SmartVan’s Field Service Roadshow kicked off stateside last week in Boston as top field service pros discussed trends and issues affecting managers, executives and technicians alike. Productivity and team performance took center stage as the two common themes of the day. The speakers and audience covered a lot of ground, from how technology can drive team productivity to simple tactics that can help managers build higher performing teams.
How Connected Devices Can Improve Productivity
“A key component of customer satisfaction is the ability for the field service technician to solve the problem on their first call. This impacts customer satisfaction and your operational costs and margin structure,” said speaker Tarun Patel, director of customer engagement at Etherios, a technology company specializing in connecting products and end-to-end M2M solutions. Patel cited two common reasons that issues aren’t resolved on the first call: techs either don’t have the right parts to fix the problem or don’t have the information they need to make a proper diagnosis.
What’s the solution? According to a survey by the US Department of Energy, preventative service models — such as connected devices that can alert technicians before a major outage occurs — can reduce maintenance costs for the product by 25 to 30 percent and eliminate breakdowns by almost 75 percent. Says Patel, “There’s no question that machines can be social, and the more we allow them to be social and take action, such as predicting failures for example, the better we can forecast and schedule maintenance activities and lower operating costs.”
What Characterizes a High Performing Team?
Every manager wants to see a team perform at its very best, but getting a team to perform week in and week out is easier said than done. Rosemary Coates, president of Blue Silk Consulting, says, “Field Service is a ‘people’ business above all else. High performance team players have certain characteristics.” What are those characteristics? According to Coates there are six common characteristics that can be found across high performing teams:
- Consistently show high levels of collaboration and trust
- Highly skilled
- Support a positive atmosphere
- Produce superior results
Curious about how to get your team there? According to Coates, it starts with aligning your business goals. “It is a mistake to try to shoehorn service techs into positions based on performance, seniority and personality,” she says. “Instead, to design an effective, high performance organization, set your goals and then organize your staff to achieve those objectives.”