How Technology Can Help In Driving Customer Loyalty Through A Better Experience
You don’t have to go too far back to see how much technology has impacted our ability to provide a better customer experience and helped to drive customer loyalty. About 15 to 20 years ago, most of our communications to consumers and service Technicians was handled by phone or fax. About 10 to 15 years ago we were getting updates from our Field Service Technicians at the end of the day when they processed their paper work orders. Now we have real-time visibility into the status of the service call, know where Technicians are located at any point during the day and can utilize artificial intelligence to help us assist consumers through the service process. Let’s look at some of the key technologies that have gotten us to where we are today and some of the technologies that will continue to help us connect with our customers in the future.
One of the key areas that has improved dramatically over the years has been our ability to communicate with our Technicians and customers. We have software and hardware that allows us to pass information effortlessly to our technicians and more importantly back from the Technicians. This has allowed Service Management and our Customer Care Teams to stay more in tune with the status of jobs and be able to proactively help when needed. We know when a Technician orders a part and can check the status of the part order. If the part is on backorder, we can intercede to try and locate the part elsewhere or expedite shipment. This also gives us the ability to provide the consumer real-time job statuses and keep them aware and in control of the service process. They are not left in the dark with no other options but to call our Customer Service daily to see what’s going on.
Another technology that has helped us better serve our consumers has been the broad implementation of knowledge management systems (KMS). Although this is more behind the scenes and gives our Technicians and Customer Care Agents better access to information, KMS has allowed us to share more information faster and raised the level or our customer service. All Technicians and Agents have access to the same information. We no longer must rely on tribal knowledge or years of experience for our people to have the best most up to date information at their fingertips. Hardware and infrastructure improvements have also helped to bring this information into the hands of everyone, even if they are in a remote location.
These are just two technology improvements that have fundamentally changed how we provide service to our customers and our ability to drive customer loyalty through a better experience. With the strong foundation that many of us have built with these and other tools, what are some of the important emerging technologies that can help us continue this journey?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are currently being used in some industries. Many of you may be using AI in your call centers to help direct customer to the right team or answer simple repetitive questions (IVR, chat bots, etc.). We all have a wealth of data, but many struggle to leverage this data to drive a better customer experience. By leveraging AI and ML to sift through all of you service data, technical documentation, IOT information and many other sources, you can dramatically improve the consumer service experience through more accurate triage and parts pre-identification. The gains in first time fix will drive customer loyalty as well as your service productivity while driving down costs.
One relatively new frontier that is starting to gain a lot of traction is the use of wearable technology. The ability to wear virtual reality glasses / headsets to provide interactive support on field service repairs has some very interesting potential. This is the next level of knowledge management where you not only can get the information into the Technician’s hands, but you can interact through virtual reality to show them the repair on the equipment they are working on. This “virtual twin” technology has some great potential to bring Master Technician skills to Apprentice Technicians.
Yes, technology has gotten us very far along the way to improve the service experience and drive consumer loyalty, but I am more excited about what the future holds. You need to embrace technology, whether you are an early adaptor, fast follower or just playing catch-up. This will be the key to driving consumer loyalty and your future success.