Field Service - The face of Brand
By Paul Baptist, Director, Solution Engineering, Salesforce
We all want to be super heroes
Field Service? You mean the “wait-around-between- 8am-and-12pm-and-we’ll-turn-up-just-as-you-walk-away-from-the-front-door” service, right?
For some reason, while we are now more demanding as customers, we still tolerate the lack-lustre service we often get from field technicians. Perhaps it is because we feel disempowered — hostages to a broken dishwasher or disconnected broadband service.
Things are changing. In this age of commoditization of goods and services, many customers are showing their displeasure by walking to your competitors.
Is this the fault of the field service technicians? I would say no! They do a good job with increased pressures: higher volumes, insufficient information, administrative paperwork, satisfaction survey targets — the list goes on.
Who doesn’t want to be the person who fixes a washing machine for the parent that has three kids under five and ten loads of laundry waiting? Or the air conditioning for the elderly lady as Melbourne hits another 40+C day? We all want to be super heroes.
This is a good thing. For many businesses, field service personnel are the face of their brand and usually the only face-to-face interaction a customer will ever have. So the experience has to be great and inspire the customer to continue being your customer.
Here is how you can help your people be super heroes (and in turn, perhaps, be one yourself):
There is no such thing as too much information
Here’s the dirty little secret. There is no such thing as “too much information”. The problem is not having the right information at the right time.
Any Good Rewards Program Not Only Needs To Be Measurable But It Has To Be Transparent
We need to give our technicians access to all the information they would need to do their jobs: traffic routes, next best actions, suggested fixes, ability to contact the customer easily, update statuses on jobs, all done within the palm of their hands.
The right tools make the job easier
Yes, you could use a flat-head screwdriver on a Phillips head screw. It would be slow, arduous and there’s a higher risk of stripping the screw. But it could work. The same goes for our field personnel.
Today, modern tools allow technicians to schedule, re-route, check knowledge bases and manuals, change statuses, order parts, schedule the next technician, capture customer sign-off, and much more, while keeping both the customer and their supervisors up-to-date. And they run on the smart phones that your field personnel already own.
No one ever gets a call-out just for a thank you
Your field personnel have a pretty tough role. You never send them on a call out, just to get a thank you. They know that there is a problem and they have to resolve it as quickly as possible.
So what motivates your field personnel? How do you reward them for a good job? How do you measure their key performance indicators (KPIs)?
Any good rewards program not only needs to be measurable but it has to be transparent. Providing the right information and the right tools, you will be able to create measurable KPIs that will help guide your key personnel achieve desired behaviors.
Two brains are better than one
As the old saying goes, ‘two brains are better than one’. The life of a field service technician can be a lonely one. You are usually on your own, in your own vehicle and in a territory that is not close to headquarters.
Many organizations are now creating internal communications teams to build a sense of identity among their field personnel. Creating a community where they can collaborate, communicate, learn from one another, share experiences. Team work encourages creativity and allows for brainstorming around complex problems. It reduces employee churn as they find a sense of belonging.
So I leave you with this thought: the next time one of your customers open their door, will they find a field technician who is harried, late and doesn’t have all the information? Or will they find your brand super hero?