Your customers want more. Whether you’re an HVAC contractor, a limousine service or any other business that shows up at someone’s door to do work, your customers’ expectations have never been higher. Gone are the days of providing six hour arrival windows and making return visits to finish the job. Long gone are the days of customer loyalty and competing purely on price. Your customers are savvy, Web-educated and not afraid to tell the world when you mess up. They’re also not afraid to find someone else.
Are you ready for this sea change in customer expectations? Has your business truly become customer-centric? Have you invested in technology that will take your from manual to automatic?
One good way to gauge if you’re meeting your customer’s expectations is through “active social listening.” Your customers don’t wring their hands and shout to the heavens when you provide bad service. They take to social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr and more. Then they’ll review you on Yelp, Google, Angie’s List, Home Advisor and hundreds of other local sites.
You need to be listening for when your company’s name (and your own name) are mentioned on the Web. Use Google Alerts to get an email when your company is talked about. You can also use more sophisticated tools like SocialMention to listen across all social channels. Of course if you’re on those social channels already, make sure to check in once a day at minimum to check for messages and posts related to your business. Finally, make sure to send out follow-up surveys to make sure your customers have a chance to share their experience.
Listening for issues is helpful but obviously your goal is to prevent bad customer experiences in the first place. In the the field service business, it often comes down to making sure you have the tools to anticipate customer needs.
Your customers don’t want to set up a second appointment.
- Do you have the right parts on the truck for the job?
- Do your technicians have checklists so they don’t miss anything?
- Does the tech know all the equipment that needs to be fixed or maintained BEFORE they get there?
Your customers don’t want to hang around all day waiting for you.
- Are you assigning technicians based on proximity?
- Is each technicians schedule well-organized and available to them?
- Are your techs alerted when schedules change?
Your customers don’t want to be surprised by an unexpected charge.
- Do you have consistent pricing or pricebooks available to all techs?
- Do you get invoices out promptly or better, take payment in the field?
- Do your estimates match your invoices?
Your customers will be OK with satisfactory service but they want to be delighted.
- Do you send text messages with your technician’s photo when they’re en route?
- Do your techs recommend maintenance care tips that customers can perform themselves and save a visit?
- Do you coach your techs on how to keep an even temperment in conflicts?
Customer expectations will continue to become more demanding as our world becomes smarter and more automated. Your business needs to continually rise to these challenges to ensure your customers stay yours.