Customer Service Top Concern for Field Agents, Study Finds
October 18, 2012
Field service is the brand for firms who put their workers in the field. So while gas prices continue to trend upward, making sure that customers are happy with field reps is the biggest concern for the vast majority of companies.
This finding comes from a new report commissioned by field service management firm, Trimble (News - Alert), and conducted by an independent market research firm. The study found that 76 percent of the 100 firms interviewed cited customer service as their number one concern, according to the study. Only 42 percent cited fuel expense reduction as a goal.
As the employees most often in direct contact with customers, customer service standards for field service are particularly important. Nearly 96 percent of managers surveyed said that field service workers represented the public face of the company.
“The report confirms that enterprises are becoming increasingly customer-centric in the field services industry,” noted Trimble general manager Mark Forrest in a statement from the company.
They need to be customer-center; more than eight in 10 managers surveyed said that customers are more demanding than they were five years back, even though customer spending is down.
“There is no question that organizations must adapt to meet customers' changing service expectations and understand the impact that this can have on the business, both from a financial and operational perspective,” added Forrest.
Not that field service worker productivity is ignored; 90 percent of respondents stated that increasing worker productivity is a prime goal, especially since four fifths reported that they planned to increase field services in the next five years.
Technology is an important tactic in improving productivity, according to the study. More than 70 percent of those interviewed for the study said they have upgraded workforce technology in the past year, and 43 percent planned to upgrade in the future.
Of this technology investment, scheduling and dispatch solutions play a large role; 76 percent reported plans to update such logistics solutions.
“By taking the steps necessary to implement a fully automated field service management solution,” according to the report, “organizations benefit from near realtime visibility of fleet operations as well as streamlined business processes, which can transform operational efficiency without the need to increase the size of their field-based workforce.”
The report noted that telematics can generate ROI within six to 12 months on average, for instance.
Technology also can hit at that all-important customer service objective. Almost 90 percent of organizations confirmed that creating a narrower appointment window was vital. To that end, implementing better methods of calling and texting customers was cited as a key tactic.
“By managing customer expectations, companies can eliminate negative comments via social media and create loyal advocates who will tell friends—and social media—about the good service they received,” noted the report.
Among the findings, the study also found that green initiatives and driver safety were increasingly important concerns.
Edited by Brooke Neuman