“In God we trust. All others must bring data.” – W. Edwards Deming
Imagine your top field technician in a suit and tie, standing in front of a conference room filled with executives and delivering a presentation on your customers’ experience. Does this sound unreal? Perhaps the suit is a bit over the top, but the rest is quite realistic. Here’s why: your field technicians might be your greatest resource for harnessing customer insights.
Field technicians are on the front lines with customers, many of whom they’ve built a rapport with over years of on-site visits. Since your techs are the ones who come face-to-face with customers on a regular basis and understand their needs, they’re also the ones who can help improve the customer journey by sharing insights only they witness. When was the last time you asked your field staff not about their tools and processes, but rather what it is like to be a customer of your firm?
By utilizing field technicians to gather not just data, but relevant customer data, your organization can harness the power of data capture to enable more strategic business decisions and better meet companywide objectives, even achieving Best-In-Class service status.
Supply the Right Tools
Successfully capturing, storing and organizing customer data requires a robust service management technology infrastructure and mobile application. In today’s competitive environment, mobile technologies (e.g., smartphone, tablets) are merely table stakes to delivering an elevated customer experience (CX).
A mobile application allows real-time data capture by field technicians that will immediately update and serve the many back office departments within an organization. Are you gathering “observational” data from your technicians’ visits – not just on the work they are there to perform, but on the overall customer environment? Are they helping to identify opportunities to deliver additional or improved services?
Sharing Is Caring
If field technicians are actively collecting data, analysis of said data can give different departments various customer insights. Based on the type of data amassed, departments such as engineering, sales, and service can all benefit from some of the same data points, analyzed in different ways and can improve customer experience and drive operational efficiency.
Most firms collect equipment problem codes and issue resolution identified at the asset type level that can be analyzed for trends and factored into identifying recalls, design flaws, manufacturing lot issues, and leveraged to improve future product design. However, only best-in-class firms are also collecting environmental data such as ambient temperatures, asset locations (e.g., near doors, heat sources), and routine customer usage metrics (e.g., hours/day running, unit counts) that can be analyzed in conjunction with problem/resolution codes to derive trends and predictors.
Capturing, recording, and creating a workflow for any sales opportunities identified in the field that are automatically routed to the sales department for immediate follow-up will increase revenue. Field techs can catalog competitive equipment at the customer’s location, note whether that equipment is on a service contract, note last service date, or other opportunities to add that equipment to their service contract with that customer. Best-in-class service organizations incentivize their field technicians to help grow their service business, even if leads are ultimately pursued by sales/account teams.
Routine service data such as travel time, arrival time, repair duration and fault, cause and remedy data are usually captured by even the most reactive of service organizations. More progressive organizations, however, are seeking more insight to improve their customer experience. These progressive service organizations are seeking to understand contextual data from the customer (e.g., customer actions before contacting the service organization; or ideally what were the parameters just prior to failure) that can be combined with traditional service data. In addition, gathering data on what might have been done to prevent the issue in the first place (e.g., completing PM as per schedule), can provide incredible insight to share with your customer, thus increasing the value you deliver to your customers.
By utilizing field technicians to capture more than just traditional service data, organizations can develop the data goldmine and insight into the customer which leads to improved CX. The analyzing of data can also lead organizations to develop best-in-class business processes across the organization and create new and unique ways to interact with their customers. By investing in service technology to efficiently gather data, analyze it, and empower relevant employees to help them to better complete their jobs, your organization can positively impact the customer experience.
Ivan Moore is Chief Operating Officer of Jolt Consulting Group, a company exclusively focused on assisting companies improve their customer experience and accelerate growth. Ivan and his team deliver success business outcomes for their clients across the entire customer journey by assessments of their sales and service delivery, optimization of business processes, operating metrics, and deployment of enabling technologies. As a consultant, Ivan has worked with clients across 10 industry verticals to transform their operations. Contact Ivan at [email protected]