The Customer Experience Impact Of Field Data Collection


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It doesn’t take advanced powers of observation to tell that customers’ expectations have changed dramatically in the last few years. Ever since experience disruptors, like and Uber put an emphasis on convenience over actual products (i.e. where booking a holiday or getting a taxi is an absolute breeze), other industries have sought to establish similar standards. Convenience, after all, is what customers want these days.

Field service businesses are no exception.

Both residential and commercial customers now expect online booking portals, automatic notifications and invoices, feedback systems, and more. Companies that went to great lengths to become paperless in the past now have the advantage, especially when you consider the fact that even when the current crisis subsides, new habits will have been formed. This applies both to companies’ internal structure and to customers’ expectations.

Moving forward, field employees will be used to having fewer face-to-face interactions with office staff, while customers will want more proof of how committed technicians are to high standards of hygiene and work. Field data collection is one important aspect of the job that will be greatly affected by these changes and it’s essential that managers and owners be prepared with the right kind of tools to keep the business successful and respected.

What is field data collection for a service company?

Field data collection comes under many names, such as forms, certificates, questionnaires, or reports. Some are:

– Legal requirements, e.g. attesting an elevator in a commercial building is fit for use and covered by insurance.
– Non-mandatory best practices, e.g. attesting a heating system has been serviced before a landlord rents out a space.
– Customer service oriented, e.g. a COVID-19 hygiene form.

Due to the variety of forms and checklists field service companies deal with, as well as the diversity encountered within the industry, many businesses struggle with digitizing them. After all, no off-the-shelf software will provide a library of every form a company will ever need especially if they operate in niche fields.

At the same time, few companies can afford to splurge on customized software. This is how a need arises for customizable forms and checklists that can cater to the new demands of the market.

Why is digital field data collection important?

Minimize data collection errors.

Third party inspections are a lucrative source of revenue for field service companies in a variety of trades. Whether these are legal requirements or best practices adopted by industries in order to maintain a high standard of work environments, inspections come with added responsibility and are generally carried out by multiple individuals.

In a paper-based business, this means a great potential for error derived from illegible handwriting, misunderstandings, and delays associated with moving physical documents. Even if a company is using software to record field data, unless inspection forms are customizable, there is always a possibility of missing out on important information simply because the form did not allow for it to be recorded.

This means that even when a field service company is supported by software, it’s still possible to fall short of data collection goals, unless the tools are customizable enough to allow for the unexpected.

Show, don’t tell.

When it comes to attesting that an appliance or an installation is functional, telling people about it can help but not nearly as much as showing them. Media attachments such as photos or videos can make a big difference whenever there are questions or disputes, especially if there is a chance for litigation. Field service companies can save a lot of money by providing visual proof of their quality work, and so help to avoid these disputes altogether.

Mobile devices that run digital forms and checklists will become increasingly important as legislation changes along with the need to demonstrate accountability with visual proof before and after an inspection. Technicians can also feel more at peace knowing that their work has been recorded and any conflict can be easily avoided.

Ensure a certain standard of work.

Outside of legal requirements and best practices, field data collection also helps companies maintain a high standard of work by giving technicians a tool to monitor their visits. Managers and business owners know that when customer experience is a priority and repeat customers are a great source of income, then reliability and consistency of service are essential. People want to know that they can expect the same level of care and effort every single time, without fail.

Digital checklists can help technicians deliver on this goal by asking certain questions before and after a job. For example, after they hit “Arrived at job”/”Job done” on their mobile app, they can check off experience things such as “Is your name badge visible?”, “Are you wearing plastic covers over your shoes?”, “Did you inform the customers on best use practices for their new appliance?”, etc. While the prompt isn’t a guarantee the answers will always be given, a simple nudge like this can go a long way to improving customer service, and so too the customer’s experience as a result.

These are ever more important, especially post-COVID, as customers have become increasingly preoccupied with high standards of hygiene. In this case, companies making use of flexible software could easily implement a COVID checklist that puts their customers at ease by reminding every technician to wash hands, disinfect, wear PPE, and maintain a safe distance. At the end of the day, techs have a great deal of potential when it comes to the customer experience.

How can digital field data collection help a field service company?

Revenue and efficiency are two top indicators of a company’s success so it’s no wonder that managers look at these key performance factors when assessing the feasibility and usefulness of a tool.

Field data collection tools, whether in the form of an individual solution or as a feature of a more encompassing management software, need to prove that they can positively influence either or both of these factors. The next two implementation strategies work towards that goal:

A premium experience comes with premium pricing.

Professional checklists and forms, featuring your company branding, signal a premium experience to customers, both commercial and residential, but especially the latter. Service details such as cleanliness, tool quality, and commitment to hygiene are all markers of a company that works differently from the average one. These details take commitment and a good work ethic, but, financially, they’re not difficult to implement and, most importantly, they can carry a premium price tag.

This means field service companies have a big opportunity to improve their offerings and charge accordingly. Experience has overtaken price as the key decision factor according to this Walker study done in 2020, so people are certainly willing to pay more for a better service, especially with priorities shifting in 2021 and onwards towards safe and trustworthy work, as opposed to simply low prices.

The questions highlighted above can be a great start towards educating technicians to be more customer service oriented, as well as offering further proof to customers that you’re committed to the premium approach. Asking these questions can make the difference in the quality of the service provided. While you’d expect and hope techs are taking these steps anyway, providing a helpful reminder never hurts.

Keep your team working on what matters.

It’s unfair to expect technicians to be masters of admin, too. It’s a necessary part of their day to collect information, but it’s not what their job is about so they can’t be expected to perform the task with the same devotion an operations manager would have, for example. This being said, devotion is exactly what good field data collection demands so it’s easy to observe the potential for a costly rift there.

Digital forms and checklists (especially customizable ones) can make this experience easier and more user-friendly for technicians, effectively trickling down benefits to other areas, too. At the same time, office workers can also rejoice that they don’t have to decipher hand-written papers or cryptic Google Doc notes. Ultimately, your business benefits from both a happier workforce and fewer errors in the system.

The takeaway on field service data collection and customizable forms

Now that field service businesses have access to smart tools that can help them create, customize, and even auto-fill forms and checklists, it’s much easier to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of their customers. At the same time, operating the business becomes easier, while the workforce is able to focus less on paperwork and more on doing a great job.

However, all this hinges on having the right tools! So when choosing a software to help you achieve a remarkable customer experience, make sure to pay attention to how flexible their forms & checklists feature really is; that way ,you can be sure it’s right for you. All in all, it’s all about what will help to make your business grow!

Cristina Maria
Cristina Maria is a Marketing Executive at Commusoft, the job management software, where she helps field service businesses discover the potential of digital solutions. A curious hybrid of writer and marketer, you'll usually find her doing what she loves most: using her work experience to produce engaging content for those looking to make the most out of their business strategies.


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