Missed appointments not only lead to frustration on the part of customers and mobile operatives but also add extra costs for FMs as a recent poll Localz carried out with FMJ reveals
An average missed appointment costs between £50 – £100, so to get a better understanding of the impact and gain insight into preventative measures, Localz conducted an exclusive survey with FMJ. Around 100 providers, ranging from in-house FMs to independent consultants shared their experiences with repairs and service appointments.
Facility managers are dealing with a backlog of repairs and service appointments, and to get back to baseline (and, eventually, ahead), completing jobs on time is crucial. Improving first-time fix rates and decreasing no-access appointments is critical.
Despite this almost a quarter of respondents report that 10-25 per cent of their appointments are missed. More than half (56 per cent) of respondents manage more than 10 facilities/properties — and across that many sites, backlogs can add up quickly.
CAUSES OF MISSED APPOINTMENTS
There are numerous reasons why customers are missing appointments but communication gaps are the leading cause.
According to our survey, most missed appointments boil down to customers not being home or not being aware the appointment was happening (31 per cent), and human error (33 per cent). Meanwhile, only nine per cent of missed appointments are the result of operatives not having the right tools.
Of course, many of these factors are avoidable with proper communication. We asked respondents what communication options they offer once customers book a service appointment:
- 42 per cent of customers can receive text reminders about their appointment.
- 32 per cent can get location updates and ETAs for their operative.
- 31 per cent can reschedule appointments online.
- 28 per cent can request appointments online.
Lack of communication between FMs and customers comes with a high impact. Missed appointments are shown to lead to lower customer satisfaction, lower customer lifetime value (CLV), and poor reviews. On the operations side, missed appointments often result in frustrated staff, lower efficiency, and higher turnover.
If those consequences weren’t enough, there’s also profit loss. While nearly half of respondents report that each missed appointment costs them £50 or less, not everyone is so lucky — about 20 per cent say they cost £76-100, and 22 per cent say they cost £100 or more.
Let’s break that down: Even if you serve only 500 appointments per month, if you’re missing even 10 per cent of them, and they cost between £50 and £100 each, you’re spending an additional £2,500 to £5,000 per month. That’s £30,000 to £60,000 per year in losses from missed appointments.
Proactive communication can address many of the root issues of missed appointments. There are a number of ways to better your rapport with customers.
Send reminder texts. Customers tend to pay more attention to texts than emails, and SMS is a simple way to ensure customers are aware of their appointment time and can plan to be home.
Provide location tracking and accurate ETAs. Few people have time to wait around all day for an operative to arrive during a vague four-hour window. In fact, research from Localz shows that 71 per cent of people feel physical and emotional disturbance around scheduled appointments (and seven per cent are even afraid to use the toilet due to the anxiety of waiting!). Offering smaller and more accurate ETA windows along with operative location tracking gives customers the freedom to go about their day.
Lean into automation. Operatives shouldn’t have to send manual location updates. Use geolocation to trigger reminders and ETA updates, or set up texts that send automatically before an appointment.
Use online portals. Customers want flexibility, transparency, and direct communication, so give them the option to request and reschedule appointments online at their convenience. This will decrease no-access rates while improving first-time fix rates.
SIX CUSTOMER PORTAL BENEFITS
Here are six key benefits of using web portals and app-based portals to enable proactive customer communication:
- Self-service opportunities. 81 per cent of customers will look to solve an issue on their own before reaching out to a customer service agent. Additionally, as very few field service call centres are open 24/7, self-service options allow customers to find answers on their own schedule.
- Personalisation opportunities. With a customer portal, all information from previous appointments — such as model numbers, warranties, and date of last service — can be stored in one place and used to curate a personalised customer experience.
- Reduced inbound call volume. When customers can easily find their appointment details and make changes on their own, they’re less likely to get in touch with the call centre.
- Better communication. Customer portals provide opportunities for easy communication between customers and technicians, which makes for a smoother appointment experience.
- Happier customers. A portal that offers visibility, transparency, and personalisation can increase customer satisfaction and help you build brand loyalty.
- Cost savings. While setting up a portal does have some associated costs, the cost savings of fewer calls coming into the call centre, fewer no-access appointments, and improved first-time fix rates can more than compensate.
Fortunately, getting up to speed doesn’t need to be costly or difficult. Offering customers better communication options can reduce no-access appointments, increase first-time fix rates, and result in better customer satisfaction.