In a previous post on Omni-Channel service, I mentioned that customer service and satisfaction is becoming an increasingly important point of focus. Outside of the regular contact channels for customer service, field service technicians are perhaps the most important touch-point between company and customer.

Field service technicians are more than just the hands that do the work; they are the face that the customer sees. It’s safe to say that a large part of customer satisfaction lies in the hands of the technician.

So what can field service technicians do to improve customer satisfaction? Here are three simple ways where many technicians fall short.

Be prepared and do the job right

Being prepared for the job includes having the right information. Previous service history, parts and repair knowledge, and predictive maintenance data are just a few things that can help. The solution might be creating an effective schedule to match the technician who is best suited for the work order.

Getting the job done right on the first visit saves time and resources. The faster and more effective the service is delivered, the happier the customer will be.

While faster service helps, it is not worth sacrificing the quality of work for faster completion times. Focus on preventing future service issues that would require a return visit. It might increase the time a technician spends on site, but it also increases customer satisfaction when they don’t have to deal with downtime and frustration from reoccurring issues.

Make it easy for the customer

Harvard Business Review wrote that a large part of customer satisfaction and building loyalty comes from reducing the effort the customer must do to get the problem solved. One way to reduce the effort a customer deals with is by using IoT remote sensors to provide proactive service before a problem occurs.

It’s also important to be able to provide the customer with information. Look at auto repair and service stations. Even if you are just getting an oil change or regular servicing, it’s common practice at many of these stations to do a quick vehicle inspection. The inspection allows the customer to know the condition of various components in the vehicle and any issues they might not be aware of. It also creates an opportunity for the auto shop to do additional maintenance work on the vehicle.

The same applies to field services. A field service technician should inform the customer of the current state of equipment and any work that was done. Complementing that information with recommendations or advice helps to communicate product knowledge and competence.

Field service technicians and soft skills

Saying that soft skills can help improve customer satisfaction seems like common sense as customer service has been a focus for many industries. But for field services and other industries that are more technical in nature, soft skills are generally ignored or put on the back burner.

Many field service technicians could make better use of their soft skills when interacting with customers. Apologizing for any problem with parts and empathizing with the needs of the customer are two simple ways. A proper introduction when meeting the customer and a “thank you for doing business with us” can both go a long way.

The simple fact is that any professional who interacts with a customer should have at least basic soft skills. And since field service technicians are representing the company, it is important they make a good impression. The words, actions, and appearance of field service technicians can make all the difference in how customers see your company.