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What is flawless field service? And how do we achieve it? We work with a wide variety of field service companies and, whilst each is unique, they are all striving to deliver the best possible service, and they are all facing a similar set of challenges. We believe that for any field service organisation, the cornerstones of flawless field service are:
In the first of our series of three special reports, we demonstrated how you can use better data and advanced analytics to improve productivity. In this second report, we focus on the role of data and analytics in delighting (and retaining) your customers and turning them into advocates for your company.
For some years now, the prevailing wisdom has been that in order to stand out from their competitors, businesses of all types must focus on their customers’ experiences. Gartner says that in 2017 “89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator”.
This wisdom has taken hold in the field service industry too: our industry has traditionally been more focused on keeping costs down, but research now shows that field service companies are putting the customer first. Field service managers say that ‘customer satisfaction’ is their most important KPI, ahead of technician productivity and utilisation, and first-time-fix rate. But customer experience is more than just customer satisfaction. Managing customer experience means paying attention to every interaction the customer has with your company, whether that is through using your products and services or via your website, call centre, billing or social media. In this context, it becomes clear that a visit from a field service engineer is loaded with opportunities to delight – or disappoint – your customer.
You are never going to be delighted with a company that fails to deliver: the product doesn’t work; the parcel doesn’t arrive; the engineer is late and can’t fix your problem. The basics have to be right. And if they aren’t right, the company has to go out of its way to resolve your issue or deal with your complaint. So far so good, but what takes customer experience from good to great is those occasional ‘moments of magic’: the unexpected extras, or the human touches that you remember, and tell people about.
For example, when an airline gets everyone seated, their hold luggage stowed, and the plane takes off on time, then that is a Brilliant Basic: customers get the experience they expect. When the flight is delayed on the tarmac, but the airline gives everyone free food and drinks and lets them switch their phones back on to call ahead, then that is a Remarkable Resolution: the airline deals well with a failure of the basic service. But when the flight attendant overhears a passenger worrying about getting her connection and making her sister’s wedding, and contacts the destination airport to get the connecting flight held back, that is a Moment of Magic.
The starting point is being able to measure how customers have experienced your field service, so you can analyse what is working and what isn’t, and make improvements. Fortunately, there is one simple question that you can ask your customer, which translates into a score, the ‘Net Promoter Score’ (NPS), which is a widely used technique for assessing customer advocacy that you can monitor and aim to increase. The idea of NPS is that the more people who are actively promoting your business by recommending it to friends and associates, the more your business will grow, without additional marketing spend or effort. The converse is also true: the more people are disappointed with your service, the more likely they are to tell other people – and then you risk losing business.
The question is as follows:
After surveying your customer base, subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of Promoters gives you the NPS. The result can be anywhere between 100 (100% Promoters, 0% Detractors) and -100 (100% detractors, 0% promoters).
The next question is what is a good NPS score? This varies a lot. Generally, anything over zero is considered good, over 50 is excellent and over 70 is considered to be a world class score. However you need to benchmark against others in your industry to get a clearer picture. And it doesn’t end there. Once you have a score, the real work starts. How can you turn Passive customers into Promoters? How can you leverage Promoters’ willingness to recommend you? How can you prevent Detractors from leaving, and from telling others about their poor experience? And what about the customers who won’t even engage with the question and give you a score?
You can take charge of the basics, resolve issues proactively, and uncover opportunities to give spectacular service, creating moments of magic for your customers.
Cognito iQ Mobile is a cloud-based mobile workflow solution, that connects workers in the field, such as engineers and technicians, or drivers and couriers, with the back office, in real time. Cognito iQ Mobile guides field workers through each shift, helping ensure that the basics – SLA compliance, first-time-fix, on-time-in-full delivery - are right first time. The mobile application gives workers access to information and updates and gives back office managers unrivalled visibility of the mobile workforce, enabling them to anticipate issues before they arise, and proactively fix any problems that do occur.
Cognito iQ Mobile is our starting point for delighting customers, but we are seeing the most exciting results from adopters of our flagship product, Cognito iQ OPA. Cognito iQ OPA takes real-time mobile workforce data from Cognito iQ Mobile or other mobile workforce solutions, and presents it in a series of clear, easy to understand dashboards and reports. This enables you to drill down into granular detail for a thorough understanding of operational and employee performance. Using Cognito iQ OPA, you have the data and analytics to define your customer experience goals and continually improve both your operational and your employee performance towards those goals.
The Cognito iQ OPA SLA Perspective dashboard shows you the SLA state of open tasks and the outcome of closed tasks. This enables you to manage SLA compliance in real time as you can display the detail of any tasks that are at risk of breaching SLA and deal with each individually. It also enables you to analyse the outcome after each shift has ended so you can improve your processes for next time. For example, if too many task breach SLA, you can adjust your scheduling accordingly.
The Task Perspective shows what is happening with all tasks that are currently open, as well as the outcome of closed tasks, such as ‘first time fix’ or ‘abort’. You can clearly see any tasks that have undesirable outcomes such as ‘further visit required’, click on the infographic to get more information, and resolve issues in real time. You can also employ this data strategically to understand what leads to undesirable outcomes. For example, if a particular part is often needed, but not carried, you can change the standard vehicle inventory to ensure that engineers always have one available.
Imagine if you could see how customers were reacting to your field service visits – in real time. This dashboard enables you to monitor customer experience using the NPS and respond to any Detractors that show up in the data, to compare outcomes across various time periods, company-wide or by team or region, to diagnose issues and to track improvements.
Our customers are using this dashboard to deliver Moments of Magic by having their back office teams contact customers based on their NPS scores and adding the human touch that is needed to lift customer service from good to great. To make this work, you need staff who are empowered to act and motivated to give the best service, something we discuss in our next Digital Guide on Employee Engagement, due out later this year.
Once you have collected NPS feedback from your customers, you then need to work with the data to understand why they gave those scores and, critically, how to improve customers’ experiences with your company. Cognito iQ OPA‘s NPS dashboard enables you to analyse the NPS data by type of job, type of customer, region or team, or even by individual engineer. However, it is the voice of the customer that is really important in making sense of the data and really understanding what customers want. One of our customers told us about their NPS follow-up plan. As the back office team can see NPS scores in real time as they are entered by the customers, they can react to them quickly. They call a sample of those who have given a score of 10/10 to thank them. This is a Moment of Magic for the customer which makes them feel that their business is appreciated. What is even more powerful is that everyone who gives a score of 6/10 or less is called within an hour of leaving the feedback, and asked what the company could have done better. This is also a Moment of Magic for the customer, who feels that the company really cares about them. In both cases, the added advantage is that the call can pick up other issues that are not necessarily related to the engineer’s performance, which can then be resolved by service management. The results for this company are clear: they report NPS scores that are consistently above 80, which puts them in the category of ‘world class service provider’.
Engineers can only carry a certain amount of parts on their vehicle so, inevitably, there will be jobs that they can’t fix first time. One of our customers told us that, before Cognito iQ Mobile, they would have to disappoint the customer, who would then have to wait for a new service appointment. Now, engineers can see what parts are in stock from their handheld device, so they are able to can tell the customer exactly how long it will take to get the part and when they will be able to come back and install it. Customers are pretty impressed with this. In some cases, engineers have been able to swap parts with colleagues in the vicinity and continue the service there and then. Because they can scan parts onto and off their vehicles, using their handheld devices and barcode readers, this doesn’t cause any inventory problems. For the customer, this is a Moment of Magic – the engineer has been proactive and gone out of their way to turn a fail-to-fix into a first-time-fix.
These days, people don’t want to wait in all day for an engineer to call. They don’t even want to wait in all morning. Customers want smaller appointment windows. But you never know exactly what a job will entail until the engineer is on site. There may be old equipment that needs uninstalling, problems with the infrastructure at the site, safety issues, or access issues, any of which can turn a one hour job into a three hour job and destroy the schedule for the rest of the shift. That’s why you need visibility of what is happening in the field, so you can react to changes and reschedule if necessary. One of our customers told us about how they go one better than this.
The company uses the ‘Find A Job’ function within the Cognito iQ Mobile Application. This enables engineers to fill any gaps they have in their schedule by finding queuing jobs and bringing them forward if customer is happy to receive the engineer. Instead of waiting in and hoping that someone actually arrives, getting a call to say that an engineer can visit much earlier than expected is a Moment of Magic for a customer, and has also led to a significant increase in engineer productivity.
Quite simply we develop the most advanced mobile workforce solutions and operational performance analytics in the world.
That’s the reason why the biggest names in Field Service, Facilities Management, Courier and Retail Logistics and Utilities rely on the Cognito iQ platform to run their mobile workforce operations.
Let's see if we can make it happen. Get in touch.