All home service franchises want to ensure superior customer experiences (CX).
It’s the ultimate goal.
It’s what they strive for.
However, achieving superior customer experience comes down to the “last mile” – the time period between when the technician leaves for the appointment and the moment the job is complete. How you finish and whether or not you fulfill customer expectations will be how you are remembered and what your NPS is based on.
How and Why Franchises Derail Last-Mile Customer Experiences
Superior customer experiences depend on a variety of factors. When franchisors, franchisees, and service technicians are independent of each other, there are multiple points in the process that break down:
- • Franchisees can be completely disconnected from the technician in the field. If they don’t have the right tools to schedule, dispatch, and monitor the technicians then they’re essentially operating in the dark with no insight into how to improve performance.
- • Field Technicians — without a mobile application that automatically informs the franchisee and franchisor about the status of every job then it’s tedious to keep everyone abreast of what is going on. This causes miscommunication, missed appointments, and even double booked appointments.
- • Franchisors can be disconnected from the customer and the process, learning about customer issues long after the fact rendering them unable to proactively manage customer care and CX.
- • Homeowners can be disconnected from the entire process once a request is made, waiting uncertainly to see if anyone shows up. They become annoyed by appointment “windows” and direct that annoyance toward the brand.
Anyone of these situations can affect the last-mile customer experience. And any one of these has the power to hurt a brands NPS.
The Difference Between Customer Expectations and Realities
A homeowner waiting for a service technician to show up faces several different scenarios. In the best case, the technician shows up on time, is fully informed of the problem, has the correct tool, equipment, parts, and knowledge required to complete the task quickly and with minimal disruption to the homeowner’s day.
All subsequent scenarios include degradation of the last-mile experience:
- • The technician does not have the information the customer provided about their problem (According to a 2015 survey by Consumer Reports, more than 65% of customers say a top issue with service is having to repeat information over and over because it’s not being passed from rep to rep.)
- • The technician doesn’t have the right tools, equipment, parts or knowledge to resolve the problem.
- • The technician disrupts the homeowner’s day and/or leaves a mess behind when they leave.
While all of these issues may seem like technician issues, in reality, many pitfalls stem from a disconnect between the franchisor, franchisee, and homeowner.
Digitizing the Home Service Experience can Improve Last-Mile Outcomes
Digitally connecting every party through a clear and simple system provides each homeowner, technician, franchisee, and franchisor with the ability to visualize what is going on while facilitating superior last-mile experiences.
Check out these six customer experience moments that can turn your service into a wealth of positive feedback and word of mouth referrals. By delivering superior last-mile performances, franchises can avoid “where’s my tech?” call, build good-will, identify top-performing technicians in the field, and improve their bottom line.
Automatic Appointment Confirmation and Reminders
Automatic appointment confirmation and appointment reminders can help keep the homeowner n the loop and ensure they are ready to receive service at the assigned time. These can be delivered to a mobile device via text, direct message, or email.
Real-time technician “on-my-way” alerts
On the day of service, the homeowner should receive a notification letting them know the technician has begun the journey to their house. An “on-the-way” text message can be accompanied by a preliminary ETA window as well as the technician’s name and contact information.
Two-way communication between the homeowner and technician can ensure the homeowner has the ability to share information and digital photos detailing their problem. The technician can ask questions, and share more specific information about their ETA.
In-the-field payment options
According to the 2016 U.S. Consumer Payment Study from TSYS, 75% of consumers prefer to pay with a credit or debit card, making taking payments in the field a simple solution to chasing payments after the fact. Allowing the homeowner to make a digital payment in the field increases immediate settling of invoices and decreases the number of accounts that run late or go to collections.
Immediate feedback opportunities
Gathering feedback in the moment provides direct, actionable data and prevents issues from being overlooked. According to the 2019 Customer First: Personalizing the Customer Care Journey Report from McKinsey, organizations must gather direct, up to date customer feedback in order to understand and meet customer wants, needs, and expectations. Providing opportunities for homeowners to leave digital feedback after every interaction can help head off issues and lead to successful service experiences.
Completely mobile experiences
Providing a consistent mobile experience for homeowners can significantly improve their satisfaction with their home service experience. If everything from the first contact to the final feedback can be completed via mobile, there is uninterrupted communication throughout the process. All parties are enabled to share and receive information for seamless customer experience.
By reimagining field service from the ground up and investing in a system that provides continual contact and transparency between franchisor, franchisee, and customer, your home service franchise can improve customer experiences and avoid churn.