How to Use Live Chat to Increase Your Field Service Customers

Written by Jeff Cole on September 21, 2017

The industries that offer a field service often deal with clients on their worst possible days. If the water heater breaks, the basement floods, the outlets start sparking, or pest infestations are discovered, these incidents are never enjoyable for anyone and often qualify as emergencies. When something disastrous happens at home or work, the first thing most people do once they get over their initial emotional reaction is to begin searching for a service that can help them immediately. Not in a few days, not in a 5-hour possible arrival time but Right Now.

Dishwasher floods kitchen as woman calls a field service technician for help

This is why a well-built customer service team is absolutely necessary for a field services business to serve new customers when they need help the most, but unfortunately many businesses are stuck in the ‘dark ages’ of phone numbers and require an actual call before a work order can be filed and professionals sent out to help. Now, the best way to be reached by clients in need is a live chat program hooked directly into your website.

Chat and the Modern Consumer

While telephones still definitely have a place in homes and businesses, they are no longer the primary form of communication for the modern consumer. The spread of the internet, smartphones, and tablets have ensured that most people are now much more comfortable chatting online with a professional that actually calling them on the phone. This is especially true for the newest generation to reach adulthood, commonly known as millennials.

It may seem like only yesterday that this instant-messaging generation was texting on flip-phones but in the past few decades they have come of age, earned degrees, and have started buying houses to start families in and when these houses break, they’d much rather live chat with a professional than making a phone call. Even older people who got their first smartphone after the age of 30 have adapted to the chat-rich environment of phones, social media, and ever-present Google infrastructure.

The No-Commitment Contact

Consider a potential customer whose washing machine has recently started flooding instead of washing clothes in its usual fashion. The client has seen suspicious flashes from the control panel and is afraid to mess with the machine lest they hurt themselves or break it further. They go online to look up an appliance repair shop nearby and, lucky you, they find their way to your website which assures them that you are available to fix their washing machine. For most field service businesses, they will then have two options, either to call the number on your landing page and risk an awkward conversation or send an email and risk not being answered.

Each path requires a certain amount of commitment and fortitude to select and complete. However, if a friendly chat box opens itself in one corner with the auto-generated line of ‘How can we help you today?’, all they have to do is type their concerns into the entry box to contact one of your waiting customer service employees, no extra decision-making or hassle necessary.

The Quick Conversion

Live chat conversations with your online experts will often start with questions about how to handle the situation each client may need your help solving. This gives you the opportunity to give them some helpful and informative advice about how they should be responding while at the same time gathering preliminary data should this person, now undeniably a ‘lead’, decide to hire your full services by requesting an on-site repair.

The conversation can then naturally flow from their problem to your ability to solve it. By the time they have assured themselves that hiring a professional is the right idea, they are already in a conversation with a customer support representative and all they have to do is type a request for further help in order to complete their conversion. Their personal chat operator can then collect the necessary information like address and payment method through the same live-chat window without ever having to change communication forms or even leave the client waiting for a response.

Backed Up by Bots

One of the greatest things about modern live chat programs like Path is the ability to back up your human customer service team with intelligent chatbots. These helpful little-computerized programs will monitor your live chat channels and provide simple informative answers to your clients, even if they contact you in the middle of the night or while you’re away from work.

This means ‘someone’ to greet customers when they first type something into the chat box whether or not there is a live customer service rep currently ready to help them. Truly urgent or challenging situations, which the bot can be programmed to identify, will be used as triggers through which the live chat program can send an alert to a human who can then log in and help the client either find the information they are looking for or to send over a field service professional to help them out.

Customer service is vital in the field service industries because these are the hardest moments for your clients to face. Broken homes and appliances create upsetting situations and you want your website, customer service team, and even the helpful local chatbot to be ready to soothe each customer and arrange for ASAP services so they can once again feel safe and happy inside their own homes. If your field services business only takes orders through phone or email, you could be constantly losing potential customers simply by lacking a live chat feature on your website.