As a commercial service contractor, providing an excellent customer experience is essential for building a strong reputation and growing your business. In competitive markets, facility owners and managers have many options to choose from and they’re more likely to work with a contractor who can give them a positive experience at every turn.
How Does Customer Experience Differ From Customer Service?
Customer service refers to the interactions between a customer and your company’s representatives, such as your front-office staff and technicians. Customer experience, on the other hand, encompasses all interactions and touchpoints a customer has with your company, including the use of the equipment you install and service.
Customer experience begins at the research stage, when a prospect first encounters your brand, typically through word-of-mouth or the internet. (What are other people saying about you? Are prospects able to find the information they need on your website? How easy—or difficult—is it to get in touch?) And it continues throughout the entire lifetime of the relationship or contract (and even after), giving rise to certain perceptions and feelings about your company.
When people have a premium experience with your brand, they’re more likely to pay a premium price for your services, refer you to others, and stick with you for all of their relevant needs. That’s why the broader measure of customer experience is one of the most important growth KPIs for service contractors.
Gauging Customer Experience: 10 Questions to Ask
There are ways to measure customer experience with metrics like Net Promoter Score, customer satisfaction scores, on-time completion rate, third-party star reviews, and plenty of others. But if you’re looking for ways to get started without existing analytics—or, alternatively if your data shows a need for improving customer experience—these 10 questions will help you make a plan.
What is our brand visibility online?
Are prospects and customers able to easily find us online? Does our online presence—on search engines especially—inspire confidence in our brand?
What kind of reputation do we have online and in the community?
What are our customers saying about us? Do they sing our praises and refer us to others? Do we receive positive reviews on Google, and if so, do we display these high scores and testimonials on our site?
How well are we communicating with our customers?
In general, how responsive and helpful are we? Can our front-office staff access customer records and service history to better address inquiries and concerns? Do we remind customers of upcoming appointments and let them know when technicians are on the way?
How reliable are we?
Are we completing installations, maintenance, inspections, and repairs correctly the first time and on time? Are techs showing up on schedule with all the service history and other info they need to properly answer questions and complete the work order?
Are we providing detailed and prompt repair and/or installation quotes?
How long do customers have to wait to receive a quote or estimate? Do we provide rich media like videos and images to explain repair needs and build trust?
Are we providing self-service options to customers?
Do we provide customer portals that allow customers to access maintenance records, request service, and pay bills?
Are we providing a fair and transparent pricing structure?
Can customers easily access contract terms, past quotes, and pricing agreements? Are customers often surprised by the numbers on their invoice?
How do we demonstrate the value of our routine maintenance and service work?
Do customers recognize our good work when everything is running smoothly?
Do customers feel in-the-loop regarding the status of projects and maintenance?
Do we have a way to easily show customers the ongoing work we’re doing and real-time progress on installations or other projects?
Are we listening to the feedback from customers?
Are we asking for feedback, taking it into account, and making improvements accordingly?
Improving Customer Experience With Software
As you begin to think about improving customer experience and establishing your company as a premium brand, the matters of expense and resources will come up. Perhaps your budget is locked and your team is already spread thin. How can you improve customer experience without significantly expanding the budget or making more work for your team?
How about a tech solution? Software, with its abilities to centralize data and automate tasks, is the most cost-efficient way to improve customer experience. Finding the right software partner is essential for a growing commercial service contractor looking to scale without sacrificing their good reputation in the market.
Finding Customer-Focused Software: 10 More Questions to Ask
Most commercial service contractors already use some third-party tools and software. Many utilize service management software in the field. But it’s worth mentioning that not all field management tools are made equal, especially when it comes to elevating customer experience.
Here are 10 questions you can ask when evaluating software solutions.
How does the software handle scheduling?
Can it facilitate the scheduling of recurring services to ensure you never miss an appointment? Does it allow customers to request service online?
Can the software automate appointment reminders and other communications?
Will your customers receive automatic notifications when an appointment is coming up or a technician is on the way?
How does the software handle customer account management and service history?
Does it centralize and share data in a way that allows your entire team to access customer information? Can customers easily find a record of services?
Does the software include a mobile technician application that enables techs to richly document their work?
Can technicians attach images, audio files, and/or videos to better show the value of their work?
How does the software handle invoicing and billing?
How long does it take for customers to receive an invoice? Does the software help facilitate prepayment for recurring services and online payment of open invoices?
Does the software offer customers a self-service portal?
Can customers review, approve, and submit payment through an online portal? Can they access inspection forms, service record, quotes, and invoices on demand?
Does the software offer transparent progress reporting for projects?
In addition to providing easily accessible service records, does the software offer project management capabilities and customer-facing progress reporting?
How does the software handle customer feedback and reviews?
Can the software automatically request online reviews from satisfied customers to boost your SEO and reputation?
Can the software provide analytics to monitor customer experience metrics?
Does the software include analytics or integrate with your preferred business intelligence tool?
Does the software include sales management tools?
How does the software handle sales activities? Does it provide one central location to store important information pertaining to all steps of the selling cycle? Does it include convenient tools for customers like e-sign?
Premium Status is in Reach
Providing a top-notch customer experience is required to become a premium brand and maintain a good reputation as you grow. Your customers want ease, transparency, reliability, and clear communications from their service contractors. Choosing the right software partner will help you deliver just that.
Want to learn more about FieldExpert?
We’re the premier field service management and customer operations platform for commercial HVACR and MEP contractors. Our mission is to help you be more valuable to your customers and grow your business.
You can find out if FieldExpert is the right software for your business by booking a demo.