“Necessity is the mother of invention” is a proverb attributed to Plato, but its actual origin remains uncertain to scholars. Despite the mystery, everyone does universally agree upon the proverb’s meaning: Tough times inspire ingenuity to solve problems. Businesses have always faced customer complaints about product quality, timeliness of delivery, and a host of other concerns.

Useful inventions like the telephone and cash register helped to alleviate some of the gripes of yesteryear, but modern advancements in technology have really upped the ante. If you have a field service business, you might be wondering how the latest technology can make your customers happier. Read on to learn three ways to use technology to help you stay ahead of customer issues, especially in trying situations.

Real-time messaging provides real-time answers

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been put through your paces with a call center. Most of us have had the unfortunate experience of bouncing between representatives and departments, looking for answers. Perhaps the only thing more infuriating as a customer is the endless hold music. However, new technology is changing the game for customers in need. Today’s consumer expects an instantaneous response, and a live chat function on your website can facilitate just that. For complex field service outfits like utilities, this simple, effective service tech is a blessing.

Live chat allows for multitasking, so one rep can simultaneously handle several conversations at once — an advantage for businesses looking to control staffing budget.

With the click of a mouse, consumers become connected to a customer service rep. They can ask questions about things like service outages, an important topic when a customer has no power. Customers love it because they get an expedited response on their terms and can even chat on-the-go. On the business side, live chat allows for multitasking, so one rep can simultaneously handle several conversations at once — an advantage for businesses looking to control staffing budgets.

Artificial intelligence makes businesses look smart

We’re not quite at the level where robots are walking around offices and replacing humans — definitely a good thing! But artificial intelligence and “bots” can make significant improvements in customer service experiences. One of the biggest advantages of using bots is found when they’re deployed as part of live chat services.

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If your team leaves the office at 5 p.m. local time, a bot can take over those customer service activities to assist 24/7. The way it works is through coding and simple question-and-answer sequences. Think of it in an “if this, then that” format. The bot might first ask the customer for their account number. If the customer enters the number properly, it then prompts a question related to that account.

Bots can also be used in other functions that deal directly with customers like scheduling and billing. A customer will no longer have to wait on hold to make a service appointment or get an account balance. The bot can scan the schedule for openings and automatically state balances. For customers who have big expectations and little patience, this type of self-service can be hugely beneficial.

Related: Field Service Scheduling Is Good Customer Care

Trust data to inform business decisions

In the old days, the only way to get information from customers was to ask them about their habits and preferences. Focus groups were time-consuming and cumbersome. Surveys often irritated customers. Fortunately, data can now provide a much clearer (and less intrusive) snapshot of customers’ habits.

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For instance, if your website has a page with frequently asked questions, review the data to see which questions receive the most clicks. That detail should give you a good indication as to the gaps where you’re not effectively communicating with customers. You can also monitor the time customers are spending on specific pages on your site in an effort to identify goods or services that might be primed for promotion.

Related: Field Service Metrics: The 5 Most Valuable KPIs

EnSight Plus can help

Those three examples are among the many different ways that technology has helped businesses of all types stay ahead of customer complaints before they escalate. Many field service companies have turned to cloud-based software platforms like the solution provided by EnSight Plus to give them a technological advantage in their operations and customer service. Our solution features a variety of modules, including those focusing on asset and inventory management; work order management; scheduling, routing, and dispatching; contractor management; fleet management; quality review; and time and expense management.

If you’re interested in learning what our software can do for your field service business, book a free demo today.

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