Customer is King: Why the age old rule of customer service should be important to field service organisations

Posted by Rachael Pullen on July 24, 2014

We recently bought a caravan – I know what you’re thinking, I am acutely aware that I have become one of those people. One of the irritating bunch on the motorway, tootling along, angering everyone else on the road by trying to overtake lorries who are going unimaginably slower than we are.  That sad fact aside, I am very pleased with our caravan and the new found freedom it gives us.  I love the great outdoors and – pardon the cliché – “getting back to nature”.  My self-confessed geek of a husband however, and our Disney channel loving daughter, not so much.  They were adamant that the only possible way their caravanning experience would be improved was if we had Sky TV.

So reluctantly I logged on to my laptop to get the Sky customer service telephone number so I could activate their multi-room product.  But after just a couple of clicks I was greeted with their customer service live chat – so with a “what’s the worst that can happen” attitude I typed “hi”.

I have to admit that I was sceptical.  Too often have I had to deal with giant corporate call centres, surfed endless web pages to find one telephone number just to be placed in an endless queue moments later.  But on this occasion I was wrong.  My query was dealt with immediately, the order was placed within a few clicks and I was given a number of free upgrades and extras, without having to leave my laptop screen.  This was far better than calling some soulless call centre, feeling like you are just a number, sitting on hold listening to some recorded voice telling you that you are important to them but in reality no one cares.

Now, the rational part of my brain tells me that I am probably speaking to the very same soulless call centre, just via web chat rather than by phone. But the point is it doesn’t feel like it.  And the emotional response to feeling like an important customer is good.

The service got better; I was given a choice of engineer appointments. Two-hour appointment windows meant I wouldn’t have to sit around for a whole day – and when I had selected the appointment, I was sent a text message confirming the appointment and giving me my engineer’s direct contact details, in case there was a problem.

The appointment day arrived, and the engineer rang me to advise where he was and when I could expect him within that 2hour window.  The little question that made all the difference – “is that time still suitable for you?” – meant I was given options.  I have the option to rearrange, to cancel. No questions, no hassles, no problem.   The engineer – let’s call him “Andrew” – arrived on time, accompanied by a colleague.  They installed the new sky box within minutes, connected me to the internet and bam! – I now have Sky TV in my caravan. Happy husband and happy daughter.

I mentioned to Andrew in passing that my set top box in the living room was being temperamental. “No problem”, he replied, and within minutes I had a new box, free of charge, installed and connected even though it wasn’t part of the original appointment.

Andrew left me his business card with his contact details on, so if there are any problems following the installation,I can contact him directly – cutting out the dreaded call centre, and making me feel like I had received a personal first class service.

The result – I am one very happy customer; I have positive things to say about Andrew, and about Sky as a company.  Am I likely to recommend either to a friend? Absolutely. And that is sales and marketing gold dust, right there – the personal recommendation.  And let’s not forget Andrew the helpful field engineer, he gets great job satisfaction knowing that he has helped me out, and feeling like he has gone the extra mile, killing two birds with one stone to ensure I am happy.  In turn, he gets glowing feedback from me to his employers.

It is no surprise to me that customer-centric customer service is becoming the focal point for most field service organisations, and quite frankly if it isn’t then it should be.  By ensuring the customer is King you ensure that you always have happy customers, and in turn your company will prosper. They will tell people about their experience, they may even turn to social media to shout about how well you did.  It’s an age old golden rule, but one that companies should be abiding by, utilising all the modern technologies at their disposal to engage with their customers at every step. Making them feel like they are number one, making them feel like they are King.

And as for me – I’m off in my caravan this weekend, to get back to nature with WiFi, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, 32” TV and of course that caravanning essential – Sky.

Register for the LeadentLink Conference 2014 to find out how you can treat your customers like Kings.