Alastair Clifford-Jones reviews the domestic appliance market customer experience, and how field service businesses can capitalise on current customer service failures.
Last week I took to Trust Pilot to write a review about the poor customer service provided by a domestic appliance company I’ve recently had to deal with.
I was angry. From my first contact with the call centre, I was cancelled on, rearranged and, when my engineer did arrive, he was unaware as to the reason for his visit – simply that someone had requested one! The one consoling factor was that the engineer was more frustrated than me. He hated his job, he hated the call centre staff, butmost of all, he hated the management who never listened. Suddenly, my repair had become a counselling session.
Looking on Trust Pilot, I was amazed. Far from being unique, my experience was minor compared to most. How can an industry get things so wrong? There are minimum levels of service that customers expect, and the domestic appliance market is falling short.
Trust Pilot reviewers rate the majority of domestic appliance companies from a measly 0.9 out of ten to 3.2. Am I then right in thinking that these companies have given up on service, and differentiate on product features alone? If that is the case then there is surely a gap in the market for a company to truly make a difference by getting the customer experience right. Having worked in the utilities industry for many years, I know first-hand issues like mine can be easily solved.
Providing a good customer experience isn’t hard, and from a cost perspective is much cheaper than providing bad service. To get this right it is imperitive that organisations review the end to end experience. If the initial contact is poor, this will set a level of expectation for the rest of the process. Customers now expect accurate and timely information, whether that’s an arrival time or a delay notification. At the end of the day it’s all about informing the customer and managing their expectations effectively. In today’s technological world this isn’t difficult.
Now that customers expect a minimum level of service and reliability from businesses, it is no longer a tool in their sales kit. For example, car manufacturers used to thrive on the ability to sell how reliable their cars were, but as this is now a given they must sell on functionality alone. The domestic appliance market must follow suit.
Field service is integral to the success of a domestic appliance brand, but its current failures are destroying brand value of the majority. The sooner a new player enters the industry and recognises this, the sooner they can capitalise on it and have the lions share of the market – not to mention the best field service operations in the industry!