No man is an island, so don’t leave your field service technicians isolated if you want to ensure you keep delivering field service excellence writes Aly Pinder...
The nature of the field service team is an oxymoron. Field service workers often work independently in remote areas with minimal contact with the “home” office or other technicians during their day.
Often times, the only contact the technician has with others is with dispatch to schedule the next call.
Technicians often are no more of a team than your salesforce. Both are independent workers who must deliver on a combined effort. This type of structure will begin to show its cracks field service as we all prepare for the aging and retiring field workforce.
As technicians leave the business, their individual knowledge, expertise, and customer relationships will fade away.
Can your organisation afford to lose this wealth of knowledge capital?
So what can you do about this? A three-legged stool approach is needed.
First off, you need to do everything you can to keep your good and great technicians on your team for as long as possible. So whether you incentivise them to stick around longer in the field or provide them the flexibility to become remote support experts – keeping your expert technicians as long as you can should be your #1 goal.
[quote float="left"]Mentorship programs will continue to play a bigger role in service as we all prepare for the wave of millennials coming into the workforce over the coming years...[/quote] Secondly, you need to ensure you capture all of that great knowledge from your experts prior to their impending departure. Invest in the tools and technologies necessary to capture, store, and disseminate best practices from the field team to others in real-time.
And finally, you need to build a bridge between your expert workers and the next wave of technicians.
As seen in Aberdeen Group’s recent Field Service 2016: Strengthen the Team, Bond with Your Customers report (June 2016), the Best-in-Class were able to achieve these three goals by implementing a few best practices listed below:
Measure your field technician’s engagement frequently. Knowing what drives your technicians is integral to ensuring you can keep them around for the long haul. The wrong incentives lead to the wrong behaviours or worse yet a premature exit from the team.
Engagement was historically something for HR teams to measure office workers or for the marketing team to gather from customers. But more and more Best-in-Class service organisations are beginning to monitor and measure their field service team’s engagement AND acting on what they gather. If you don’t know there is a problem, you won’t be able to address it.
Establish mentors and coaches to pass along knowledge. Top performing service organisations identify top field technicians and ensure they can help mold the next crop of workers. Under performing organisations don’t even know who their top technicians are and thus don’t know they should both keep those employees and give them ways to help the entire team learn how to excel at service.
Mentorship programs will continue to play a bigger role in service as we all prepare for the wave of millennials coming into the workforce over the coming years (NOTE – the millennial wave has already begun).[/unordered_list]
Create a culture of continuous improvement
And as old dogs leave the business, it is even more integral that a culture of continuous improvement pervade to ensure your field team delivers more and more value to customers during every interaction.
The field team does not have to be built on individuals who work alone.
Connecting the team to knowledge, best practices, and continued learning is integral in 2016. Don’t leave your field workers on an island by themselves, a team is needed to excel at delivering service value to customers.