The Ubiquitous Nature of Self-Service
A growing number of organizations are changing their processes to optimize the experience that their customers have when they interact with the company’s products and services. Many organizations have designed their processes to make it easy for the customer to serve themselves. And this new do-it-yourself (DIY) trend is not confined to a specific industry. Consider these common self-serve models:
- Airlines created an app so you as an end-user can do most of the processes completely on your own: book your flight, check in for your flight, check and follow your luggage, see your history, and receive special offers or rewards for completing most of the process yourself.
- The automotive industry created an app that connects to your car, so you can do all simple service activities completely on your own.
- Banks created an app so you can transfer money, open new accounts, buy insurance, change modules within contracts, and even apply for credit cards, mortgages and student loan.
Think about all the other industries in which self-service is commonplace: hospitality, travel, car rental, fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s (where there are order kiosks in the entryway of many restaurants so you can order on a screen and sit down to wait until your order is served), and package-delivery services so you can decide when and where a package is delivered.
What’s Happening is the Opposite of What We Might Expect
You might be tempted to think that if people have to do everything on their own, they’d view the experience in a negative light. But instead of viewing the self-service experience as “bad” or less than perfect, most customers appreciate the ability to serve themselves. While not every self-service experience is perfect, by and large we are all very happy with these DIY processes.
Important Factors for a Positive Self-Service Experience
You are in control at any moment at any location, which takes away some annoying aspects of the old way of doing business. You can check in for your flight without waiting at a desk; pick up your car without waiting in line to sign contracts and get your keys; avoid waiting in line to order at quick-serve restaurants; transfer money without driving to a bank branch location, etc. The self-service process is all about having flexibility to do the process when and where you want it and avoiding annoying activities such as waiting in line or looking for a service representative who can help you.
Is It Possible to Create Self-Service Processes Within Field Service?
What if you had to schedule and/or execute your own multi-function printer’s maintenance and service activities? What if you had to do the maintenance and repair of your coffee machine by yourself, without a technician coming over to help you? Would that make you happy, just like it makes people happy to have self-service at the airport and at the bank? Or would it bother you to have to maintain and repair your own equipment and systems?
Taking it one step further, what activities could a field service organization best outsource to the customer? Planning an appointment? The complete service? Maybe self-service in this industry is a bit more difficult than most consumer-based self-service activities, but it’s not impossible. And, yes, it can give your customer an ideal experience. But before you ask your customers to engage in a self-service process, you need to think about what type of activity you can logically “outsource” to your customers and how you can deliver a “perfect” experience for them.
What About Self-Service to Create a Ticket?
Let’s start with creating a ticket to register a malfunction of an asset. Most field service organizations still have a customer service desk that the customer can call to create a ticket about the failure of an asset and to make an appointment to fix it. But why should a customer call a service desk employee to register the ticket? If customers could have access to a Portal/App which shows them an overview of their equipment and they could register a ticket – even include a photo of the equipment and a description of the malfunction – they wouldn’t have to wait for the customer service desk employee to help them. They could register 24/7 and be notified automatically about the progress of their ticket. Additionally, they could track and follow their ticket at any moment they so choose. And if there is a 24/7 “live-chat” feature available to ask an employee about the status, they’re in control of the entire experience.
What About Self-Service for Scheduling Appointments?
But what if your customer still needs assistance from a technician at their location? Are they dependent on a planner to schedule the appointment? Why wouldn’t you outsource this part of the process, too? Your customer would be happy to be in control the appointment-scheduling process, to ensure that the date and time of the service call works with his or her own schedule.
What About Self-Service to Execute Field Service Activities?
Why should your customers wait for an available technician if they are capable of repairing or performing maintenance themselves? Is this possible? Do customers have the right knowledge and information to execute the activity themselves? It’s relatively difficult to get access to the right information about how to execute maintenance and repair activities. It’s written down somewhere in a manual with some explanatory photos (if customers could find the manual). But what if customers were capable of scanning the object and seeing augmented reality instructions that demonstrate how to perform the work themselves? And if they still need extra support from a subject matter expert (SME), do they need to wait for him or her to arrive at their location, or could they just push a button on their Customer Self-Service App so the SME can see what they’re seeing and support them remotely with video/audio/augmented reality to get things done? We’re not far from the day where customers will never wait for a specialist to perform simple tasks that they can do themselves, if they have the right access/knowledge/information to execute the job on their own.
At Gomocha, we think about these types of scenarios all day, every day. And as we work on designing future-proof solutions to tomorrow’s problems, we are proud to solve today’s problems for hundreds of customers with our innovative FMP360. Call 240-403-6001 or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a demo -- or visit our website to learn more about the power of our flexible, scalable and highly configurable field mobility platform.