I recently read a study performed by TechnologyAdvice that indicated that only 55% of service visits had a positive impact on the customer’s impression of a business. That’s outright scary. It means 45% of service visits leave a neutral or negative impression of business.
How do you ensure your visit results in a positive impression of your business? I’ve been labeled a data nerd, but to me the correct answer is by collecting as much data as possible about your customers, their properties and your work. Then sharing that information with your customers. At the end of the day, most customer complaints to their field service business provider aren’t really the result of poor work. It’s the result of poor communication.
Assessments are the Key
How do you collect data? By asking questions. It’s really that simple. It’s why airplane pilots have pre-flight checklists. It guarantees that they collect the data they need to proceed with the flight.
If you use field service software, collecting data is easy. Whether it’s data from your sales rep, your service teams or your customer, field service software can help you collect the information you need to improve your business through the use of assessments. Assessments are simply a series of questions you ask, typically of a worker in the field using a mobile device. They complete the assessment and it’s then synced to the office and stored in the central database for review and retrieval later.
Here are five assessments that will improve your business:
One of the biggest problems in most sales process is a lack of data. That’s especially relevant in a field service business, where the typical sales process involves visiting a customer’s property to perform an estimate. For example, in a lawn care business, the estimate is typically based on the square footage of the property to be mowed, the equipment that will be used (will the mower have a 31” deck or a 72” deck?), and how difficult the property will be to mow (lots of trees, landscaping, hills will take more time).
Nearly every field service business has a sales rep (or an actual technician) visit a property and provide an estimate before the work is performed. But few actually record that information for later use. It’s a big mistake for something that literally takes about a minute to do. Using the example above, you can setup the assessment to ask two simple questions:
What’s the square footage of the property to be mowed?
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most difficult, how difficult is the property to mow?
Armed with that data, you can easily bid the property. Then, store it in your central database for use later. Should the customer want another service like lawn fertilization, you can simply send them a quote based on that square footage data.
This is just one example. If you need other data (the number of zones and where the controller is located, if you own an irrigation business), you can add that to the salesperson’s assessment.
Additional Work/Equipment Assessment
This is literally a must for every service business. If you want a quick way to grow your revenue per customer, require your field employees to complete a post-service assessment. Ask them a single question: Did you see any opportunities for additional work? Maybe they noticed an old irrigation controller that could be replaced by a new, high-efficiency model. Maybe you did some electrical work and saw an opportunity to add a new electrical panel. Or maybe you mowed a customer’s lawn and noticed a mulching opportunity. If you don’t ask the question, odds are your field crew won’t tell you. They’re motivated by a weekly paycheck. They aren’t necessarily motivated to grow your business.
We’ve had other customers that have told us their crews have repeatedly left expensive small equipment at job sites by mistake. In some cases, it was never recovered. Ask your field crews if they have all their equipment. List specific items, if necessary. If they complete an equipment assessment and say they have an item but they don’t, it’s a lot easier to hold them accountable.
In addition to asking your employees to check for additional revenue opportunities, ask them to verify their work in a post-service assessment. This is especially important in commercial property maintenance businesses. In a maintenance business, you’re typically sending a crew to do a number of things - mow a lawn, add mulch, trim shrubs, etc. When your crew is done, have them complete an assessment that asks them what they did, what problem areas they encountered, and what they plan to do at their next visit.
Then, share that information with your customers in a post-service email. You can learn more about why that’s important by reading our blog post, Why Commercial Businesses Love Completion Emails from Your Green Industry Business.
Quality Control Assessment
Another great assessment to use is a Quality Control Assessment. For example, let’s assume you’re a relatively large snow removal business that services primarily commercial properties. Many of your customers are demanding; they want their properties completely clear of snow and ice. To ensure they are, you’ve enlisted one of your managers to review properties when your crews are done.
Mobile field service software simplifies that data collection. Simply create an assessment asking that manager a series of questions. Have them complete it electronically at every property reviewed. It’s a great way to not only find additional areas of improvement for your team, but to also send to your customer proving your commitment to service excellence.
Customer Satisfaction Survey
Technically, this isn’t a traditional assessment like the others mentioned. But if your field service software has a service business marketing add-on like HindSite Connect Pro, it’s still easy to achieve.
Here’s how it works: With HindSite Connect, field service businesses can send post-service emails to their customers with information about when and what work was performed on the property. They can embed a link to a survey in that email. The customer clicks the link, completes a simple satisfaction survey, and that data is sent to your customer database and linked to that customer’s work order.
A common objection is “Customers hate taking surveys.” That’s probably true. Only your really happy or really dissatisfied customers will complete a survey. But, realistically, those are the two groups you want to identify. Your happy customers are the ones you want to ask for referrals and reviews, while your dissatisfied ones need more attention so they become repeat customers.
At the end of the day, the only way you’re going to significantly improve your business is by leveraging the information in it. By incorporating these five assessments into your business, you’ll get better sales data, better operational data and better customer service data. Improving your business should be simple using those three data points.
Want more business improvement tips? Check out our free eBook, Owning a Service Business: 16 Tips for Success, today!