The difference between success and failure can come down to customer service.
No field service business can thrive without an intentional and effective approach to customer service because today’s consumers demand it. Attention spans are short, and they want an immediate answer.
If a business doesn’t meet that expectation, customers simply move on to another business. With that said, business owners have many demands on their time.
So how do you deliver exceptional customer service? Here’s one surefire way to bump your customer service game up to exceptional.
The formula for exceptional customer service
Today’s customer expects an immediate, rapid response. They may reach out via text, live chat, email, phone, social media or other means. And someone needs to be dedicated to responding, no matter where or when a customer reaches out. Every time. Often business owners have too many demands on their time to be able to provide this level of responsiveness. So how do you create an exceptional customer service experience?
Here’s the winning formula I’ve seen in successful field service businesses:
- Someone (other than the business owner) is assigned to attend to all customer inquiries.
- Customers are given multiple ways to connect to the business.
- Responses are live (not a bot) and meaningful.
- Follow up is done to make sure customers are truly satisfied.
- I’ve seen this approach make the difference between business won and business lost.
- Dedicate Resources to Customer Service
An effective customer service plan requires assigning someone to manage client interactions. That person (or team) will have access to business operation systems so they know what work is being done and when. They should be able to answer anything a customer may want to know at any stage of the sales cycle. This person can be on staff or contracted.
Here’s one example of how an immediate response makes a difference:
Chances are, when someone is searching for a home services or field service professional, they are in a bind or moment of need. In this instance, a potential customer called due to an emergency with a tree on her property. The customer service assistant answered the call right away, got the details and understood her needs.
The customer service assistant determined that the business owner was nearby on a job and arranged to visit the caller’s location. This happened during one phone call that was answered right away. Here's why this works:
- From the owner’s perspective: business was won and a customer was gained. This is business that would have been lost had the call gone to voicemail, to be dealt with at the end of the day.
- From the client’s perspective: her call for help was answered in a moment of need.
An intentional approach to customer service made the difference.
Allow Multiple Ways to Connect
Customer satisfaction also comes from being able to contact a business when you want and how you want. Some people don’t like to make phone calls. Others don’t like email. The successful business will allow multiple ways to connect and provide equally great service on all channels.
Provide Meaningful Responses
People need to be greeted by someone who can help them, and often an automated response won’t cut it. They need to be connected to someone with specific information about:
- What services you offer
- When you can provide an estimate and/or do the job
- The status of their job
The best service is provided by people who can answer all the questions even before people ask. They fully understand the business. They know the common concerns and the details needed to ensure that customers are completely satisfied. They take the time to make sure that level of service is met.
Collect feedback to make sure customer service is working
Having an intentional approach to customer service is essential. Taking time to check-in with customers so that exceptional customer service is being met is equally important.
Every business should have a plan to ask for customer feedback, either in an informal manner or formal rating or review. Businesses can seek feedback at any point in the customer relationship cycle, and should monitor feedback and respond as needed. Acknowledge what went well, clarify any errors and be authentic in wanting to make every customer experience great. There’s something to learn any time a customer takes time to report on their experience.
Recommended resources to help build exceptional customer service:
Pink Callers: connects business owners with customer service solutions to help answer calls, schedule work and accounts receivable.
Jobber: can help business owners with scheduling, quoting and invoicing.
NiceJob: automate your review process and make collecting feedback a breeze.
About the author:
Michelle Myers is a change maker in the admin space. She is the founder and CEO of Pink Callers and My Virtual Paige, companies that provide support solutions for field service businesses.