We have news for you, your customers have already gotten used to the frictionless, transparent, and digitally-enabled customer experiences of Amazon, Airbnb, Lyft, and many others. By default, today’s homeowners want the same experiences for home service. They want the ability to receive mobile appointment reminders, track their technician’s ETA, message by text, pay online, and rate their experiences in a timely manner. Whether we like it or not, the home service industry must adapt their Customer Experience (CX) or be left behind.
Question: Do your customers care whether the person providing their home service is your full-time employee (FTE) or an independent 3rd party contractor?
They do not care, and never will. They care exclusively about the CX of your brand.
It’s scary to think that you’re betting your entire business and brand image on whether or not your third-party contractors are providing a great CX. This calls for the need to work with your 3rd-party contractors as if they were FTEs, requiring that you have complete visibility into the crucial “last mile” of service.
By 2020, over 40% of field service work will be performed by technicians who are not employees of the organization that has direct contact with the customer.
Data-Driven Insights are Key to the CX
Let’s assume that a customer goes to a bookstore and orders a book about healthy eating. The customer will want to know a few basic facts:
- When will my book arrive?
- How will it be delivered?
- What will the final cost be?
Now imagine that the bookstore clerk answers these key questions with the following:
I actually don’t know and I have no way of collecting that information.
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what happens next — the frustrated customer will simply leave, likely never to return.
We inhabit a world of Big Data, where customers rightfully expect to have answers and transparent communication about their entire customer journey. But when it comes to home services and evolving customer expectations, well, “Houston, we have a problem.”
Entering the Black Hole of Home Service Customer Experience
For the home services industry that uses third-party contractors, the last mile of the service delivery process is a black hole. Once a schedule is set, or a job started, the key performance data that service companies need to ensure excellent CX is often lost. Home service companies like Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and Yelp send leads to their 3rd-party service providers but, due to a lack of metrics, become like that hapless bookstore clerk admitting: “I actually don’t know what happens from here and have no way of collecting that information.”
What you need is a proven solution that provides transparency into what your 3rd-party contractors are doing. You’ll need to collect real-time performance data on technicians and last mile metrics with ease, allowing your 3rd party contractors to focus their attention on creating memorable CX that will build loyalty to your brand.
Accessing Key Customer Experience Data Points
Building the capacity to collect key data is what drives memorable customer experience. When you don’t see a problem, you can’t fix it. So when it comes to managing your 3rd party contractors, what data should you be collecting?
Can you see compliance rates?
Your 3rd-party contractors need to be consistently on time, period. Nothing hurts customer satisfaction more than a late technician. So you should be monitoring whether technicians are complying with their schedules/appointment windows and are following your brand standard for timely service. The compliance rate goes to the very heart of the home services customer experience.
Can you measure, in real-time, the length of a visit?
You should know how long each 3rd-party technician spends in each home, gaining insights into their use of time. Of course, the time of visit will depend upon many factors, including the complexity of the job/service rendered and the experience/skill of the particular technician. But you can be sure that a service visit that takes much longer than the standard length for similar visits will negatively impact your customer experience and your brand.
Are you receiving status updates?
You’ll want to know what the technician is doing, in order to understand where you are in the customer’s journey. You need a way to receive each and every status update, including when the technician has received the order, is arriving at the home, communication touch points with the homeowner, right until the service is completed. Without such visibility, you are literally blind about the customer experience. Not only do home service companies need constant communication and status updates, but customers fully expect that same level of transparency.
Do you have the capacity to mitigate risks in service delivery?
Your service company can mitigate risks by getting immediate feedback from the 3rd-party technician when things aren’t going according to plan, allowing you to intervene before the CX goes off the rails and potentially becomes public. Service “failures” can often be turned into successes if the service company and technician collaborate to make things right. Receiving immediate feedback after a job is complete allows the enterprise to flag service experience that is “less than satisfactory” and immediately call to remedy the situation. Enterprises that do this see tremendous improvement in NPS.
Are you capturing customer satisfaction scores?
An obviously important data point related to whether the customer would use your brand again and recommend you to friends. For example, increasing your brand’s Net Promoter Score/NPS would be a key driver of CX success for any home service company.
Are you thinking about all this?
Field service is changing, like other business areas, because of technology. Are you able to work with your 3rd-party network like they are W2 technicians? Are you able to receive real-time status updates? Are you able to provide the same customer experience irrespective of the service provider doing the work?
At the end of the day, if you want to see a reduction in no-shows, scheduling compliance, and more real-time status updates from your third-party contractors, then schedule a time to talk to us…