Mobile technology has become a part of the everyday lives of most customers, which has created a massive shift in customer expectations when it comes to service. This new class of “connected customers” now measures the success of their interactions with service organizations against the experiences they have had with other types of services such as FedEx, Amazon, and Uber.
Jeanine Sterling, Industry Director, Mobile and Wireless Communications at Frost & Sullivan, and Deb Geiger, VP Global Marketing at Astea International, discussed the challenges of meeting the needs of these mobile-enabled consumers in a recent webinar, “Is Your Service Organization Ready for the Connected Customer?”
“It’s no secret that the level of digital connections is exploding, and for customers the pervasiveness of connectivity is accelerating and heightening expectations of service quality,” Sterling said. Customers want more information from service organizations, along with faster and better service. “They also expect you to know their individual histories and preferences,” Sterling says. “They want you to collect their personal information to make service calls more responsive.”
Because your customers have experienced the benefits of mobility, they expect your service technicians to have access to the same level of connectivity. In fact, mobility alone is no longer a competitive advantage; it’s basic table stakes when it comes to meeting customer service expectations. “If you aren’t part of this trend, you are already late,” Sterling said. According to Frost & Sullivan’s data, 47% of North American businesses have at least 11 different mobile worker apps deployed, and 88% plan on introducing at least one new employee-facing app within the year.
And why are they deploying so many apps? Because there is a clear return on investment (ROI) both in efficiency and cost savings, as well as in customer relations. According to Frost & Sullivan’s mobility survey, the top benefits include:
* Business process efficiency
* Employee productivity
* Improved collaboration
* Cost savings
* Employee satisfaction
* Customer engagement
* Competitive advantage
Using mobile technologies can not only help service organizations operate more efficiently, it can also provide ways to improve the overall customer experience – by providing more accurate invoices; giving them real-time updates about when technicians are going to arrive at their location; enabling them to schedule emergency service online; or enabling technicians to order parts, accept payment, offer new services to customers on site from their mobile devices.
There are a number of challenges to deploying and maintaining a functional mobility program. According to Frost & Sullivan there are a number of ways to address those challenges, but they require service organizations to remain focused on continuous improvement of their mobile deployment. Among those challenges:
The mobile market is fragmented. Be prepared to research multiple providers to find the right fit.
Customer needs are rapidly evolving. Field organizations should have a structured approach to gathering feedback from their customers so they know where to invest.
Technologies are also rapidly advancing. Field service companies are already investigating — and in some cases deploying – new technologies like predictive analytics, wearable devices, artificial intelligence, and other solutions. While your own company may not be ready for these technologies, you should stay informed about how they can potentially improve your operations and be prepared to deploy them before your competitors beat you to it.
Mobility is a means of satisfying customers who are increasingly connected, curious, and demanding of their field service providers. As such, those solutions should evolve at the same pace as your customer requirements. “Mobilization is not a single decision point,” Sterling said. “[You] must re-evaluate mobile content, features, design, partners, form factors, and operating systems on a constant basis.”
You can listen to the webinar here.