SAJITH SAHADEVAN - Senior Product Marketing Manager, Dynamics 365 for Field Service
Service organizations are continually challenged to meet rising customer expectations. It often seems like creating a positive customer experience and growing customer engagement are moving targets. And confusion arises as these terms are often used interchangeably. Understanding the difference is the first step in enhancing the customer experience and customer engagement.
First, let’s define the terms. Customer experience (or CX) is how customers perceive their interactions with your company. It’s the customer’s emotional, physical, and psychological connection with your brand, stemming from a product, system, service, and/or channel interactions. CX is about a moment in time and the memory of that moment.
Customer engagement is the ongoing value-driven relationship between your customer and the business. It’s the sum of all touch points and the flow of all experiences between your company and the customer. This includes direct, indirect, offline, and online interactions, as well as the actions that the customer might take—posting, tweeting, liking, recommending, buying, and so forth. If you provide a positive CX, your customer should become more engaged. However, all it takes is one negative experience to damage the entire customer experience and their association with your brand. This can ultimately lead to a disengaged customer.
Now that we understand the difference between the customer experience and customer engagement, how can field service affect either?
Field service first-time fix rates can be an important factor in the customer experience. Customers expect fast and complete service. However, if a technician is dispatched with the wrong skills, tools, or part, the CX can be negatively affected. When this occurs, the customer is left to deal with a non-performing asset, decreasing the ability to generate revenue and increasing the amount of time the customer is inconvenienced. This poor customer experience not only costs your organization more, it’s also seen in lower renewal rates and increased customer attrition. Research indicates that first-time fix rates that are lower than 50 percent can be catastrophic to a business, leading to a near 50 percent Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).
Studies have found that best in class field service organizations resolve issues on the first visit 88 percent of the time while average companies achieve an 80 percent rate and the laggards struggle at 63 percent. To help increase your first-time fix rate, consider offering:
- Real-time visibility into the service assignments and smooth work order management.
- Mobile diagnostics and access to the service call, task details, and real-time updates to better arm technicians.
- Customer preferred time slots and real-time visibility into service interactions, and technician status and arrival.
- The ability for field technicians to deploy mixed-reality to overlay instructions and accelerate the time it takes to make a repair.
- Predictive maintenance for connected devices to resolve issues before customers are even aware there is an issue.
These are just a few of the ways field service can provide a positive customer experience and fuel customer engagement.
And yes, enhancing customer engagement pays off. Research indicates that fully engaged customers represent a 23 percent premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth over the average customer. Companies who successfully engage with their B2B customers realize 63 percent lower customer attrition, 55 percent higher share of wallet, and 50 percent higher productivity. Conversely, actively disengaged customers presented a 13 percent decrease in those same measures.
Research proves the link between customer engagement and business value. Through an optimized field service organization, you can more easily create an ongoing conversation with each customer, driving advocacy, loyalty, satisfaction, revenue lifetime value, referrals, lower attrition, and a higher share of wallet—all delivering value to your business.