Like employers in many industries, field service organizations are searching for talented employees, but they’re struggling to hire qualified candidates. More than half of companies have open positions for which they can’t find capable talent to fill, according to a CareerBuilder study. This skills gap is impacting companies’ bottom line: one in four have experienced revenue losses as a result, and knowledge management is one way the C-suite can combat this challenge.
As the more experienced techs retire, organizations needs to address how to educate the rising workforce. More than half of manufacturing organizations say an aging workforce—and the loss of knowledge and skills that ensues—is a main internal challenge, according to a recent Aberdeen report written by analyst Aly Pinder.
Knowledge management is the key to service efficiency. Increasing employee knowledge starts with granting them universal access to learning resources. To drive top-notch field service strategy, high-performing organizations are increasing the availability of service knowledge which in turn results in faster diagnosis and repairs, Pinder says.
Here are three steps executives should take to further develop their employee knowledge base, according to Pinder:
1. Create Visibility Into Resources
To solve customer issues in a timely, productive manner, managers and executives need to know where parts and techs are located and their status.
“Real-time visibility into service resources allows top performing organizations to efficiently deploy the appropriate team with the right skills and parts to solve customer issues,” writes Pinder. “They may fail to resolve the customer issue because the technician is not equipped to solve a particular problem.”
2. Invest in Learning Technology
To empower techs to resolve customer issues, the C-suite should equip them with mobile tools that provide up-to-date work instructions, recorded training videos and images, a database of parts availability, and information about the customers’ service. Organizations that use technology solutions see increased productivity and customer satisfaction, according to the report.
3. Share Development Progress with Techs
When techs know if they’re developing skills efficiently, they become aware of their strengths and weaknesses and are incentivized to reach for higher goals, Pinder says. Yet, only 50 percent of top-performing organizations provide field techs with personal dashboards of their performance, according to the report.
Bonus tip: Provide social media tools that allow techs to share their knowledge more readily. To improve service efficiency, 54 percent of manufacturers increased the availability of knowledge for field service techs, and one of the strategies they used was social media.
Without access to knowledge and learning resources, techs aren’t able to be productive and efficient on the job and on the road.