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Humans Still Matter in Our App-Driven World

In our over-scheduled, over-automated, app-based world, meeting the cable field service technician in person is one of the only times a customer meets anyone from their cable provider face-to-face.  And our research has shown that who the technician is matters just as much as the service that he or she delivers that day.

In fact, only about a year ago, nearly 70% of a consumer survey group told us that they wanted their cable operator to provide them with the name of their technician before they arrive and 65% said they want a picture of their technician in addition to knowing other key facts like how the technician is rated by other customers, and how long a technician has worked for the company.

When a field service technician arrives at a customer’s door, shakes their hand and helps deliver a new service or troubleshoot an existing one, that experience has the power to strengthen or degrade the customer’s overall experience with the cable operator’s brand.  So, it’s very important to get it right.

I am often asked by our cable clients for strategies to leverage the field force to improve the overall customer experience.  For me, the first step to building customer loyalty and satisfaction is showing up at the door on-time, when you say you will.

Much consumer attention is focused on how short we can make the appointment window – an issue that’s constantly flagged on customer satisfaction surveys.  The good news is, by leveraging new advancements in field service technologies, cable operators can promise and deliver on a one-hour or less appointment window.

So how do you get there?  We see five key steps you can take to get your organization well on the path to offering, and fulfilling, the on time guarantee:

  • Resource planning and appointment scheduling that enables dynamic optimization of field shifts in response to real-time events that affect field capacity (emergencies, vacations, training, meetings, overtime, and more).  Aligning appointment scheduling with field resources maximizes resource utilization and ensures a great customer experience.
  • Intelligent routing, or dynamic work assignments, can accommodate rescheduled appointments, emergency requests, technician skill levels, work areas, shift times, project commitments, and equipment needs on the fly.
  • Mobility services enable CSPs to manage, secure, license, and distribute access to work orders, customer account data, payment processing, mapping, global positioning systems (GPS), electronic timecards, technical documentation, schematics, and diagnostic and testing tools on the go.
  • Location-based information leveraging GPS can assist in automating workflow, communication, navigation, and decision-making in real-time, which offers a 19% increase in productivity, a 16% decrease in mean-time to repair, and a 29% increase in service profitability according to analysts at Aberdeen.
  • Integrated customer communications ensures that your customer is actively engaged in the service experience by communicating exactly when a technician will be at their door; and communicating that through the customer’s preferred channel (phone, email or text message).

In a highly competitive marketplace where consumers are more fickle, less loyal and more overscheduled than ever, something as simple as showing up at the door when you say you will, can have a lasting, positive impact on your customer satisfaction.  Sometimes, just a few simple process improvements can turn an appointment window from a hassle to a good use of your time, as well as your customer’s. 

Scott Dutton is Executive Director of Product Management at CSG International.