4 communication trends to improve customer experience
We look at some top communication trends so you can start exceeding expectations, providing even better customer service, and increasing lifetime customer value.
The past two years have led to a shift in customer service experiences and expectations across the board. Where contactless services were previously used only by a select few consumers, they now have achieved widespread adoption, from curbside pickup to online shopping for groceries, and beyond. For many more traditional companies like utilities, this shift in consumer expectations has led to an increase in frustrated customers, higher call volume to care centres, and more frazzled technicians. But why?
Chances are your customers have grown accustomed to digitized communication capabilities, including real-time GPS tracking of service providers, SMS-enabled customer communication, and much more.
Luckily, the field service customer experience many have come to expect can be created without breaking the bank or completely replacing your tech stack. It all comes down to facilitating communication easily and consistently to make the day of service awesome. Let’s look at some top communication trends so you can start exceeding expectations, providing even better customer service, and increasing lifetime customer value.
Trend 1: Increased transparency and real-time updates
Large appointment windows and a lack of real-time communication have never been particularly great for customers or technicians.
When customers can’t plan out their day, they’re stuck waiting around for a field service technician. Research indicates that waiting without updates can actually drive up anxiety levels, increasing the likelihood that your customer will have a poor experience before it even begins.
For technicians and operations, the less communication, the more likely it is that failed and no-access appointments rates will rise, alongside added call-centre activity.
Overall, the industry average for no-access failed appointments is 15% – a frustrating experience for customers and technicians alike. Luckily, changes can be made to make the day of service better for everyone.
Communication before, during, and after appointments is a positive driving force for customers. When customers receive regular contact with information about their appointments, including updates as to when a tech will be coming and instructions or requirements, they’re more likely to be prepared in advance. This cuts down on the time needed for service calls and reduces the likelihood of miscommunication.
Consistent communication is key, however, expecting your field service techs to manually text every customer on the day of their service isn’t realistic. Fortunately, reminder and in-progress notifications can be automated via SMS, email, push notification, or landline and can be triggered when a technician is en route.
Many field service management software plugins can use maps with real-time tracking to let customers see exactly where their tech is and get prepared for when they arrive. The increased transparency and real-time updates reduce stress, increase first-time access rates, and lead to better experiences overall.
Trend 2: Two-way communication
For a lot of customers, getting in touch with a technician through a call centre is a hassle.
When customers want to get in touch, they want to do it ASAP. This may be to inform a technician of a schedule change or that they’ll be slow to answer the door. They know that getting sent to a call centre or questionable email address usually means questions or concerns won’t get addressed promptly (if it at all).
Customers expect to be able to adjust the scheduling as needed and to access their tech day-of just in case. They also want to do it on their platform of preference: phone, text, or a web-based portal.
Teams looking to get ahead enable two-way communication, so customers can inform techs of changes or crucial info as needed via a web-based portal. This simple plug-in, available for companies with an existing customer management system, can be added by a provider like Localz quickly and easily.
Direct two-way communication reduces the amount of costly traffic to call centres and customers can still pass along info like gate codes, access info, or directions. You can also add the contact centre to chats to ensure messages aren’t missed by operatives by incorporating multiparty chat options.
Trend 3: Self service
Consumers increasingly associate call centres with frustration, wait times, and navigating confusing menus.
As an alternative, customers want self-service options that enable them to make changes to appointments on their own, without relying on a customer care team member. That may include everything from updating information about an appointment, making adjustments to time slots or rescheduling as needed, or seeking information about status updates.
This option helps to improve turnaround rates, lower call volumes, increase customer satisfaction, and prevent no-access calls for technicians – wins for field service companies and customers alike.
When you enable self-service options like a field service portal, you offer autonomy to your customers that can improve KPIs like Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and custom effort score (CES). Many utilities see first-time fix rates improve, and reduce their call volume and operational costs.
A simple plug-in solution like Localz can help you manage appointments with a customisable portal, including capacity for:
- Appointment preferences
- Technician profiles
- Job details
- Universal information cards
- Job stock information
Trend 4: Post-appointment engagement
Service doesn’t end when the appointment does. Customers expect post-appointment touchpoints, too — 41% of customers want to rate the services they received.
Providing feedback immediately is ideal, but customers don’t want the pressure of giving it directly to the operative — that makes it hard to be fully honest about their experience.
When you allow customers to provide feedback right after the technician leaves, you get more accurate responses and can remedy mistakes, issue refunds, or express apologies. This simple fix can impact long-term loyalty and lifetime customer value.
Geo-triggered feedback requests can be sent automatically as soon as a technician leaves, which allows customers to leave more accurate feedback when it’s still top of mind. If negative feedback is received, your care centre will be alerted so they can take prompt action to remedy any error.
For people who don’t care to offer feedback – and that is a lot of us – enabling an opportunity to opt-out of receiving follow-up calls can save you time and money For example, Tikbox for Welsh Water allowed people to indicate if they wanted a follow-up call or not and a full 83% opted out.
When it comes to communication, expectations are changing – but we can help you meet and exceed them. Localz can set you up for success and make the day of service smooth and extraordinary.
Localz can help build a customisable solution perfect for your customer needs, including:
- On my way real-time tracking
- Chat my way two-way communication
- Rate my experience feedback forms
We’re all about sending the right message at the right time, and you should be too. Now that you know the steps to take, do you know what exactly you need to say?
For some examples of when to get in touch with clients and what to say in your communications with them, explore our new checklist.