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How to empower field service customers with a self-service portal

A field service portal is a win-win for everyone, empowering modern customers with the self-service options they demand, and streamlining the day of service for your staff and technicians.

Women using phone to access self-service portal

A field service portal is a win-win for everyone, empowering modern customers with the self-service options they demand, and streamlining the day of service for your staff and technicians.

Providing customer engagement isn’t enough these days; you also have to empower your customers. And self-service is a dynamic tool for creating that empowerment — in fact, it’s one of the top 10 field service management best practices.

One of the best ways to empower customers to find solutions themselves and drive customer satisfaction is through a self-service portal. 

But first: What is a self-service platform?

A self-service platform is a field service portal that customers can access from a mobile device or computer to manage their service appointment. Features usually include the ability to schedule and reschedule appointments, communicate with technicians, receive ETAs and updates, track an operative’s location on a map, and offer feedback after the day of service. 

When these features are easily accessed in one place, it optimises the customer experience and demonstrates that you understand the consumer's desire to control the service experience. Likewise, self-service streamlines your operations, reducing call volume, hold times, and no-access appointments — not to mention, allowing your technicians to focus on the tasks at hand.

Here, we’ll dig into the benefits of self-service and how you can harness it to empower your customers.


Common self-service tools and how they empower your customers

Usually, self-service involves some combination of self-service portals, automated notifications, live tracking, FAQs, chatbots, and call centre automation. 

Employing one or a variety of these services helps customers take care of issues and questions themselves, without needing direct involvement from your staff. This is key to customer empowerment because it makes all the information they need highly accessible — giving them the control over their experience that they demand.

A self-service portal empowers customers with: 

  • Details: Customers can see the particulars of their appointment, the job, and the technician, which gives them fewer reasons to contact customer support.
  • Flexibility: Customers can reschedule or cancel a service appointment, which lowers the chances of a no-access appointment.
  • Communication: Two-way chat functionality puts your customer directly in touch with their operative, reducing call centre volume and hold times for other customers.
  • Feedback: Customers can offer feedback via your portal instead of through third-party sites, and you can show them you’re listening by reaching out to resolve issues. 


Why does self-service matter to customers?

Now that you know how to empower customers with self-service, let’s discuss the why.

Self-service matters to customers because, more than ever, they want transparency in their service delivery experiences. Customers want to work with companies that tangibly show respect for their time, energy, and schedule. Increased transparency and touch-points throughout the service journey lower their anxiety and frustration, increases their knowledge, and empower them with autonomy. 

Customers don’t want to call your service centre with an issue — and if they have to call because they can’t find information on their own, they definitely don’t want to wait on hold for an operator to be available.

When you can clear up the lines by offering self-service, your back-office staff can focus on issues that need to be addressed more quickly, and other customers won’t be on hold as long, either.


What are the benefits of using tools like a self-service portal?

If you want to improve customer engagement, but you’re not sure where to start, a self-service portal is a great way to start implementing self-service options.

Some of the benefits of a field service portal include:

  • Increased transparency, which leads to better connections with customers. You can provide tracking information such as operative location, place in queue, or ETA — or some combination of all three — as well as offer two-way chat, so customers can offer technicians valuable information such as access codes. These details help lower the risk of no-access appointments, as well as reduce call volume and hold times.

  • It acts as a one-stop shop for customers before, during, and after appointments. They can confirm, change, and cancel appointments, as well as choose their preferred method of communication (e.g., SMS, email, or push notification).

  • Easily collecting feedback. When you prompt customers for feedback at the close of an appointment, not only can you resolve any issues immediately, but you can also gather valuable insight into how to better your services.

  • It keeps your business competitive. You can keep up in an age where consumers demand the kind of transparent experience they have with companies like Amazon, Uber, and Deliveroo that offer real-time tracking and communication with drivers.

  • It’s customisable to your needs. Localz offers a white-labelled customer portal with a configurable view of appointment details and real-time status: With Track My Appointment, you can customise your portal with different modules, such as Appointment Preferences, Real-time Tracking, Two-way Chat, Customer Feedback, Job Details, and more.


Provide a self-service portal without ditching your tech stack

The self-service features of a field service portal lead to a more seamless experience for customers, technicians, and operations alike. Empowering customers to take control over their service experience is a win-win: You increase customer satisfaction while streamlining operations for technicians and the back office — saving you time and money, and giving your customers their day back.

You can build an app from scratch to gain all the benefits of a self-service portal, but, that can be time-consuming and expensive. Localz can help you get the self-service tools you want within your existing technology because our tools easily bolt on. With Localz, you can integrate a portal with your current SDK or offer customers a web-based link. 

Our platform is customisable to your unique needs, with all the tools you want and none you don’t.

Talk to Localz about last-mile delivery and service delivery tracking