Steve Zannos, Senior Director of Customer Care at Electrolux, suggests an open channel of communication between corporate leadership is crucial and urges senior execs to join their team in the field more often as well...
Today, there is so much technology that we use to ensure our Field Service Technicians are “connected”. For example, every engineer has a smart phone and quite possibly a tablet or laptop; many of our trucks have GPS tracking and we have apps that assist in finding technical information and portals to help Technicians communicate with our customers.
Yet, I still hear from many Technicians (and some of my corporate counterparts) that they feel disconnected from HQ. How can that be with all the technology we have spent millions of dollars on to implement?
The reality is that Technicians feel very connected with the Field Team, but not so much to the broader organization. That’s a shame, because Technicians are one of the best front-line resources that we have; they don’t just talk to customers directly, they are also physically present in homes and businesses.
It is therefore crucial that we stay connected with our technicians and work with them to get every piece of information about our customers and products. In addition, if our technicians are not engaged, how can they provide the service experience that we expect for our customers?
So, how do we keep our Technicians connected and engaged with our corporate strategies and initiatives? Step one is a solid top down communication plan. As Service Leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure that we have a consistent flow of information through the chain of command with regards to overall company performance, company wins, our group’s performance (KPIs) and any updates on key initiatives/strategies.
Technicians work on our products every day and they have plenty of product ideas and feedback which is exactly what our Quality and Engineering Teams are looking for.
If we have an open channel of communication to our Service Leaders in the Field and they have clear direction to communicate to the Technicians during their weekly/monthly meetings, our Technicians should be in the loop on all the critical communications.
Step two is simple, but I’m amazed how often this does not happen. Corporate Leadership needs to get out in the field and spend face time with the Technicians. This can be as simple as joining a few Technician meetings every year. Also, don’t be shy about hitting the road and going on a Tech ride every now and then. This is a great way to get face time with the Technicians and customers.
One other area that really gets our Technicians engaged is getting them connected with your Quality and Engineering Teams. Technicians work on our products every day and they have plenty of product ideas and feedback which is exactly what our Quality and Engineering Teams are looking for. Particularly when that feedback is coming from someone with a technical background who really understands how the product works.
If you haven’t made that connection and put these two groups together, give it a try. We have Quality and Product Engineers constantly reaching out asking to spend time with our Technicians in meetings and on the road. I can’t tell you how many times these interactions have resulted in a product change that has improved performance or increased serviceability: because it happens almost every time we get these Teams together.
And if you ever want to see a Technician smile from ear to ear, wait until he finds out that one of his ideas has made it into a product.
With all the technology that we use, don’t forget the importance of plain old human interaction. Our technicians work with our customers face-to-face every day and they are looking for the same from you.
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