You may remember playing the childhood game called “telephone.” For those who may be unfamiliar, it involved a circle of kids whispering the same message from one to another and laughing uproariously at how much it changed by the time it reached the originator. In childhood, that’s fun. In business, it’s deadly.
That’s especially true when your company’s success depends upon the work of field service technicians. If getting an answer to a simple question takes information conveyed over multiple phone calls or emails, you’re wasting valuable time and risk having that information become garbled.
Let’s imagine your company sells a technology device used in dialysis clinics throughout North America. The device requires professional installation, so your company has to find skilled technicians near any clinic that buys one. This afternoon, you received an angry call from the director of a clinic in Laramie, Wyoming, claiming the technician you dispatched failed to show up when promised and demanding to know when their device will be installed.
You leave a voicemail with your field service coordinator. Twenty minutes later she leaves the first of two voicemails with the technician, who subsequently leaves his own voicemail for her, claiming there is no 624 West Maple Street in Laramie. The coordinator checks the system and discovers the clinic is actually at 624 East — not West — Maple Street. She reaches the technician, who says it’s too late in the day to start now, and he’ll be there first thing in the morning. She relays that to you, and you relay it to an even angrier director, who can’t believe it took hours to get a simple answer. It’s a familiar situation that’s frustrating for everyone involved and causes a poor customer experience.
Imagine if it had played out another way.
That morning, you log into our field service system and click on the work ticket to see the technician is set to arrive in a few minutes. Your coordinator receives a notification about a bad address and instantly relays a correction. The technician acknowledges it, and the coordinator updates the ticket. When the technician arrives at the clinic, they share a friendly chuckle with the director about the crossed signals before beginning work on the device. Two hours later, a photo of the completed installation appears on the ticket, along with details of every step of the process, including the address slip-up. A day later, the director posts a glowing review online.
Our field service ticketing system is designed to provide a better customer experience, exceed customer expectations, and increase overall customer satisfaction. It encompasses and captures every element of a project’s life cycle from the initial request to job completion — and updates it in real-time. Clients can view it, communicate with our team, download images, and monitor a dashboard displaying constantly updated performance statistics. They don’t need to take precious time to call us for updates because they have direct access to everything we do, including real-time updates from field service technicians.
It’s an impressive piece of technology, but a ticketing system is just a tool. What really makes it successful is an underlying philosophy of radical transparency. We’re not afraid to share real-time information and performance data with the companies we serve because we’re committed to being honest with them. We don’t make promises we know we can’t fulfill, and we don’t have anything to hide. We’ll never promise 100 percent satisfaction or performance because that’s simply unattainable and unrealistic.
Finally, we’re always open to constructive feedback. When clients offer suggestions or point to shortfalls in our system, we immediately go to work to get better. We’re constantly seeking ways to get more information, get it more quickly, and deliver it faster. In our eyes, that isn’t innovative or remarkable. It’s just a matter of common sense and smart business. When prospective clients share stories of frustrations with other field service providers, we don’t slap ourselves on the back for being better. We discuss those experiences and make sure we’re doing everything we can to prevent similar situations — so our clients can run their businesses successfully and be confident their customers have reason to only say good things about them.
Jeff Medley is the CEO and founder of Netfor.