Customers’ reliance on the services your field technicians provide

Mar 15, 2016 • FeaturesManagementBill PollockUncategorizedCustomer Satisfaction and Expectations

Field service engineers are the unsung heroes that keep our world moving writes Bill Pollock, Strategies for GrowthSM...

In most cases, the customer relies heavily on its business systems and equipment and, in turn, your customer contact will rely heavily on your field technicians – personally – to make sure that the equipment is always up-and-running as expected.

In fact, you can safely assume that the customer is not nearly as interested in the technical nature of the equipment as it is in the solution it provides for his or her tasks-at-hand – that is, namely, performing the tasks, functions and operations that it is relied upon to keep the business up-and-running – with as little downtime as possible, and with no disruption to ongoing business processes.

As such, it is important to recognise that, in the customer’s mind, if the equipment is not working optimally – regardless of the technology that may have been built into it – it is “worthless”.

There is just so much that the customer itself will either be inclined – or permitted – to do in order to get the equipment back in working order following a failure. In most cases, the field technician will be the sole entity that the customer will be able to count on to make that happen – and this should deservedly carry along with it a great deal of responsibility and accountability. Just to put things in perspective, think of the case where a customer uses an ATM machine to withdraw cash – virtually anywhere, or anytime of day.

Customers will typically not care whether the reason their copy machine went down was due to a hardware or software failure, a paper jam, or anything else – or whether the cause was the machine’s fault, their fault, or nobody’s fault in particular

When the machine is down, they generally do not care whether it is due to a hardware failure, a software glitch, a network problem, or simply that it’s out of cash or paper tape for the receipt. All they know is that they needed cash, and the machine couldn’t deliver. Regardless of the specific reason, there was a failure, and the failure was duly noted in their minds. The same situation also occurs in the office environment, where the customer is also a “consumer” of your company’s products and services.


Customers will typically not care whether the reason their copy machine went down was due to a hardware or software failure, a paper jam, or anything else – or whether the cause was the machine’s fault, their fault, or nobody’s fault in particular. Again, all they know is that they needed to make a copy, and the machine didn’t work. That’s where the services provider comes into the picture.

And, based on how your field technicians enter the frame, you can either be perceived as a “knight in shining armour” – or as a part of the problem – depending on how you have been able to position yourself in the minds of your customers throughout the course of your relationship – i.e., Customer Relationship Management, or  CRM.

For example, if you have continually shown your customers that they can depend on your technicians to support both them and their equipment – and that you always have their best interests in mind – then, you will have established a type of bond that suggests that you are working as their “partner” to keep their systems up and running.

Remember, in the customer’s mind, it is generally the totality of the value that the equipment provides that is most important – not just the technology, nor the reliability of the equipment, nor the service level agreement that provides ongoing support coverage.

However, if you have consistently given them the impression that you do not have their best interests in mind – because your technicians have been repeatedly arriving late at their site, at the last minute, or that they always have a “lame” excuse for why the equipment failed again – then you will have positioned yourself outside of any real partner relationship, and have staked out, instead, a position on the “them” side of the “us vs. them” equation.


Remember, in the customer’s mind, it is generally the totality of the value that the equipment provides that is most important – not just the technology, nor the reliability of the equipment, nor the service level agreement that provides ongoing support coverage.

Customers continually look at any and all aspects relating to the systems and equipment they use, and their respective applications and functionality.

And your organisation’s field technicians typically represent the only “real” physical manifestations of the service and support that keeps it up and running.

Customers may rely heavily on their systems and equipment to support their day-to-day business operations – but they rely on you even more to ensure that the equipment can continually do what it is supposed to do.



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