Now’s the time to plot out annual goals. What should be top of mind for field service managers? Here are six strategic priorities — culled from experts we interviewed around the industry — that should factor into successful planning for 2013.

Develop Your Top Talent

The new year is a common time for employees and employers alike to look around for new opportunities — and field service can be pretty ruthless when it comes to poaching talent. Consider focusing on developing your own talent internally — it’s cheaper and likely more sustainable than gunning for your competitors’ top technicians. Read More.

Train, Train, and Retrain

Reinvesting in employee training programs means more returns in the long run. Think about how best to train your employees. For instance, instead of gathering everyone together at once, start by training your very-best technicians, and have them pass their knowledge along to junior employees. Read More.

Survey Your Customers — Again

Bill Bleuel told us recently that most companies don’t revisit their customer satisfaction surveys even close to often enough. It should be done yearly to ensure you’re asking the most important and relevant questions. Here are some best practices. Read More.

Fast-Track Your Downtime

We all, occasionally, have down time. The trick is using it efficiently. Use slow periods to double down on training or certification programs, push new marketing campaigns, or, as Donna Pratt of AC Systems, Inc. in Walnut Creek, Calif., says, push preventative maintenance programs. Read More.

Freshen Up Your Marketing

Be sure to go over any marketing materials you use regularly in the field — for instance, an HVAC line card (with all the brands you service listed). Make sure that’s up to date for the next year. These things seem small, but can be a real asset in the field. Read More.

Get the Most Out of Employee Reviews

If you slacked on it during the holidays, now’s the time: Conduct your yearly employee reviews. It’s important these not be a waste of time, so think about how to maximize these meetings. Get customer feedback on technicians, have incentives ready, and remember this is the best time for you to learn how to improve your company. Read More.

Click here to download a free whitepaper, “Five Steps to Make Field Service Profitable.”

ABOUT Ian Stewart

Avatar photoIan is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.