It is not uncommon for companies in the Consumer Durables Industry to lose control of the customers’ experiences during the product ownership cycle after the sale. This is because a customer may interact with many different groups or channels after the sale including Contact Centers, Dealers or Service Centers, Third Party Administrators, Parts Departments, or Field Service partners as part of the relationship with a company. At issue, these groups may act as a series of unconnected departments or individuals. However, customers expect these groups to act as one unified entity.
Connected Customer Experience
This article first appeared in the Jul 25, 2019 edition of Field Service News
This article first appeared in the May 27, 2019 edition of Field Service News
This article is guest post from from Marc Guthrie. He is COO at Help Lightning
It was a Saturday morning early last Summer, and I was on the phone with John. John was at his daughter’s birthday party and had stepped out to help me with a problem with my A/C. John has been providing service on my HVAC equipment for me for more than a dozen years. He’s been here several times and knows all the stuff very well. He had a good idea what the problem was and was trying to walk me through the procedure to fix it. It was going to be a brutally hot weekend, and after 10 minutes of effort John said, “Hang on Marc, I’ve got my truck with me. I’ll head on over and get it done.” Hearing the disappointment in his voice, I told him to wait a minute, “I think I’ve got a way for you to do this and still sing ‘Happy Birthday’”…
How many times have you been in this situation? You have expertise and knowledge that you know will be helpful to someone. Maybe it is something relatively simple, but you just can’t clearly get the information you want across. You may have heard someone on your customer service team trying to solve a problem and are frustrated by the awkward descriptive language they are attempting to use. If you are frustrated, imagine how your customer feels! But what if you could take the knowledge of your company’s experts and place it in the hands of your field service engineers? Or, perhaps, even in the hands of your customers! What if your experts could be the eyes, ears, AND hands of the customer as they are working on an equipment problem? Well, that is exactly what Augmented Reality/Merged Reality (AR/MR) capability allows you to do.
Science Indicates its value:
Every research project performed in this area finds that adding hand gestures and visual cues to verbal communication significantly increase its cognitive power. Enabling the use of nonverbal cues, gestures, and real tools into the process improves overall communication by a factor of 10. On average, we use 2.88 gestures to explain each key point and, when we do, cognition and resolution are increased by 430%. These facts certainly indicate that virtual presence technology will allow you to solve your customer’s problems more effectively. However, perhaps the most impactful scientific fact is this: When people can see your hands, it increases their trust in you by as much as 250%! We all know that building trust with our customers will do more for our business than any other single thing.
Our Intuition feels its value:
Imagine yourself helping a friend assemble the new grill that you had convinced her to purchase. Luckily, you had just put yours together last week, so you had intimate knowledge of the pitfalls. You wouldn’t simply stand with your hands behind your back and attempt to use simple verbal guidance as your stomach begins to growl. Instead, you would reach in and show her: “Look, you need to insert this dial here and turn it this way.” And: “I remember using this special tool on this part like this.” Helping people solve problems using our hands is so intuitively obvious, we never even think about it.
Practice Proves its value:
OK, science indicates to us that virtual presence is valuable and our intuition tells us it is valuable, but what about practical application. What do the numbers tell us? We have been analyzing the results of the usage of this unique capability, and now we know. Using merged reality solves 22% more problems than using simple video with Telestration. You don’t need to be a scientist or a psychologist to understand the massive impact this will have to your business.
…So, I sent John a text message and in 15 seconds we were involved in a powerful AR/MR session in which he guided me through several simple but intricate procedures and both of us were able to have a nice, cool weekend.
If you would like to learn how AR/MR technology fits into your Field Service Organizations’ Knowledge Tool Kit, then please join us for a live webinar hosted by Mize and Help Lightning. During this webinar we will demonstrate the field service applications that companies can utilize to improve technician productivity, reduce resolution times, and boost customer satisfaction. Through case studies, demos, and best practices, we will examine how advanced capabilities in the areas of Knowledge, Spare Parts, and Augmented/Merged Reality can revolutionize customer experience and transform service delivery.
Webinar Topic: Revolutionize Customer Experience and Transform Service Performance through Augmented/Merged Reality
Date & Time: June 27, 2019 at 1 PM EDT/12 PM CDT
Presenters: Michael R. Blumberg, CMO, Mize Inc.
Andrew Thomas, Product Manager, CX and FSM, Mize Inc.
Marc Guthrie, COO, Help Lightning
As special bonus for attending, you will receive a free copy of whitepaper Titled: Benchmark Assessment of the Impact of Knowledge Tools on Service Experience
To learn more and register for our webinar click here
This article is guest post from Sam Klaidman. He is the Principal Adviser at Middlesex Consulting.
Many business leaders link their employee’s variable compensation to satisfaction or loyalty survey results with a view to improving the customer experience provided by their company or just to game the survey results.
In this article I assume the business leaders actually want to improve their customer’s experiences.
Why you should not automatically link survey results with variable compensation?
The fundamental reason is that metrics and compensation should only be linked to influence behavior that will result in the business achieving its desired business outcomes. Some of these outcomes are increase profitability, grow customer lifetime value, and mitigate business risks.
With many capital equipment products the cost of changing brands is so high as to make the likelihood of change non-existent and therefore the impact on the desired business outcomes also non-existent.
B2B capital equipment products generally have very high switching costs. For example, airlines that fly the Boeing Max 8 or 9, or have them on order, cannot easily stop purchasing new ones as their needs grow. Crew training, maintenance and logistics, and long deliveries from Airbus mean that existing users and customers who await delivery will be flying the Boeing planes from many years.
When a company has selected brand X products for one manufacturing site and decides to increase capacity by duplicating the production line at another location, they will usually buy the same equipment; it will reduce startup time and costs and make it easy to benchmark each facility against the other. Intel has used a practice it calls Copy Exactly! for many years to deploy each new generation of manufacturing equipment. They not only duplicate equipment but also use the same exact paint (color, manufacturer, and type) and flooring so they can troubleshoot production problems by eliminating everything that is the same across their factories. Standardization overrides experiences.
Another useful data point. In their article “CX Metrics Aren’t Customer-Centric, But Should Be. Learn How”, Peter Fader and Sarah E. Toms describe how companies with high switching costs break their customers into three segments based on any CX metric. The three segments are:
|Segment Name||Hostile Hostages||Neutral Hostages||Caged Loyalists|
Either your customers are hostages or are at least caged. In either case, they have to be extremely upset to even consider switching, if it is at all possible.
You might be wondering “what about referrals?” In my survey work, I find many people who rate a company 9 or 10 on the NPS question but never actually refer. There are many reasons why but their behavior doesn’t match their intent. I have also found people who rate a company with a 0 or 1 NPS score who referred the company to associates. When I asked about the difference, I heard things like “They were not good for us but would be perfect for my friend.” The takeaway – intent does not always match behavior.
Why improve the customer’s experiences with your company?
Even though your B2B capital equipment customers are likely locked-in to your products, you should still work to improve all the experiences you create. There are still the referrals (some people actually do what they say) and when the current product reaches end-of-life, they will make a new purchasing decision. They will still purchase the product they believe is the best for their intended use but, if the final choice between you and a competitor is close, service experience may be the deciding factor.
Where to invest your CX money?
You should invest your time and money motivating your teams to improve on the actions that will help your customers extract the most value from your products because this is why they originally purchased from you. Their business outcomes are much more important than how they feel about the intangible interactions with the service engineers. Areas to invest in include:
- Improve product ease of use and reliability
- Minimize call center handling time so invest in a knowledge base and chat
- Add more value to your contracts and/or reduce the price
- Help the customers improve how your product fits into their overall operation
- Status tracking and notifications
- Become proactive with predictive maintenance
- Increase spare parts holdings to improve first call fix rates
- Employee training – both hard and soft skills
Consumers now reside in a digital world where instant gratification is the new currency. The rise of Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime Now and Uber ensures they can avoid any pain points and get what they want and when they want it in a new on demand economy.
However, the ‘we want it now’ consumer continues to evolve and now expects a personalized experience too. If online services know what their favorite movies, TV shows and music they like, surely retailers will know what they like too.
Tech savvy users are looking for businesses to lead the way with new technology that continues to treat them as unique individuals. A generic marketing e-mail with their name pasted at the top in a different font is no longer going to cut it.
The evolution of the customer experience has even given birth to the phrase Martech which is the blending of marketing and technology. Industries across multiple industries are all facing the same problem as the digital transformation of everything gathers pace.
Keeping up with all the latest trends across the digital landscape is no longer an option it should be compulsory for anyone serious about the future of their business. The good news is that you are not alone and the fact that 76% of field service providers were reportedly struggling to achieve revenue growth should be the only wake-up call that you need to take this seriously.
However, there are numerous field service winners here too. For example, in 2017 there are many organizations providing seamless digital experiences and delivering faster resolution times. It is often said that technology works best when it brings together and here is a selection of great examples.
The Value of Improving the Customer Journey
Personalization is much more than just another industry buzzword but a reaction to the demand driven by consumers. Providing the right experience at the right time is an art that many are still learning to master. But, the ability to increase 15% percent of revenue and lower the cost of serving customers by 20% is a language that every member of the boardroom will understand.
Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Customer Service
According to Microsoft, an incredible 97% of consumers advised customer service is critical to their choice or loyalty to a brand. But it’s also crucial to remember how this is across self-service, social, phone, mobile and a plethora of devices.
The divide between offline and online is disappearing. No matter what device we have at hand, wherever we are located and if we are using our keyboard, touchscreen or even voice, the experience should be the same.
Poor Customer Service Will Be Punished
It is well understood that it costs businesses more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Savvy consumers will happily shop around for the best deal. Ironically many companies seem to treat their current clients with contempt arrogantly and assume they will stay with them regardless.
The reality here in 2017 is that 64% of consumers have switched providers in at least one industry due to poor customer service according to Accenture. We no longer suffer fools gladly, and a lack of patience or frustration will ensure most consumers will switch providers after only one negative experience.
In this digital age, loyalty must now be earned rather than taken for granted. The only question that remains is what are you doing about it?
Time Is Money
An Amazon Prime account makes one-click ordering and delivery within 2 hours a reality. Maybe, we shouldn’t be too surprised how our time is becoming increasingly valuable. Forrester recently advised that 73% of consumers will happily admit that their time is the most important factor where businesses need to focus.
Pain points such as long-winded automated phone menus, cumbersome online chats or waiting around between 9 am and 6 pm for somebody to call you will no longer be tolerated. Organizations need to manage the expectations of their customers and remove friction to offer a truly simplified service in a timely manner.
Make Way for The Internet of Things (IoT)
With 50 Billion internet-connected devices by 2020, the time to take IoT seriously is right now. Consumers do not care about your product roadmaps; they now expect the same experience with any of their devices.
There is already a long line of competitors offering similar services. Failing to keep up will leave your brand looking like a tired Sears or J. C. Penney store that failed to keep up with the speed of hyper change across the digital landscape.