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How Well Are You Managing 3rd-party Contractors? The Answer Means Everything to Your Home Service Business

by Todd Stewart

Dispatch Insights

The customer experience (CX) is what happens inside the brain of your customers as they interact with your brand, products, services, processes, and people. You can influence the CX, especially in the ways you engage and enable the people who work on your behalf, but customers have the ultimate say. As B2C digital platforms like Amazon and Uber continue to proliferate, customers have heightened expectations for a seamless, tech-enabled CX that allows for personalization, data transparency, and convenience. Like it or not, these growing customer expectations directly impact your home service organization.

 

Field Services Add to CX Complexity

Your field service technicians are central to creating your brand and CX. These 3rd-party contractors are, in the eyes of each customer, embodied ambassadors of your brand and its promise. As a rule, customers don’t care about a 3rd-party contractor’s business card or the logo on their shirt or truck. They care about whether their problem gets resolved, and how they feel about the process (i.e., the customer experience). Memorable customer experiences, whether good or bad, are what define your business and your brand every single day.

When a 3rd-party contractor goes above and beyond expectations to satisfy a customer, you have the very definition of a great customer experience. Accordingly, the way you manage field service technicians will have a large impact on how those contractors deliver (or don’t deliver) great customer experiences. Having a great digital platform to dispatch and manage your field service technicians enables a better CX. Think of the customer lead as a pebble that gets tossed into a calm pond, triggering the entire “ripple effect” of the CX. A digital platform can enable you to see and impact every single ripple in the workflow.

 

“Hope as a Strategy” Doesn’t Work

As the adage goes, “hope isn’t a strategy.” When you gather lead information from customers, send those leads to a field service technician, wait for them to update the job status, and passively hope for the best, you are not driving high-quality customer experiences. You’re in the passenger seat, blindly hoping for a smooth ride. As Amazon and Uber have made clear, customers (and everyone else) expect transparency of information and continuous communication. The combination of those are what drive positive CX experiences.

What are the problems with the “wait-and-see” process described above? First, your organization has no visibility into how well (or badly) that field technician is managing your brand. He might be acting as the best brand ambassador possible, putting all his efforts into making your brand look great, but then again, he might not be. Face it, you don’t really know. If he or she is not creating a great customer experience around your brand, who pays the price in terms of customer churn and additional costs related to inefficient service? Well, you do…

You can’t abdicate everything that’s important in driving CX and hope things turn out well. As risk and brand management goes, “hope as a strategy” may be the worst practice possible.

 

Digital Platforms Drive an Improved, Transparent CX

We live in “the information age,” so not having sufficient information about what’s driving the customer experience puts you increasingly out-of-touch with your customers. Again, expectations for CX are continually raised by companies like Uber (I can get a ride here in 3 minutes) and Amazon (my order will be here tomorrow…and even inside my house).

Those great CX platforms are already evaluative benchmarks sitting inside the brains of your customers. If one company can deliver seamless convenience and communication through a great digital platform, then why can’t you?

The CX expectations for home service have traditionally been quite low, even the butt of countless jokes, comedy films, and TV sitcoms (Kramer on “Seinfeld” waiting endlessly for the cable guy). Nevertheless, you can’t rely on a “low-bar” to continue delivering subpar service. Disruption happens to all industries, especially when customer pain points are longstanding and obvious.

Solutions are readily available. Having an omni-channel experience like Dispatch makes status updates and visibility simple. The user-friendly and configurable/customizable mobile app is easy for any technician to use, and that simplicity drives adoption and a better CX. With Dispatch, the field service technician can easily manage their jobs and communicate with the customer on a continual basis, focusing on the core value proposition of delivering a great CX and brand value proposition.  The advanced features of the Dispatch operating system makes it feel as if enterprises can manage their 3rd-party network like W2 employees.

When a 3rd-party contractor uses Dispatch they deliver the following CX:

 

 – 74% scheduling compliance;

 – 35% increase in NPS score;

 – 86% reduction in no-shows;

 – 37% decrease in outbound call volume.

 

What do these eye-popping metrics mean beyond the spreadsheet? They mean that you’re better at managing your 3rd-party contractors, brand image, and customer experiences. Lawrence Flitton, VP of Operations, Landmark Home Warranty, put it this way: “The visibility and insights into the status of every job from start to finish has optimized the process and customer experience for us. Dispatch is enabling [us] to manage contractors more effectively via analytics and data.”

As the bar for CX continues to get raised, the way you manage your 3rd-party contractors will be the way you manage your brand and your CX. Interested in a platform to manage your 3rd-party network as if they’re W2 employees?

Schedule a Dispatch demo to learn more.

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