Your Field Service Customers’ Biggest Complaints Uncovered


With the growing field service industry becoming increasingly competitive, there’s never a better time to understand what key gripes customers have, providing you with the valuable opportunity to assess whether they reflect the situation in your particular business.

The need to deliver excellent customer service is no longer one of many targets for field service companies, it is increasingly becoming a key focus for many businesses. In a world where your customers have become far more empowered, their satisfaction can have a direct impact on the future success of your business.

Top 5 field service customer complaints

An Aberdeen Group report highlighted the results of the organisation’s research to understand the top reasons why customers were dissatisfied with their field service experience.

1. Engineer did not resolve the issue (lack of parts expertise)

58% of respondents placed this as their number one complaint, highlighting the urgent need to equip field service engineers with the relevant information at their fingertips, whilst out on-site. Without such important knowledge to hand, they are going to spend much time researching the parts required – both online and by time-consuming phone calls; not always coming up with the right solution during the first visit.

2. Long waiting time for appointments

At 51%, this was the second biggest complaint, with some customers saying that it could take up to three weeks to get someone on-site. When a fault occurs, speed is always of the essence as a delay in the fix has consequences for the customer. If it is a business, these will invariably be financial consequences.

3. Engineers not arriving on time

38% mentioned this complaint, putting it into third place. Waiting in for an engineer to arrive is no laughing matter. Time off work might have been taken if a residential customer, whereas a business might be diverting resource from elsewhere to facilitate the visit. Whatever the situation, an untimely appointment will impact negatively on the customer in some way.

4. Improper billing for a service issue

In fourth place and with 33%, customers hate poor clarity when it comes to billing. Hidden costs and service charges will always leave a bad taste and are often mentioned where field service complaints are concerned.

5. Inflexible or inconvenient appointment availability

30% of respondents highlighted this issue, which can always prove to be extremely frustrating. A residential customer might only be available during the evenings or weekends due to work commitments and a business might prefer to arrange a visit when their own operations will be impacted less.

Changing consumer dynamics is an opportunity for growth

It’s clear to see that the balance between the customer and service provider is changing in favour of the customer in so many industries – and this includes field service. Yet with the right strategy, this shift in balance can be developed into a long-lasting and profitable opportunity.

First and foremost, your organisation must develop systems to gather relevant and meaningful insight from customers. What are they prepared to pay for? How would they like to communicate? What matters to them? How do they determine value? Relying solely on a customer service survey after a job is completed might no longer be sufficient. Organisations are starting to have a dialogue with their customers in other ways at a time when the priority is not to fix the fault.

Your field service engineers are clearly visible at the front line and the better trained and equipped they are, the more able they will be to deliver excellent service on behalf of your company. Indeed, to effectively address the top customer complaint, engineers need to be fully able to access parts information and technical knowledge in an instant, wherever they are.

Field service companies of all sizes are embracing this requirement and with good reason that extends beyond delivering great service on the day. Knowledge-rich engineers will spend less time trying to identify the technical knowledge and parts information they need through phone calls to the office or suppliers and using online resources – they’ll have it right there to access on a mobile device. Less time on site means greater productivity, which will have a positive impact on profitability. And the greater customer satisfaction gained from a faster fix will prompt positive word-of-mouth and longer-term loyalty.

Field service of the future

In an industry that is heavily reliant on technology for productivity efficiencies, the leading field service companies of the future will put customer service firmly at the centre of everything that they do and develop systems that will enable them to consistently demonstrate an impressive service level, adding relevant value for the customer. This will require an ongoing commitment to investment where it matters, knowing that the return on investment will be positive for both the customer and the performance of the company overall.