It’s well documented that happier and more engaged employees significantly boost customer experience. While plenty of workforce experts are armed with advice on management style, culture, and incentivization as a way to boost engagement, our customers and partners in the service industry also look at another factor — workforce experience.
In the service industry, much of what drives customer satisfaction is directly related to the experience of the field service engineer on the job.
And right now, the average tenure of the workforce in the service industry is declining due to all the reasons that service leaders lament daily, including retiring Baby Boomers, higher turnover for younger workers, and a changing job market.
It’s important to improve the collective knowledge of the entire workforce. Once you’ve bridged the knowledge gap, then it’s easier to improve service delivery. Here’s why:
Experience and Training Builds Confident Employees
If your employee isn’t sure how to make the correct fix or spends the bulk of their time on the job swapping out parts until the issue is resolved, they won’t be able to move forward and develop customer relationships. It’s also been shown that those with lower confidence levels project lower confidence to others around them.
Ensuring field technicians are trained, mentored, and given tools to help them do their job right the first time, builds a positive reinforcement loop. Providing up-to-date technology also further engages Millennials and Gen Z who are motivated to master technology, seeing it as a career advancement step. And once they’ve mastered it themselves, they’re more likely to share tips and hacks with colleagues, creating an informal learning environment that increases confidence and workforce proficiency.
Studies have also shown that confident employees boost the bottom line. Employees that show greater confidence levels, on average, have 22% higher sales.
At a time when service models are moving away from break/fix work and towards proactive plans that rely on consistent service, and require some upselling on the part of service technicians, confidence and experience is key.
The Power of Tribal Knowledge - Equal Access to Knowledge is Key
Your most experienced employees have the most institutional knowledge, but they are also retiring in droves. There are ways to quickly upskill less tenured employees by using the deep expertise that has historically been locked in the minds of your best veterans. This is how to share tribal knowledge.
AI technology captures siloed tribal knowledge, makes that knowledge accessible across your workforce, and empowers junior employees with the wisdom of your experts. It’s also a way to effectively listen to the advice from your most tenured employees and work with them to put their wisdom into practice — showing them how their skills directly result in better customer experience.
How can you transfer workforce knowledge quickly? AI combined with natural language processing does the work of years of in-the-field training. It takes historical data (including technician notes and other free text) and tribal knowledge, and turns that into prescriptive and actionable insights, accessible to everyone including customer service agents and field technicians on the job.
Customer Success: How Becton Dickinson Accelerated Knowledge Transfer - They leveraged AI to boost employee morale and NPS scores.
While service teams across the nation need to consistently hone their technical skills, technicians at BD (Becton Dickinson) need to be even more in step with machinery. The group services two main types of medical instruments: research instruments that are often specially designed for each client, meaning many are unique and clinical instruments that fall under strict FDA regulation.
A few years ago morale was low, employee attrition hovered around 26% and the service teams were consistently failing to meet SLAs. This also caused rising expenses, falling revenues, and record low customer satisfaction, with a net promoter score around 40%
Nearly half of the BD service workforce had less than 3 years of tenure. More experienced service engineers had an overloaded schedule and didn’t have time to train or coach newer employees.
Steve Chamberland, Director, US Service Operations at Becton Dickinson explained in a webinar that the team took drastic measures to improve performance by focusing on employee experience and training. He notes that the company adopted the following outlook to guide a transformation, “Employee experience leads to improved customer experience and that led to improvements in financial performance, which drove profitability.”
BD invested in a range of technology solutions, including Aquant, and implemented an internal technology panel that consisted of gathering feedback from seasoned field service engineers. The goal was to boost morale while simultaneously enacting a service transformation based on their internal expert advice combined with the aid of tech tools.
When it came to specifically using Aquant to aid in service, even with specialized machines and terminology, the Aquant NLP engine learned the service language unique to BD. And then turned to the input of experts to help further train the system to ensure the suggested solutions are the most accurate.
Employee service and morale improved significantly after they had access to tools that helped them do their job more accurately. They also felt more empowered to make good service decisions.
- Employee attrition dropped from 26% to 1%
- SLA commitments shot up to 99%
- Net promoter score now averages 80%