If you order a sandwich at Subway, it’s not a “sandwich-maker” assembling your lunch, it’s a “sandwich artist.” Is your MacBook Air broken? It’s not a “tech support” geek that will fix it, it’s a “genius” (often sporting thick glasses and a beard).
Quite a few companies and industries have created new and different names for employees that work directly with customers — some much better than others — yet field service does not seem to be one of them. At least not on any large scale. Yet.
Comcast calls their field workers technicians, and so does AT&T. Internally many companies refer to this role as a Field Service Engineer (FSE).
So many companies, including Comcast and AT&T offer such a wide variety of services in businesses and homes that maybe they need a better, more descriptive name. As we say time and time again: how you market your services is just as important as how you deliver it.
Comcast technicians, when they’re not sleeping, are often well versed in home entertainment and communications solutions. Maybe if they were called “home entertainment experts,” they would get more questions and requests from customers that could lead to upsells and cross-sells.
“Technician” and “FSE” are associate with a lack of social skills and ability to go beyond fixing things, which, often could not be further from the truth. It’s time field service organizations build their field techs up. Give them a strong name. Invoke feelings of customer care and reliable problem solving. Make the customer confident in the service they are going to receive.
What’s in a name? Maybe extra revenue and happier customers…
So, what do you call your field service engineers and technicians? Why did you choose that name and what benefits have you seen? Tell us in the comments!
I started out as a field service technician. As time went by, and I became more versed in the equipment I serviced, I became a Field Service Technician. As more time went by, and I acquired more manufacturers training and certifications, I was given the lofty title of, Senior Field Service Technician. I eventually, through much hard work and training, became a Master Field Service Technician. I have been in my career for 25 years, and have made the move from field service to management, and back, and prefer field service. I have no problems with having a ‘plain-sounding’ job title, as it often lowers customer expectations, so I am better able to pleasantly surprise my customers with better than expected service.
The old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” is applicable to this discussion. Most technicians really don’t care what their title is, as long as the pay is right, and the work steady. Technicians are a rare breed who rise to the challenge of obstinate equipment, difficult problems to troubleshoot, ever changing customer requirements, and interplay with idiot sales ‘professionals’ who think they are dumber than a box of rocks.
The truth is, it is the service department of any organization, that actually pays the bills, and the guys that work there know it. They don’t care what their title is, as long as the ‘boss’ lets them know they are appreciated, pays them well, and lets them do their job. The only people in field service who have ever been overly concerned with titles, are those who are not well suited to field service work, and are looking to ‘spice up’ their resume with some fancy title. Fortunately, such people do not stay in field service long enough to pollute the talent pool with their ideas. Call a field service technician anything you wish, but, they will still refer to themselves as techs, because they know that is the best thing to be.
Thank you for the comment! Great points from the perspective of a tech. I think that applies to so many jobs: the title doesn’t matter, it’s about feeling appreciated, making an impact and, of course, compensation. Looking externally though, the title does matter a little more. Companies want their customers to know they are getting a certain level of service from someone with the right skills to solve their problems. This is where the importance of the name comes in: to convey the real expertise and skills of the tech and make the customer feel good about the service they are going to receive.