5 Reasons Why your Field Service Performance Metrics should include Customer Effort Score
In 2019, before the world had ever heard of COVID-19, a Research Report by Field Service News showed that field service organizations were already transitioning to a more customer-centric model. 65% of FS organizations identified customer satisfaction as either equal to or higher in importance than operational efficiency. This focus on customer satisfaction has led companies to shift their measures of success as well. 91% of companies surveyed stated that NPS or another alternative CSAT KPI was a key field service performance metric for their organization. Even more telling, every single organization that officially adopted a customer-centric business model listed CSAT as the single most crucial of the field service performance metrics they measure.
As a central part of CX metrics, Customer Effort Score (CES) is emerging as a core KPI in field services. CES measures how much effort a customer must exert during an interaction with a company. It is most often measured by asking a customer a single question: rate how much effort was required to get a specific issue or request resolved. To lower their CES, field service organizations adapt their customer-facing processes to ensure every technician-based interaction is as quick and effortless as possible.
Why Customer Effort Score Is an Important Field Service Performance Metric
If your field service organization is not yet measuring CES, here are 5 reasons why you should be:
1. CES is the most predictive KPI for customer loyalty
According to Gartner, organizations should strive to deliver experiences that are low effort because effort is the driver with the strongest tie to customer loyalty. Research has shown that 96% of customers who experience a high-effort interaction become disloyal compared to just 9% who have a low-effort experience. By tracking CES, businesses can make the necessary improvements to enhance the field service customer experience.
However, while deploying a CES survey question is quick and easy, the metric may only provide a short-sighted view of the customer’s feelings following a specific touchpoint. For example, the customer may feel generally positive toward your company but may have had a negative experience with this particular interaction.
A good practice when selecting field service performance metrics is to use CES along with the traditional customer experience ones: customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS). CSAT is a broader metric that takes the temperature of a customer’s sentiment toward your company at a given point in time; NPS is seen as an indicator of long-term loyalty based on the overall relationship with the company. These three customer experience metrics complement each other and can be used together to give an organization the clearest picture of where they stand with their customers.
2. Remote guidance increases customer interactions: make them effortless
With many customers today seeking innovative remote support alternatives in lieu of face-to-face visits, providing “contactless service” has become a goal of many of the world’s leading enterprises. Instead of visiting a customer’s home, a technician can guide the customer from a remote location with the customer acting as the “hands” of the technician.
When these interactions are made effortless for the customer despite their required participation, customers feel positively toward the service. They benefit from on-the-spot resolutions and a feeling of empowerment by taking an active role in the resolution process without much effort exerted to wait for a technician visit. In this way, contactless goes hand in hand with effortless – and is more relevant than ever in today’s New Normal.
3. Technicians are the face of the company: make sure they are well equipped
Field service technicians are the face of the company they represent, as their work makes a lasting impression. Salesforce reports that 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. With the right tools and technology, field technicians can perform their jobs more efficiently, ensuring higher first-time fix rates and spending less time on site, lowering the customer’s effort level. 84% of service decision-makers indicate that they prioritize the improvement or expansion of their field technicians’ capabilities – such as through improved training or technology. Ensuring field techs have all the relevant customer information needed for a service call even before the dispatch and providing them with the mobile apps necessary to get support while on the job drives greater job success and is critical for brand loyalty.
4. Safety is tied with emotional effort: keep the stress down
The pandemic has redefined the notion of effort and has placed safety at the center of the field service customer experience strategy. According to research, effort is two-thirds about how the customer “feels” or how much emotional effort they have to exert, and safety concerns are a big part of that. A new survey exploring consumer attitudes to service delivery during the pandemic found that although most still expect their providers to resolve service and equipment issues as quickly and effectively as before the pandemic, the vast majority (75%) do not want technicians in their homes unless strictly necessary. If a visit is unavoidable, 68% expect the company to make sure the technician visit is as short as possible, and 63% would only allow one technician. This demonstrates that technician visits can potentially be high-effort drivers if they make the customer feel concerned or unsafe.
5. Customer and employee journeys are linked: make them equally easy
Organizations are increasingly recognizing the benefits of a multi-experience (MX) approach to customer service – one that focuses on integrating the employee into the customer journey, creating an effortless experience for both customer and employee alike. When employees are not fully engaged or do not feel empowered in their jobs, their experience can negatively influence the CX. The more information, tools, and technologies available to the employee – and the more effortless it is for the employee to access and utilize that information – the easier it is to connect the employee and the customer to provide highly engaging, powerful, and effortless field service customer experiences.
Customer Effort Score for Field Services
The pandemic has created a new reality where field service organizations adapt their field service performance metrics or re-evaluate their importance to the organization’s success. Measuring customer effort score (CES) is emerging as a central indicator of your company’s success with the CX during a field service call. By measuring CES, you can gauge customer loyalty, ensure your remote guidance sessions are efficient, check that your technicians are well equipped, deliver safe and stress-less visits, and properly link your customer and employee journeys, all to keep your customers’ level of effort to the minimum.