Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Service Management Technology - The Evolution of Customer Service

With the major developments we've witnessed in technology over the last 20 years, is it any wonder that customers are becoming more demanding. Customers are becoming less patient when it comes to customer service; wanting instant satisfaction, instant access to information and a high level of personalisation.
Not only has the economy changed significantly over the last decade, so too have our lives. Gone are the days that customers accept that ordering a new sofa or booking a service on a boiler meant taking a full day off work. As our lifestyles get busier it is no longer convenient for many of us to take time off work to wait in for a service or delivery.
So why are many companies still debating whether they need to invest in service management technologies to survive?
Instant Access to Information
Given the shift from a push to pull culture in the market place the visibility that service management solutions can offer your business is essential in satisfying a customer's need for instant access to information regarding their service or delivery. When a customer calls your offices for an update they expect to be able to get the information they need straight away, they do not expect to be passed from one employee to another and they certainly don't expect to have to wait for a call back whilst the office contacts the driver. It's this proficiency that will encourage a customer to choose one provider over another.
Cost Cutting
If service management technology is implemented to assist with the end-to-end business process the business can cut costs in a number of other ways. Vehicle tracking modules can help by reducing mileage, trimming speeding and promoting better driving behaviour you can have a positive impact on reducing fuel costs. Unauthorised use of company vehicles is minimised and results in further reductions in fuel costs. Benefit from a reduction in penalties for non attendance through better management of resources and SLA's plus you have the ability to protect your employees and the business against inaccurate tickets and speeding fines.
Reduction in Paperwork
When the engineer or driver finishes for the day all records of the customer visits they have completed have been sent directly to the office electronically and in real-time and their hours are recorded via the first depart and last arrival received from the vehicle tracking device. The employee no longer has to manually submit paperwork and they can rest easy in the knowledge that they will be paid for the hours they worked that week.
Eliminating paperwork from your business processes and utilising PDA's for real-time data capture saves you money on stationary, travel to and from the office and administration associated with data entry. Your business removes the requirement for duplication of data entry as the engineer on site can record the issues, action taken, gather customer signatures and photographic evidence which can be sent back to the office immediately and stored on back office systems. Overtime payments are reduced by eliminating unnecessary, time consuming tasks, resulting in productivity increases and greater savings.
Fleet Maintenance
Fleet management solutions that enable businesses to efficiently manage your company servicing and maintenance can also reduce administration costs significantly. By actively managing your fleet and carrying out preventative maintenance you can reduce the volume of critical repairs and balance out mileage across the fleet reducing servicing costs and wear and tear. If you can find a supplier that can offer all of these modules on a single platform the chances are that you will save money on the whole solution too.
In Summary
One of the biggest challenger in today's market is convincing a business to invest money in technology and there is no escaping the fact that the investment is going to need to generate a return in order to cover the costs. Deciding on the right partner will be one of the biggest influencers regarding how soon you will cover your investment. Choosing a technology partner who will work closely with your business ensuring that their solutions are aligned perfectly with your processes throughout the lifetime of the contract will result in a much quicker ROI.

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