Excessive wait times for in-home appointments are a well-known source of customer frustration—and a massive economic drain. In fact, in one recent year, waiting for appointments at home cost the U.S. economy $37.7 billion dollars. The average wait time topped four and one-half hours.
Shrinking appointment windows is a huge opportunity for enterprises with field service operations. Comcast is tackling this key customer pain point head-on with its emerging cable tech tracking app.
The new technology, currently in trial in the Boston area, gives customers a more accurate view of when a technician will arrive at their home. It can send an alert approximately 30 minutes before a technician is likely to show up at a customer’s door step.
Although results of the Comcast tracking app trial are pending, it is clear that the company has made an effort to achieve precision appointment windows. If your brand wants to capitalize on this innovation, you can apply these proven contact management best practices to shrink your customers’ wait-times:
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1. Link Customer Contact to Workforce Management (WFM): Today’s customers can shift their plans at a moment’s notice. The only way to keep tabs on your customers’ appointment statuses is to integrate customer contact and WFM technologies. This approach empowers you dynamically adjust your schedule if a customer must change an appointment time or no longer needs service. You can use up-to-the minute customer response data to dispatch only to confirmed customers and cut costly, time-consuming wasted trips.
2. Automate Day-of-Job Contact: Even if you’ve pre-confirmed an appointment a day or two in advance, you should institute day-of-job contact. That way, you can reaffirm that customers will be home at the right times. If they can’t make the appointment, you can give them the option of rescheduling. You can also require unconfirmed customers to validate their availability within a specified window before dispatch. If customers don’t respond to this last-call validation attempt, you can cancel the pending appointment, while reminding them of your confirmation policies. This lets you eliminate unnecessary appointments to and cut wait times for confirmed customers.
3. Use a Multi-Channel Approach: You must collect information on customer channel preferences—and follow them. This increases the likelihood that you will connect with your customers and demonstrates that you listen to their needs and value their time. With the right technologies, you can gain intelligence on each customer’s contact history. The benefit: you can automate outreach at known best times to reach customers for maximum result.
Comcast is betting that precise appointment windows will boost customer satisfaction and reinvigorate their service reputation. There is also a clear financial benefit to streamlining field service operations. General estimates suggest that each wasted truck roll costs between $200 to $2,000 dollars.
Smart field service teams can replicate an emerging innovation and achieve a win-win for their customers and their bottom line.