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Three trends service contractors should be aware of

6/24/2016 at 12:18 pm by

The market research firm Forrester annually releases its customer services trends report, providing insight into what consumers expect from the companies they do business with.

This year’s report particularly caught my eye because of three trends that I believe are particularly relevant for electrical, HVAC, and other contractors that install, repair, and provide ongoing maintenance services. Take a look:

Services that value a customer’s time.

Providing customers with a four-hour window for when a technician will show up just won’t cut it any longer. According to Forrester, consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. In short: don’t make your customers wait.

Think about what your customers experience each time they call in a service request. Do they wait on hold or does a friendly person answer their call immediately? How soon can you dispatch a technician? Are you able to pinpoint a time when service staff will arrive? How quickly can your team trouble shoot and resolve a problem?

In 2016, service-based organizations are exploring technology and processes to improve the customer experience, from first interaction to efficiently dispatching technicians and managing their schedule.

Easier self-service.

We are a self-service society. From self-service checkout lines in grocery stores to online banking, consumer like to take control. This also holds true for maintenance and repair of homes and facilities. Organizations are making self-service as easy as possible, according to Forrester. For your customers, this can mean using technology that will allow them to easily submit a service request, look up their account information, and pay their bills online.

Self-service also extends to your internal technicians by giving them access to information that will help them perform their jobs more efficiently. Today, companies are providing data such as site history, equipment details, and work orders through mobile devices used by their field staff. Forrester sees companies also starting to deliver this knowledge via wearable devices.

Preemptive service.

In a previous post, I explored the basics of a new technology trend called the internet of things (IoT). Forrester describes how companies are starting to monitor the state of equipment using IoT. Imagine if you could proactively monitor electrical or HVAC equipment, watching for triggers that would alert your service personnel to respond before a system breakdown. Anticipating customer service needs, rather than just responding, is where the future of service is heading.

Conclusion.

Consumers expect good service. If they don’t get it, they have plenty of other options. Knowing and addressing their expectations will help you stay competitive in what Forrester calls “the age of the customer.”

Interested in how technology can help you improve your service operations? Learn more about Sage Service Operations software.

 

About the Author

Deb Carpenter-Beck is a writer and marketer with more than 25 years of experience in the construction and real estate industries. She often writes about technology and best practices and is passionate about helping contractors and real estate professionals achieve their business goals. You can follow her on Twitter @DebCBConstruct.

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