Anyone who works with customers understands that they are the essence of your business. Your success often depends largely on customer satisfaction. After all, regardless of the type of work you do or the service you offer, chances are great that there is someone else out there who can do the same thing you do for your customers. You need to ensure customers are happy with your business and that they get the best possible experience.
It can be tricky to track this, though. Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t find out a customer has had a poor experience with our business until it is too late: a negative review has been posted online, they’ve aired their grievances to their friends, and you’ve lost their loyalty.
In the majority of cases, you could avoid this situation by keeping better tabs on customer experience along the way. Measuring customer experience at frequent intervals or in near-real time allows you insight into how your business is doing, and—more importantly—how your customers feel.
Having a strong, continuous understanding of customer sentiment means you can intervene if someone has a bad experience, and it offers you options to always be improving. Here are a few ways you can measure customer experience in the field:
1. Customer communication
This method is number one for a reason—it is the most important. Regardless of the specific tactics you decide on to measure field experiences, communication with your customers has to be a top priority. Fortunately, there are so many means to accomplish this in the modern business world, and you can choose a way that works best for you and your customers.
Your communication with customers can even be easily accessible and fairly informal, such as text messaging, email, and in-app messages. With these options, you have the ability to get feedback quickly about a specific experience. Another benefit is that your customers can reply at their convenience, and they will feel like you value their opinion since you are making the effort to keep in touch.
This is a great option on the business end as well since there are now so many options for automating and streamlining this process, especially if you choose to incorporate field service software. Regardless of how you choose to do it, the bottom line is that you need to be communicating with your customers in order to measure their field service experience.
2. Collect feedback using a voice-of-the-customer system
When measuring customer experience, what better source is there than the customer? A voice-of-the-customer (VoC) system is an incredibly valuable tool for obtaining information about how customers feel about a particular process, promotion, or event. VoC-specific systems can help you gather real feedback about a particular element of your business in a large-scale way.
But, with a VoC approach, as with any approach for collecting data, you want to make sure it is easily accessible to customers. Providing a brief survey that can be effortlessly completed on a mobile device after a service call is going to warrant much more accurate and consistent results than a lengthy or complicated survey or any survey that is made available to the customer long after the service visit has occurred.
You also want to make sure you are collecting data in a smart way and using the right metrics. Be discerning when deciding which questions to ask, how to ask them, and whom to ask them. Questions should be relevant, easily understood, and only presented to customers who can answer them accurately. Avoid lengthy questions, complicated questions, or questions that do not apply to a particular customer’s experience.
3. Event survey
While all customer feedback is important, getting a good feel for customer experiences in the field is particularly important. Because there are so many moving parts to fieldwork, this type of customer experience is much harder to curate. The unknown variables may or may not factor in making it difficult to predict exactly how fieldwork will go each time, but it is possible to have a firm grasp on customer experience in the field, what’s working well, and what could be improved.
Pre-event, event, and post-event surveys can help shed some light on what a typical field service looks like for your business. Pre-event surveys help gauge expectations and what exactly your customers want out of an experience. Surveys during the event offer insight into the types of issues or concerns that may arise. Post-event surveys allow a “big picture” to be developed of what exactly the customer experience was like.
All of this information is incredibly valuable for analyzing the efficacy and making recommendations for improvements, but this can only be done if you are truly digesting the information you’re getting. It can be easy to conduct a few surveys, gather lots of data, and then do nothing with it. But, if you are committed to the understanding and improvement of the customer experience, it is imperative that you evaluate the feedback you receive and respond to it appropriately.
4. Take a look at your customers’ actions
Finally, one of the most effective ways to measure customer experience in the field is to really take stock of their actions. Are your customers recommending you to their friends? Are they leaving reviews and ratings online? Do you have plenty of repeat customers? Do they seem satisfied at the end of the service? You can find much of this specific customer information in your customer relationship management (CRM) software. Make sure your reps are logging customer interactions and that your CRM is connected to your review tools to get a full picture of customer satisfaction.
All of these questions are part of an informal method of measuring customer satisfaction. We all know that people are occasionally less than upfront when filling out a survey about communicating with a company. People are busy and don’t have time to respond. Requests for feedback get lost in overcrowded inboxes. But, taking some time to see how your customers respond to the work you do really does make a difference, since—at least sometimes—actions really do speak louder than words.