Are the service techs in your firm prepared for everything they’ll face out in the field? Unlike a desk job, the work of a field service technician is often physically demanding, and dangers – poorly trained pets, unruly children and the occasional creepy-crawly lying in wait – lurk around every corner. And as the only face the customer ever really sees, they have to do it with a smile. With the advent of devices such as smartphones and tablets, techs in the field are expected to do more that ever before. A job in the field now goes beyond providing your customer with the requested field service. Techs are now tasked with customer relationship management, sales and other duties that were previously delegated to auxiliary office staff.

For field service managers wondering how to prepare their techs to handle this ever-growing list of responsibilities, there are tools out there that help techs multitask and take on these new roles successfully. One example: the Resource Center for Customer Service Professionals have developed courses and materials to teach service techs the skills necessary to acclimate to the changing climate of field service.

Here are some of the key takeaways from one of the classes they offer:

  • Communications essentials: Communication is key in all industries but especially so in field service. From scheduling issues, customer feedback to conveying the problem that needs assessment, talking is a major part of the job. So field service techs can’t be shy. Techs will learn effective face-to-face communication skills, including nonverbal cues such as appearance, body language and presentation.
  • Meeting challenges head on: As previously stated, “challenges” come in every shape and size. Top obstacles include coping with surly customers, delivering bad news and addressing customer objections.
  • Staying organized and working as a team: Field reps rarely work in isolation so interpersonal skills, along with stress- and time-management skills are key.

For $495, techs can receive their certification as a Field Service Professional. Whether or not the cost of the training is worth it or not depends on a close analysis of your techs’ strengths and weaknesses. Are your techs proficient at the core aspects of their job but aren’t really that great with people? Does management have to put out fires related to customer disputes all too often? Have requests for techs to upsell customers been met with mixed results? We don’t know if these training courses offered by the Resource Center for Customer Service Professionals hold all the answers, but as techs’ duties change, it stands to reason their training should, too.

ABOUT Sara Suddes

San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.