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Providing an exceptional customer experience in the field

From cable providers to insurance companies, businesses across many industries are tasked with delivering high quality field service. Consumers want convenient, fast, and responsive service. And if companies don’t deliver that in the field, they’re at risk of losing customers. In the third part of our Forrester customer service series, Vance Clipson details the trends he’s seeing in field service, and why it’s a key part of ensuring a positive customer experience.
To stay competitive in 2017, businesses need to focus on improving customer service in the field.

The cable repair person coming out to make sure you’re back up and running for the big game. Your Christmas cards being delivered in time for you to get them out before the holidays. A claims adjuster being able to meet with you quickly and expedite the repair of your car. As customers, field interactions with a company are often the most critical and longest remembered. And those interactions can go a long way toward determining whether customers will continue to do business with that organization.

In her recent report, “2017 Customer Service Trends: Operations Become Smarter And More Strategic,” Forrester analyst Kate Leggett highlighted field service as a critical channel for engagement that “can make or break a relationship.” From my perspective, she’s absolutely right. As customers progress through their journey with a company – shopping, selecting, onboarding – a company’s engagement with that customer at a critical time may determine whether that relationship continues.

The most customer-focused companies are realizing this, and leveraging advanced self-service technologies to support their field operations. Smart businesses keep customers constantly apprised of what’s going on, empowering them to control when and where field interactions are happening – whether it’s a delivery, repair or review of damage. Additionally, companies with superior field service operations enable customers to change when, where and how the event will happen, on the fly. When it comes to field service, companies must fit into the customer’s life, not the other way around. Otherwise, customers will take their business elsewhere.

Businesses across industries are implementing new technologies and practices to make better field service a reality. For example, parcel delivery services allow customers to change the destination of a package, mid-route, from the convenience of their mobile phone. More progressive cable companies are no longer giving customers the infamous “four-hour window,” but are texting them to confirm smaller windows, notifying them of expected arrival times, and enabling those customers to reschedule the appointment through a variety of channels. I’ve been impressed with my cable company’s ability to provide consistent information and the opportunity to make changes that are reflected across virtual assistants, live chat and my mobile phone. Additionally, insurers are arming both their claims adjusters in the field and their customers with the ability to notify each other via text that their appointment may need to be moved. In all of these scenarios, companies are making interactions easier, faster, and more seamless for customers.

Ms. Leggett “expect(s) to see continued focus on using field service technologies outside of traditional industries. These technologies will increasingly leverage analytics to manage scheduling and dispatching,” and we at Nuance completely agree. If cable companies and insurers are starting to “wow” us in the field with their ability to engage with customers at critical times, you should be too.

Catch up on earlier posts from our Forrester trend series, and stay tuned for part four!

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Vance Clipson

About Vance Clipson

Vance Clipson, senior principal, industry solutions for Nuance Communications, focuses on vertical-specific strategy and marketing with an emphasis on healthcare, financial services and government. Clipson brings 25 years of experience translating industry needs and data into market strategy and programs for Milliman, PacifiCare Health Systems and other organizations.