Samir Gulati, Chief marketing and product officer, , ServicePower Today’s retail market faces ever-increasing demand from customers and pressure amongst competitors. The National Retail Federation predicted that in 2021, retail sales will grow between 10.5% and 13.5% to more than $4.44 trillion. Therefore, retailers operating in this competitive landscape must innovate to provide exceptional customer experiences beyond the initial commercial sale. Brand loyalty often wavers when the customer interaction is transferred from a retailer to an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for at-home service or repair of a product.

Field service management software (FSM) can help retailers control the entirety of the customer journey and enact smarter business practices so that they can grow their client base as well as their business.

Focus on customer centricity

Customers today have more options than ever before, so it is imperative that retailers own the customer journey with service tools that increase insight and offer end-to-end control of the customer relationship. By 2022, 85% of customer service interactions will start with self-service, making an integrated self-service customer portal invaluable to a retailer’s service technology portfolio. Customer portals allow consumers to engage in the service request and tailor their service experience to their personal preferences with self-select appointment times and the ability to upload pictures and detailed descriptions of their issue. Higher engagement leads to a better customer relationship, as customers can easily check requests statuses, review service and warranty information and track technician arrival timelines on any mobile device, increasing their control over the experience without telephoning a call center.

Additionally, FSM software can dispatch the most qualified technicians for every service request based on availability, skills or location. By ensuring the best technician is assigned each job, retailers can reduce turnaround times and increase first-time fix rate, a common customer complaint. Not to mention, FSM offers the option to review real-time traffic and GPS location data so that managers can optimize route planning and scheduling and customers can track technician arrival times and avoid waiting for long service windows.Field service management technology can be integrated with other customer relationship management(CRM) platforms to organize a customer’s records for easy reference. Comprehensive customer histories, purchase records and work orders are all accessible to help technicians understand each customer and tailor service to their needs. Meanwhile, work order management solutions also offer visibility into manufacturer warranties, device specs and repair guidelines. This extensive customer and product knowledge enables technicians to educate customers, set expectations and provide quotes at the customer’s home or in the retail location, personalizing the experience for each customer and increasing brand loyalty.

Increase service performance and revenue

Delivering exceptional customer service means providing timely service when most convenient for the customer, but also ensuring that technicians are capable of offering the best onsite experience. Field service technicians are brand representatives for a retailer the moment they accept a work order, and leveraging FSM tools can help improve technician workflow for the best possible service and return on each customer investment.

As customers are taking more control of their own service requests through customer portals, retailers can use the opportunity to engage beyond service and pivot to sales. Even when customers are transitioned to a third-party servicer, retailers can use FSM to upsell and cross-sell to increase revenue. These are critical strategies for retailers to build long-term financial viability, which allows them to keep prices low to maintain a competitive advantage, and with customized ads and targeted sales for each customer based on their specific products, retailers can up and cross-sell product enhancements or new models through the technicians who are already onsite or through the customer portal.

Field service software can also track this additional income and further increase retail revenue through actionable data analytics that monitor business performance and promote better decision-making. Track operational key performance indicators (KPIs), enhance forecasting and planning, and collaborate with third parties to optimize an end-to-end customer experience. Data analytics enable organizations to unify reporting and map demand to capacity, and have been shown to increase customer retention by 42% and service profits by 18%.

FSM software allows retailers to utilize uniquely comprehensive customer service technology to leverage their competitive advantage. Delivering on customers’ high expectations of reliability and ease of digital service increases retention and brand loyalty, which will result in an overall higher Net Promoter score for the brand and drive both sales and growth. Field service software helps retailers cultivate an end-to-end customer journey and communicate workflows clearly with OEMs and third-party contractors for an exceptional customer experience.