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The Path to CX Excellence for Field Service

Shawna Etemadi
Product Marketing Manager, Oracle CX

Imagine your internet stops working. You call your provider and make arrangements for a technician to come to your home and fix it. When the scheduled day comes, you can’t leave your house until they arrive. It's stressful to wait. You’re unable to predict the actual time of their supposedly ‘scheduled’ visit. The whole ordeal is miserable.

It wasn’t so long ago that broken Internet service was an issue I think my family experienced more often than the average American household! Nonetheless, waiting for our technician was agonizing because it seemed like an eternity waiting for them to arrive.  Sometimes, we often thought they forgot us and never called to notify us!
Fortunately, things have changed. Field service is undergoing a massive transformation. You can now order a field service delivery on your mobile device as conveniently as a ride-sharing app and choose a time that works for your busy schedule.

The reason for this transformation and our heightened expectations can be explained by the customer-focused climate that we live in, which Oracle calls the “Experience Economy.”

The Experience Economy is driven by the way the world works today. People expect physical goods to arrive at their doors in a matter of hours, not days – and they expect answers to arrive on their mobile screens in a matter of milliseconds.

In the Experience Economy, the customer is the innovator, not the enterprise. Technology lets customers create very personalized experiences. As people become more comfortable and facile with technology, they will create new ways of managing their daily lives and online experiences. And they will expect that kind of flexibility from every company they do business with.

Customer Service is a Brand Experience

Customer service experiences influence our perceptions of a brand. 73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties while 77% of consumers say that bad customer experiences diminish their quality of life!

Waiting around for something to be fixed is frustrating. In the Experience Economy, reliable field service organizations that deliver exceptional service experiences differentiate their brand, capture more market share, and drive revenue.

The path to CX excellence for Field Service has four stages. Winners will evolve from a traditional, reactive and dispatch-focused model to be a fully optimized, proactive field service operation that drives the business.

This is the latest in a series of blogs that describe how organizations can build a culture of customer experience excellence. Click here for the first, which describes the concepts in this idea.  The second describes this path for B2B marketing while the third is for sales excellence.

#1 Inbound Field Service is where the path to Field Service excellence begins. This is where field service organizations mostly just resolve incoming requests. Their primary directive is to minimize customer churn and typically use phone and email to engage with customers.

Field service is siloed from the rest of the business and is restricted by paper-based, manual processes. Thus, field service teams have a hard time delivering timely and cost-effective services.  Inefficient planning lowers fleet capacity and hinders an organization’s ability to complete all of its jobs each day, creating a service backlog.

Organizations haven’t yet realized the time and cost saving benefits that come from deploying scheduling automation software. Thus, they cannot achieve scale.

Dispatch teams are slowed by manual processes and disconnected applications. They struggle to keep up with the growing number of incoming requests, leading to poor service experiences and frustration for customers and employees alike. To increase customer satisfaction and grow the business, organizations improve operational efficiencies.

#2 Foundational Field Service moves toward real time management of field service engagements. Field service is less reactive and more controlled as procedures and processes are established to improve operational efficiencies. Field service organizations improve request management by deploying automation for scheduling and routing of their mobile resources, paving a more streamlined approach. They expand support channels with the specific goal of increasing customer satisfaction and decreasing response time.

As customer requests grow in volume and complexity, field service orgs start to drive costs down while enhancing the tech experience to resolve field service requests quickly and efficiently. Customer self-service and Knowledge Management become new tools in their arsenal to decrease the number of incoming service requests and improve the customer experience.

As the field service organization matures, field service KPIs become more defined. Organizations use their enhanced visibility into the field to measure the efficiency of their operations by monitoring KPIs such as; first time fix rates, travel time, completed jobs per tech per day, percentage of on-time SLAs, response times, mean time to repair, and customer satisfaction.

Most field service organizations do a good job of responding to customer requests. However, disconnects between the field and the rest of the organization remain because siloed applications prevent an integrated approach. Organizations notice the diminishing returns from homegrown and point solutions while customers feel the pain from fragmented experiences.

According to Gartner, 90% of marketers still struggle to seamlessly connect more than three channels at a time, making consistent service and coordination a major challenge. This encourages them to keep pushing forward.

#3 Advanced Field Service drives strategic change across the entire organization by leveraging all service interactions for insight and focuses more on the field service strategy. We see greater attention paid to driving efficiencies and using advanced automation for scheduling and planning to maximize and manage field capacity.

Focused on increasing customer acquisition and retention, field service organizations adopt emerging technologies to provide better customer experiences and enhance mobile field capabilities like embedded knowledge applications that support requests inside and outside the firewall.

Organizations realize the value that comes from connecting service applications and field services across different lines of business. An integrated operation brings real-time visibility across all of the necessary field service elements. There’s noticeable improved collaboration and increased accountability among teams. The field service organization extends its operational growth, positively impacting the wider business without compromising effective delivery of service promises and SLAs.

From Cost Center to Profit Center

By expanding interaction channels and improving operational efficiency, organizations reduce operating costs and connect more channels such as chat, social, sales and commerce. Field service is transformed into a revenue-focused line of business that takes advantage of all customer engagement opportunities to increase sales.

This hyper-focus on the operational transformation from a cost center to a revenue-generating line of business drives field service organizations to the next step of maturity.

#4 Autonomous Field Service uses predictive insights to fuel connected customer experiences. The customer journey extends beyond service and connects marketing, commerce and loyalty. Field service organizations have the whole customer journey in scope. All processes are coordinated to provide coherent, personalized customer experiences across all touch points. Field service teams add value to the business through product and service innovations that increase first-time fix rates and drive more revenue.  

Leaders explore new ways to expand customer self-service options and deliver pre-emptive field service.  Internet of Things, AI, machine learning and augmented reality are used to predict customers’ issues before they happen. 

Per IDC, there will be over 41 billion connected IoT devices by 2025, generating over 79ZB of data by 2025. This has the potential to have a huge influence on your field service operations and how it will define your company. 68% of consumers say it increases their perception of a brand when companies send them proactive customer service notifications.

This step is characterized with pervasive knowledge available across every customer touchpoint, empowering an autonomous mobile workforce to be self-sufficient and customer-focused. Customers are proactively supported across their preferred channel. Organizations in the Autonomous stage are redefining field service experiences to exceed customer expectations, create brand loyalty, and capture new revenue streams.

Companies that drive better customer experiences are seeing significant revenue growth relative to their competitors that don’t. Brands that provide a superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that lag in customer experience. In the Experience Economy, the path to CX excellence is the path that leads to exceptional field service.

Click to learn more about how to transform your field service operation into a Profit Center.

Click to learn from over 400 global CX leaders and read how they're using AI, chatbots, VR, and IoT to improve performance across key CX metrics.


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