We continue our Service is Hard blog series this week by addressing the topic of mobility and why it can prove a challenge for field service management. As mentioned in the intro blog post for this series, we are addressing important topics that we could not include in our “Service is Hard” book, and continue to speak to the challenges our customers face on an ongoing basis.
Mobility is now a key part of everyday lives. In fact, it was reported by eMarketer, that by 2018, over one-third of consumers worldwide, or more than 2.56 billion people, will have a smartphone. Smartphones and tablets have disrupted so many industries by creating new opportunities to interact with customers (and so much more!), and it is critical for service brands to realize and capitalize on the engagement opportunities that exist via mobile.
Customers expect businesses to understand and use this way of consuming and communicating. This shift in mindset spans groups of customers, who are evolving in a fluid environment, always connected and on the move. These are customers that sit in cafés and eateries and want to be able to schedule their IPTV installation, their annual furnace checkup, or order that new jacket that caught their eye when out with friends last night, all at the same time and all from the convenience of a tablet or smartphone.
To fulfill these expectations, service businesses have to change the way they’re communicating with these customers. The benefit to the customer is a more personalized approach that makes their lives easier, resulting in increased interaction for the brand. By using simple methods such as putting ourselves in the shoes of the customer and considering mobile as a context and not as a channel, service businesses can create a strong and efficient bond with their users, and improve customer relationships through mobility. A few tips on managing these new challenges that may pop up as a result of mobility include:
- Make sure your mobile presence is informative: Today’s mobile customer discovers more about the products and services they want and the companies they are interested in by browsing online sites. If a service business’s mobile presence is lacking functionality in terms of easy-to-find, important information, then customers will quickly grow frustrated and leave the company site in search of another, possibly a competitor.
- Managing the customer: People often forget their appointments if it’s not that important for them, or if it was scheduled impulsively. The best way to avoid this is to enact mobile reminders, through email, SMS and push notifications. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a pick-up, a delivery or a service call, sending a reminder a couple of days or a few hours before the appointment is a good way to reduce your “no show” rates and will result in grateful customers.
- Engage the customer: By giving customers the chance to interact with and engage the business, a service company increases its brand recognition. Engagement is solicited through tools and services such as customers booking a service or installation call for a new product (gas stove, home security system or windows). Examples include a live chat function for detailed help. Encourage responses on social media, and ask for reviews and feedback.
Check back next week to see why change management is critical within FSM and don’t forget to request your own “Service Is Hard” copy today.