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Providing customer service VS. Creating a customer experience

Image of Madhu Sekhar, IGBC-AP
Madhu Sekhar, IGBC-AP
creating customer experience in field services

‘A brand is defined by the customers experience. The experience is delivered by the employees’, opined Shep Hyken. This statement is more relevant than ever today in the field services management industry where competition is intense, profit margins are receding and customer loyalty is at an all-time low. The survival of your brand depends on providing delightful customer experiences which can only be possible by empowering your technicians and support staff to deliver service standards beyond expectations.

Having been in the field services management industry for many years now, this is something which I have seen a lot of companies seem to grapple with. They often mistake providing superior customer experiences with having a call center or a support center to answer any incoming queries which the customers might potentially have.

So is your FSM company providing customer service or creating customer experience? Do you know what customers think about the experiences your team is creating? How can you further improve the experiences to build customer loyalty and advocacy?

This article attempts to outline the various differences between providing customer service and creating customer experience. This would help you understand how can you create winning customer experiences for your company.

 

In a nutshell, here’s how industry leaders would define each:

  • Customer service focuses on communication and problem-solving so customers get the best out of your service

  • Customer experience looks at the overall impression that you leave customers in every stage of the customer journey

 

Understandably, your customers would evaluate you based on your involvement in making their experiences seamless.

What is Customer Service?

Customer booking a service online

Customer service is the assistance provided to customers before and after they make a purchase. Your customers have a large number of avenues where they can get in touch with customer support teams. They could possibly call you, Email, text messaging, live chat, chatbots, and social media enable them to make a service request to your team or register a complain.

 

Understandably, with the advent of technology customer service expectations have grown in the past few years. A recent study found that 54% of consumers have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago. Additionally, another research suggested that 52% of consumers say they have made an additional purchase from a company after a positive customer service experience.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience refers to the journey that customers will have with a brand. It encompasses all interactions, including browsing products on a website, interacting with staff, making a purchase, reading promotional blog posts, and using your product.

 

This seems very broad and complex but it all comes down to customers’ perceptions and relationships. A brand with a pleasant, cohesive, and consistent customer experience is likely to retain customers and achieve more customer loyalty over time.

In fact, research has suggested that 86% of consumers are likely to pay more to receive a better customer experience. Across various touchpoints in the customer journey, consumers build a relationship with the brand and form their own perceptions. The businesses that manage to build a seamless and positive experience eventually become industry titans.

 

Build winning customer experiences for your FSM customers

Customer tracking technician location
  • Prioritizing Self-service- The advent of Uber and Amazon has led to significant evolution in customer expectations. The customer today wants to feel that he is in control; he wants the ability to raise requests 24*7, have his questions answered, know the exact location of the technicians and so on. Empowering your customer with a self-service option might not only provide him with the convenience to raise automated requests, but would help with significant reduction in call-center man-power costs.

  • Automate to reduce non-value adding steps- Minimize the effort it takes to connect with your brand is a sure shot way of delighting your customers. Automation allows in-built logic to help fast-track customer requests and ensures that error-prone manual labor is completely eliminated. Work-orders could be raised seamlessly, automatic notifications and updates sent to customers and partners, payment reminders and prompts would ensure that SLA’s are adhered to and the team could focus their energies on value adding activities which impact business growth.

  • Monitor metrics to drive growth- A lot of field service management companies still use pen and paper or are stuck to traditional Excel spreadsheets to manage their operations. While this might just be enough to get past, companies need to use customer data to monitor metrics to identify specific pain-points which they need to work on. Metrics like FTR, TAT, NPS, percentage of billable hours etc. are all indicative of the health of your business and are critical if your brand intends to create a winning customer experience.

  • Streamline internal processes to create delightful customer journey- Map out the customer journey and understand the present Service Delivery Blueprint to optimize it. This would provide you with a glimpse of the pain-points your customers presently face and would provide you with streamlining and optimization opportunities to take the present journey closer to the ideal journey which your customer deserves.

Customer inquiring about a previous service
 

Customer experience is focused on the entire journey from the awareness to post-purchase phase. In contrast, customer service is solely limited to service interactions like asking for product information or reporting and solving issues.

Businesses that put customers first will ultimately gain a competitive advantage. Investing in an FSM solution like Steer which is based on the principles of design thinking and is customizable to your internal processes would indeed be a good step in enhancing the customer experience and building business profitability.


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