Business operates at an extremely fast pace, and the speed is not expected to slow down anytime soon. News is almost instantaneous, information is delivered on the spot, and mobile computing and smart phones encourage sub-second replies.
Customer expectations have escalated along with the demand for fast response. Customers expect almost instant gratification in virtually every aspect of their lives. There are drive through windows, hundreds of television channels for instant entertainment, round the clock shopping centers, and super-fast banking and payments.
In the world of field service, customer service expectations have also grown. Consumers are smarter and compare pricing and services. Therefore your business must be able to compete by providing superior levels of service along with competitive pricing.
Superior customer service is easier said than done in many respects. Meeting aggressive customer demands can be one of the biggest challenges that a business owner can face. The good news is that almost all customers have some basic expectations that if met or exceeded will win their business on a consistent basis. There will always be exceptions to the rule, but generally most customers will be happy.
One of those key expectations should be handled within the first five minutes of their phone call. Your customer service representatives should have the skills, training, tools and systems available to make sure not one second of these first five minutes is wasted.
Here are some tips for better customer service in the first five minutes:
Allow online as well as phone-based requests – as customers become more tech-savvy, business should allow customers to send email requests, fill out forms on your website, or make a phone call for their requests.
How many rings? The phone should ring no more than three times before answering. If possible, check phone system reports to determine the average rings that currently occur. If you cannot produce phone statistic reports, try randomly calling throughout the day and note how long it takes for your call to be answered. Then work to reduce the rings where possible.
Human or machine? There is a lot of debate on whether an automated voice system is a good thing or a bad thing for customer service. From a business perspective and for saving time, automated systems do prove to be more efficient. Try to offer a quick way for customers to get to a real customer service representative (CSR) whenever possible.
Information is king – the more information that your CSRs have, the better your customer service will be. The CSR should be able to recognize a repeat customer using their name or phone number. Then the CSR should have the ability to record as much information about the request as possible including the type of request, priority, and any specific instructions.
Provide accurate information – the scheduling and price quotes should be as accurate as possible at the time of the request.
Through field service automation, your customers can realize even greater levels of service, which will give you loyal life-long clients.