Opinions on the pandemic- there are more than enough to go around right now. One simply has to scroll Facebook or Twitter to find new ones. The problem facing plumbing, HVAC and electrical businesses is that many of these different views are held by their customers. This makes it even more difficult to meet customer expectations.
How Can Field Service Companies Meet Different Customer Expectations?
Businesses need to match the expectations of their customers. But with the COVID-19 Pandemic, it’s even more important to exceed them. Times are tough. Families and businesses likely don’t have a lot of wiggle room. Service providers need to deliver on their value propositions more than ever.
To help, we’ve broken down 8 strategies for meeting customer expectations into two categories – adapting and preparing.
Adapt What You Can You Control to Better Match Customer Expectations
There’s a lot in the world of business that is outside anyone’s control. Economics aside, even employees are full of surprises. But service managers can control what business processes they use.
Improving your systems is critical for success during the pandemic and afterward, but it can also help lead to happier customers. Better profit margins make it easier to focus on meeting customer expectations.
Here are four strategies for adapting your business processes to better meet customers’ needs.
Create a CSR Call Script to Match the Times
It’s important to keep technicians healthy and safe. Not only is it your duty as an employer, but the phones are not going to ring if your office becomes a local Coronavirus hotspot.
CSR’s need to ask whether anyone at the customer’s location has been sick. Set expectations by explaining that technicians will be unable to keep the appointment if anyone is displaying symptoms. This is now common practice, and it helps eliminate any surprises on both sides of the transaction.
Pricing – Establish a Foundation for Longterm Growth Now
Set your rates for profitability. Though customers aren’t directly a part of this process, they will feel its effects. Meeting customers’ needs is more difficult if you’re always operating at a loss. Calculating hourly rates is a simple process with this formula.
Present Options to Put Customers in Control and Increase Profitability
Set customer expectations by giving them options. When a customer makes a choice, it requires at least a basic level of understanding. They’re less likely to be surprised at the end of the appointment, and it can help your business achieve Financial Balance.
Offer Digital and Remote Payment Options to Meet Customer Demands
“While cash may still be king, it can also be quite dirty. As a result, currency is increasingly taking the digital form” – Funding Circle
Even before the pandemic, paying by debit or credit card was becoming more common, and now, customers may wish to pay remotely. If you’re not doing this, your competition likely already is. Meet demand by offering your customers the ability to pay remotely.
Prepare Technicians and CSR’s to Respond to What You Can’t Control
Though no one can control what customers need, managers can help prepare technicians for service calls. Training is essential for front line workers. This is something you’re likely already doing, but “It is extremely important that those front-line employees are trained to respect the wishes of each and every customer.”
Here are four strategies for preparing your front-line employees to better meet customer needs:
Equip Technicians to Match Customers’ Expectations on PPE
“I believe for the next couple of months, our service technicians and replacement installers need to continue to approach each residence wearing a mask and gloves. They can then take the cue from the customer as to that customer’s desires regarding the protection.”Butch Welsch of Welsch Heating & Cooling in St. Louis
Be sure that technicians are stocked and ready to wear the appropriate PPE when approaching customers. Some may find it excessive, but it’s not worth the risk of failing to match your customers’ needs.
Practice Social-Distancing for Customers and Field Technicians
Whenever possible, maintain social distancing. Yes, techs are more likely to match customer expectations, but it also reduces the likelihood of sick employees.
Some customers, such as the elderly, may need a no contact service call. Take advantage of field service management software that can show options, get approval, capture a signature and accept payment all on customers’ phones.
Establish Checklists to Build Good Habits in CSR’s and Techs
Being prepared isn’t just for Boy Scouts. Checklists are essential for maintaining systems. They help CSR’s ask the right questions, and lists can help technicians stock their trucks and increase sales.
Monitor Business Processes to Give Positive and Negative Feedback
Recently, you might have noticed the world isn’t perfect. Business processes will sometimes break down from human error or poor design. It happens, but it doesn’t have to keep happening.
Review your service calls. Use field service software that records calls, shows service call presentations and tracks technicians. But don’t stop there!
Many managers miss this step. Give your employees feedback and fix what’s broken. Equip techs to better meet customer needs next time.
Keep Moving Forward to Succeed with Customers Now and Into the Future
Meeting every customer’s every need is a pipe dream (extra points for the plumber joke). Someone will always find a reason to be unhappy, but these eight strategies are a great start.
Tomorrow’s leaders are leaning forward today. They aren’t waiting for the ‘old normal,’ but instead, they’re embracing the ‘new normal’ now. Start using these strategies to meet customer expectations to grow for the long term. Some of today’s biggest companies were born out of recessions.
Talk to us. If you’re looking for the right tools to better match customer expectations, Zip Solutions has a variety of tools to help your business reach that next level of growth. Sign up for a demo or call us at 636-222-2222, and we’ll show you how.