Field service relies heavily on so many factors, but is enough emphasis placed on building a strong foundation using Field Service Management ERP software?
Over the last few days my family has found itself surrounded with repair issues; from our refrigerator to our family vehicle it appears that in this given week anything that can breakdown will. While scheduling repairs with various companies, I found myself thinking about the importance of customer satisfaction. For example, would I buy another product from this manufacturer? Did I feel satisfied with the attention provided to my issue? Will my item be promptly repaired?
Customer satisfaction is far more than polite service representatives reassuring a customer that all will be well. It is providing the necessary tools for service workers to have access to client purchase and product information, whenever and wherever they need it so that they can provide intelligent responses and actions to client service issues. In two of the three service calls I placed so far this week, I was surprised to find the limited information my first points of contact had in dealing with simple call logging and service initiation.
Although this should be no big secret, comprehensive Field Service Management (ERP) software is the key to empowering service workers by delivering critical information while also providing a mechanism to track performance against SLAs. When reviewing the many articles citing keys to successful customer service, ERP is infrequently ranked as the most important key to successful customer service, but here is why it should be.
A comprehensive ERP system for field service management delivers real-time queues to build consumer confidence and satisfaction:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for prompt reference to client detail and sales history.
- Service Call Management modules can provide:
- Efficient and organized service call logging, lookup and historical tracking.
- Call escalation and monitoring to ensure a client issue is efficiently and effectively handled.
- Service history by item serial number or product class plus knowledge base article logging for training and troubleshooting efficiencies.
- Optimized technician assignment (by skill level and/or location) and service scheduler to effectively assign and triage calls for quicker handling.
- Self-Service client portals for added convenience in 24/7 call review and updates.
- SLA contract management.
- Product Management provides product model lookup by lot or serial number and detailed BOM for full part listings.
- Inventory for real-time availability of replacement service parts and integrated Procurement for ordering out-of-stock items.
- Mobile Service for technician real-time connectivity to ticket, troubleshooting and spare part inventory inquiries from any location.
- Maintenance to apply proactive and preventative maintenance scheduling to impress clients with high reliability rates.
- Business Intelligence reporting and dashboards to measure key customer satisfaction performance indicators (KPIs) like first time fix rate, SLA compliance rates, average response times and more.
These benefits focus on improving customer satisfaction, yet there are many additional areas where service management software delivers – such as cost reduction, productivity, service-to-cash turnaround, utilization, and resource visibility to name just a few.
My personal experience suggests that customers can forgive the fact that a product may fail. What they will not tolerate in a society where ‘customer is king’ is failure of a company to react with the utmost attention to servicing their issues. Social media has proven this with enlightened customers using their voice to resonate their service experiences across mainstream media outlets.
When fighting for repeat and referral business, field service organizations recognize that customer satisfaction is the most important influencer – field service management software plays a tremendous role in providing the foundation for great service to thrive. As for my fridge, car and other numerous breakdowns, once I get to the repair phase of my service experience perhaps it will be the makings of my next field service blog.
As well as assisting with ERP implementation and business process mapping, Ann has been providing ERP software insight to field service, mining, distribution and manufacturing industries for over ten years.