Online Review Sites Are Killing the Service Industry: How Field Service Management Can HelpBy Jessica Barrett Halcom on Friday, April 6, 2018
We’ve all done it. We’re in the market for something new or talking to our significant other about trying a new place for dinner Friday night. Rather than going in blind, or taking what feels like a risk, we turn to online review sites like Google or Yelp for feedback from other consumers.
While this can be helpful for buyers, for business owners, a few bad reviews can have seriously negative consequences. Consider this: 94 percent of people say that a poor review has convinced them to avoid a business. There are those who don’t believe that online reviews are legitimate, but that doesn’t stop the majority of consumers from trusting them, to the tune of 77 percent.
With so many people utilizing online review sites, it’s critical that businesses take them seriously and do their part to mitigate the risk of bad branding. This is true for every industry, including the service industry, which is taking a pretty big hit as of late.
As a business owner, outside of scouring the internet to try to respond to every bad review day in and day out, what options do you have to lessen the likelihood of them happening in the first place? Consider field service management (FSM) software.
When we take a look at the root of most bad reviews in the service industry, there are several areas that FSM software can address immediately.
Maintenance scheduling is one of the biggest complaints from customers. Customers take time off of work, wait around all day, only for the technician to show up late or not at all. Understandably, this is a huge frustration. The cause, however, is largely due to a communication issue between dispatcher and technician. Rather than dispatching via phone or at the office early in the morning, FSM software provides real-time scheduling that immediately lets a technician know when a job has been scheduled. It also lets dispatchers know exactly where a technician is at any time, and how much longer they’re expected to be at their current job. Additionally, it allows both dispatcher and technician to optimize their jobs by planning the best route between them.
Stronger Skills Match
As strong as your technicians are, some have better skill sets in certain areas than in others. Field service management software can use deep technician data to ensure that you send technicians to the jobs that match their expertise, and in turn, your customers get the best service possible for their particular problem.
Centralized Knowledge Base
Having access to a database at your fingertips that can immediately tell a technician whether or not they’ve serviced a client before, along with all relevant historical details, is a game changer. No more looking through old files or starting from scratch with a client. No more relaying information through several people or waiting for office personnel to call a technician back. Customer information stored in the field service management application or an integrated customer relationship management (CRM) tool is accessible immediately, providing faster and more thorough service to the customer.
Another complaint customers will often make is that a job wasn’t done well, was rushed, or that a technician seemed to have “cut some corners.” With field service management software, you can set up task lists for each type of job a technician will do. Before leaving a job, they will go through the task list to make sure each item has been completed. This list of tasks can be shared with both the home office to check technician quality and with customers for quality assurance.
Business intelligence (BI) is everywhere now, and for good reason. Having data gives us a big picture overview of what’s going on, including the performance of our teams. FSM software allows you to generate reports so that you’ll be able to see trends in the performance of your technicians. Run reports that show where your technicians perform best and where there may be skills gaps and opportunities for additional training. Feed these reports into your HR software or performance management software to track individual technician training and certifications.
Likely the one thing a customer most appreciates is communication. At the end of the day, they just want to know what’s going on. FSM software allows technicians and dispatchers to communicate with customers through customer alerts, and customers can communicate back with the company through consumer portals or mobile apps. This means fewer missed phone calls, less time away from work, and more appointments met throughout the day.
While we don’t have a lot of control over what people will say about us online, we can meet them where they are and minimize the risk of a bad review by ensuring we’re providing excellent service. Consider the use of FSM software that makes your service so good they can’t help but leave a five-star review.
Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com, with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.