Jim Baston, President of BBA Consulting Group, continues his series on “supercharging” revenue generation through the field service team. After explaining the steps to define the service, in this fifth blog he looks at how to ensure the efficient engagement of the field service team.
In my previous blog, we considered the actions necessary to clearly define the service of our technicians making proactive recommendations. Now that we’ve defined the service we’re offering, it’s time to ensure that we have the support structures in place to ensure the efficient engagement of our field service team. There are a number of things to address here, so let’s consider three critical ones, processes, tools and training.
This is one that often gets overlooked, but we ignore it at our peril. Without a clear process, opportunities can fall through the cracks. When opportunities are not followed up in a timely fashion, this can cause embarrassment for the technician and send a clear signal that we’re not that serious about this new service of making recommendations. Some examples:
- How are opportunities captured?
- Who’s responsible for following up with the customer?
- What’s the tech’s involvement once the opportunity is identified?
- By whom and how is the technician kept informed of the status of an inquiry?
- Once a quote is issued, who is responsible for tracking outstanding quotations and inquiring into dormant ones?
What tools can be employed to help the field service team improve their efficiency? For example, what can be done to allow technicians to issue quotes in the field? How can opportunity status be relayed to the technicians so it’s readily available in a timely manner if needed? How can you alert technicians of outstanding opportunities so that they can follow up directly with the customer on their next maintenance visit?
Most techs I know are comfortable engaging the customer in technical conversations, but fewer feel as comfortable talking about commercial issues. A tech that’s not comfortable discussing new opportunities with customers may avoid doing so. It’s important, therefore, that our technicians learn and gain comfort in conducting a conversation with the customer about products and services that will benefit them. A good training program and practice role plays can have a significant impact here.
Product and service training should also be considered. Often technicians have limited knowledge about their company’s capabilities beyond their own areas of expertise. If our techs don’t know about ALL of our products and services how will they identify an opportunity? And even if they have a general understanding of what we do, if they don’t have a conversational knowledge of a product or service they’ll likely avoid the conversation.
What hurdles stand in the way of fully engaging your field service technicians in making proactive recommendations that will help your customers to be better off?
How do your current processes and systems facilitate or detract from the implementation of your strategy to engage the techs in looking for opportunities to help your customers achieve their business goals?
Next time we will consider the interdependencies that we will rely on when making and delivering on our recommendations.
Make a list of all the actions you can take to support your technicians’ efforts in making proactive recommendations that will help your customers to be better off. As you draft this list, think about each action’s impact on the following:
- How does this make the service easier for the technician?
- How does this minimize the amount of time required by the technician?
- How does this help improve the techs’ comfort level in completing this service?
- How does this help keep the technician informed?
- How does this prevent opportunities from falling through the cracks?
- How does this help ensure that every technician provides a comparable level of service?
- Read more about Leadership and Strategy @ www.fieldservicenews.com/leadership-and-strategy
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- Connect with Jim Baston on LinkedIn @ linkedin.com/jimbaston
- Learn more about Jim Baston and BBA Consulting Group @ jimbaston.com
- Connect with Jim Baston directly by email @ firstname.lastname@example.org