The renewable energy industry is already a big field service employer, but growth prospects are promise more jobs on the horizon. Increased demand for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources could mean more field service jobs, especially if companies like General Electric continue to place billion-dollar bets on the sector. Here’s a look at what that growth could mean for techs, as well as some other field service news from around the Web this week:

Renewable Energy Job Prospects

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts, electricity generation from renewable energy will grow from 12 percent in 2012 to 16 percent in 2040. Some renewable energy advocates worry that an abundance of cheap natural gas and federal subsidies that are set to expire could threaten growth — at least in the short term.

Don’t count General Electric among the skeptics. GE, the largest wind turbine supplier in the U.S., recently announced plans to invest $1 billion annually in wind and solar projects. That would mean more demand for technicians to install and repair wind turbines, solar panel sand other renewable power equipment.

Read more at Bloomberg and General Electric Reports

Customer Service Quotables

Great customer service is part of every field service tech’s job, a reality that took center stage at The Service Council’s recent Smarter Services Executive Symposium in Boston. Customer service speaker and author Ron Kaufman offers his top 12 customer service quotes from the event on his blog. Here’s a sample:

“The disconnect between marketing and service delivery must end.”

Ron’s take: “One speaker claimed ‘an intellectually honest forensic analysis of revenue and profitability’ increased the influence of service on the budgets and activities of R&D, engineering, marketing, and sales.”

“Customers are customers only when they buy. All the rest of the time they are people.”

Ron’s take: “This one sums up the conference, and the future we are entering together. We have lives, interests, cares and concerns. And sometime we buy things to make our lives work better. In those moments of transaction we are customers to each other. All the rest of the time we are sharing the miracles and mysteries of life.”

Read more at Up Your Service

Make Room for Mobility

The mobile revolution shows no signs of slowing in field service. That’s not to suggest that service organizations have mobility completely figured out. Hardly. And the confusion goes beyond which mobile devices and applications managers should choose. Sumair Dutta, chief customer officer at The Service Council, identifies four factors that influence how service organizations handle mobile’s growth throughout the entire department:

  • Balance new revenues, lower costs: Service organizations’ top priority is to increase revenue, but many view mobile applications and devices through the prism of increasing productivity or lowering costs, Dutta says.
  • Immediate access to information: Mobility satisfies the organization-wide need, whether by a tech in the field or a manager back in the office, for faster access to information. “Since every resource (person, vehicle, part, equipment) is now a source of data, organizations have a larger network of real-time information available to analyze and deliver to key field service decision makers,” Dutta says.
  • Demand for consumer devices: People largely expect their smartphones, tablets and other devices to deliver information, often automatically. “Why can’t this experience (self-service and context-aware) be replicated in the applications relied upon for field service work?” Dutta asks.
  • Younger workforce: As older technicians retire, a new generation of technicians demand the use of the devices of their choice at work. It’s a change that service organization’s can’t ignore. “These dynamics will have a significant impact on mobile investments as organizations look to use mobile tools to empower and engage their field ambassadors,” Dutta says.

Read more at The Service Council blog

How to Move from Cost Center to Revenue Driver

Field service managers are increasingly under pressure to turn their departments from cost centers to revenue generators. But how? That’s a hot-button discussion topic this week on LinkedIn’s field service management group. Field service pros offered their opinions, ranging from taking college or employer-provided courses to effectively communicating priorities to lower-level personnel.

Have you made the transition to profit center? Join the discussion at LinkedIn.