6 Steps for Creating the Best In-Home Customer Experience
Most homeowners approach scheduling a service call with the same level of excitement as scheduling a root canal. They worry about late service providers, having to explain their issue to multiple people, and what condition the service provider will leave their home in.
But some home and property brands are turning the service model on its head and providing not just a good, but a great customer experience.
And they’re reaping the benefits. For example, Bain & Company has found that Net Promoter Score leaders grow at more than twice the rate of competitors. Providing an excellent customer experience also reduces the rate of churn, and a 5% increase in retention can increase profits by 25-95%.
What Today’s Customers Want in CX
The “Uber experience” provides a window into what today’s customers want:
- Click on an app
- Order a service
- A nice person shows up in a reasonable amount of time to provide that service
- Pay and leave a review with the click of a button
Customers now expect this experience with everything from pizza delivery to medical services—and, of course, service calls. They expect the process to be streamlined at every point along the way. In terms of in-home CX, this means no explaining their issue at multiple touchpoints, no clunky payment processes, no cleaning up after a messy service provider, and no waiting to leave feedback.
Savvy home and property brands are combining old-fashioned in-home service protocols with the best of modern technology to create this experience for customers. Here’s how they make it happen through the entire process.
In-Home CX Tip #1: Hire—and Train—the Right People
The first step in the best in-home customer experience starts before the service provider ever arrives on site. Having the right technical skillset to fulfill the brand’s main service is critical—but many companies are training new service providers in the soft skills of customer service as well.
One CX standout is Dish TV—which is somewhat surprising since they’re part of an industry that’s not exactly known for stellar customer service.
One key change Dish made was to hire people who had strong customer service skills, instead of focusing on just technical skills. They trained their new service providers in nearly every front-facing department in the company before they were ever sent out in the field.
What are the soft skills your service providers need to provide the best in-home customer experience?
- Greeting the customer with a smile, a handshake, and good eye contact
- Showing that they understand the issue
- Refraining from bad language, or bad-mouthing previous service providers who may have performed repairs in the past
- Explaining the problem and the fix in terms the customer can understand
- Keeping extra shirts in the service van so they always look presentable
- Not walking through a customer’s lawn or garden
- Wearing shoe covers to keep from tracking dirt in the house
- Covering furniture and other surfaces that may be harmed by the repair work
In addition to in-house training, companies that use a third-party workforce can outsource the training and best practices so all service providers represent the brand consistently and reliably.
In-Home CX Tip #2: Save Customers’ Time with Web Portals
Today’s customers want to communicate in the channels they feel most comfortable in, and many prefer self-service over talking with a representative.
That’s why it makes sense to offer a web-based portal where customers can upload relevant information—including photographs—about their service issue ahead of time. Time-starved customers appreciate being able to fill out an online form instead of waiting on hold for the next customer support representative.
In-Home CX Tip #3: Don’t Make the Customer Say It Twice
No one enjoys explaining a problem in detail, only to have to do it all over again with someone else. Once a homeowner has shared information about the issue, field service management apps make it easy for a service provider to review the customer’s comments and history and arrive already equipped with the right tools and parts.
If they get stuck, they can quickly access corporate knowledge databases or other staff members to find answers. The result? A customer who’s thrilled they didn’t need to explain the issue over and over—and a better first-time fix rate, which is a key metric in customer satisfaction.
The homeowner benefits from having an app, too: Once they’ve logged in the details of the issue, they can easily use the app to review or change the information, send additional photos and notes, see how close the service provider is to their home, and more—no inconvenient username and password needed.
In-Home CX Tip #4: Make It Easy for the Customer to Give You Money
After the service provider successfully completes the call—thanks in part to the web portal and field service management app—the next step in the in-home customer experience is to take payment.
Gone are the days when a scribbled piece of paper was an acceptable invoice, or when a customer would happily write a check. Now, homeowners expect to be able to pay with a card right there on-site, and to receive a professional-looking invoice via email. Provide these options, and both the service provider and the customer will look forward to the final step: gathering feedback.
In-Home CX Tip #5: Communicate in the Way Homeowners Want
“No-Show” is a metric that service enterprises tirelessly try to reduce. A “no-show” is when a service provider arrives on location, rings the doorbell, and no one shows. The customer isn’t home and is, therefore, a “no show.” Most of the time no-shows occur because there is little communication between when a job is scheduled and when the service provider arrives because let’s face it, life can easily get in the way.
Modern service enterprises avoid no-shows by utilizing communication tools that allow then to send automatic appointment reminders to customers. This informs them about the job – keeping them in the center of service experience.
In-Home CX Tip #6: Give Homeowners Their Say
Customers are more likely to give feedback when the process doesn’t require a separate online visit—or, worse, having to type in a link or call a number that’s printed on a receipt. When customers are forced to wait until they’re able to get online or on the phone, only the most motivated ones will take action. This means you get reviews only from those customers who are incredibly angry or deliriously happy, which gives you a skewed view of your customer happiness levels.
That’s why it’s key to offer a way for customers to leave reviews instantly. Not only do you get more feedback and better data, but the service provider can use the data gathered from on-site feedback to improve their very next call. You can also aggregate the data< to review trends and look for opportunities to improve over the long term.
Once you have a well-trained staff representing your home and property brand, offer them the best mobile field service support. Reach out for a demo to see how Dispatch enhances your in-home CX with on-my-way tracking, digital invoicing, simple payments, and instant customer reviews.