiences drive loyalty. Bad experiences tank it.”

Using Cutting Edge Software to Create a Top-Tier Digital Customer Experience for Your Field Service Business

Here are four proven ways to improve your CX and, as a result, boost your bottom line.

1. Empower your customers to help themselves

Create self-service options that enable people to find the answers they need or take actions like booking an appointment. This is an increasingly popular option, with benchmark data showing that self-service adoption grew by 103% in the past four years.

Self-service options can take a variety of forms, from a basic FAQ page to a conversational AI chatbot that interacts with customers to answer their questions. Others include a simple help page that states your hours of business and methods of contact, online scheduling systems, and auto-replies with important information that are sent to customers who make email inquiries.

“If you are able to invest time up front to create a self-service option like a help center, this will ensure that in the long term, agents won’t be bogged down by answering small questions,” Simonson said. “Instead, they can focus time on complex issues. Zendesk has found that 89% of customers reduced their ticket handle time by 50% or more with self-service.

Online ordering and scheduling systems are especially useful for field service businesses. Just set up your open time slots, and some software will even let you automatically prioritize bookings for regular clients, as in the example below.

(Source) Online scheduling systems are useful for field service businesses.

2. Get ahead of customer queries with smart-tech solutions

Customers love self-service features. At OptimoRoute, we’ve seen as much as a 70% reduction in customer service calls for businesses that use our Realtime Order Tracking, which lets customers check their order status anytime via a map with GPS tracking. Our Proof of Delivery feature has also been a game-changer for customers because they can see when and where their products were delivered.

You can’t be everywhere at once, so efficiency is vital for managing customer communications across multiple channels and delivering a seamless customer experience through every stage of the customer journey.

CRM tools like Zendesk empower businesses to do just that by managing customer support and service from one central location. Zendesk refers to customers who offer a combination of support channels (live support, self-service, email, etc.) as omnichannel customers. “Companies offering omnichannel support resolve tickets more than three times faster, and their customers spend 75% less time waiting for agents to respond,” according to a 2020 Zendesk Trends Report. As mentioned before, responsiveness is the top aspect of a good customer experience.

3. Make sure your whole team can access relevant customer information

Data siloing is a term used to describe the isolation of information—and it’s bad for businesses. When all or part of a customer’s history with your company isn’t accessible to the person they’re speaking with, it can cause frustration for both the customer and the employee.

So make sure every member of your team who needs access to customer information has it. And in addition to important data like the customer’s account number and purchase history, your team also needs detailed notes about the customer’s previous interactions with customer service.

More than 70% of customers expect companies to collaborate on their behalf. “When a customer calls the company with a question and reaches out again the next day, the customer is expecting whoever answers the phone to know what was previously discussed,” Simonson said. “Zendesk helps keep records of this.”

 (Source) Make sure relevant team members can access customer information.

Delivery drivers and field service technicians who use OptimoRoute get similar note-taking options. They can leave directions for getting gate access, note which houses have dogs, and record other important details for the next driver who visits that customer.

Integrate your tech stack to prevent siloing and boost efficiency by integrating OptimoRoute with Zendesk.

4. Plan for scalability

Make it easier to grow your field service business by planning ahead for what your expanding business will need and implementing improvements in customer experience sooner rather than later.

“To efficiently scale, a lot of service based companies will move away from email or phone requests and require customers to fill out a request form,” Simonson said. “This allows for more efficient routing, greater customer context, and quicker response times.”

Again, Zendesk can help with this. As a company grows, Zendesk stores the accumulating customer data. Zendesk Explore can also be used to measure the effectiveness of the support teams, help with resource allocation and staffing, and empower the company to make data-driven decisions.

Try Zendesk + OptimoRoute Risk-Free

Clearly, providing a top-notch customer experience is essential for field service businesses. And with Zendesk and OptimoRoute, your company can give people exactly what they want, turning them into loyal customers and increasing your bottom line as well.

You can try both Zendesk and OptimoRoute risk-free, so start your free trial today!

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