I live in Chicago and with winter comes staggering cold temperatures and snow. Lots and lots of snow. I find myself watching the news with a little more focus to help prepare me for the pending conditions. What I realized is, most of this information comes from our beloved field engineers!Last night during the evening news I watched two field engineers make a home heating repair and provided free troubleshooting tips to viewers. The public works field engineers were out in the street repairing a broken water main and shared information on how you can keep your pipes from freezing. And finally, a road side assistance driver offered suggestions on how to get yourself out of slippery situations and offered the city’s snow plow locator website.Why did they interview these folks? Because we trust them. They provide us with information we can actually apply ourselves that we would have historically paid to have someone come to our homes or businesses to fix.

The advice of field engineers has become mental currency. Much like the “In God We Trust” stamped on each dollar, field engineers have established a value of trust that we have come to value without question.

What about when we aren’t in a dire situation? Businesses have taken the advice of field engineers over Sales Reps for years (no offense to our stellar sales team). Customers have a relationship with field engineers. We see them during regular maintenance calls, minor repairs, and major disruption service calls. With each call we associate field engineers as the trusted advisor who returns our business to normal operations.

If customers trust field engineers offering sage advice, how can companies of these field engineers benefit?

  1. Provide your field engineers a space to provide feedback to team members that can track and execute next stages for a customer.
  2. Offer space on your invoice on suggested services or investments to consider for the future (i.e. if a furnace is on year 9 of a 10 year warranty, consider offering a new warranty plan or steps to replace the existing unit). This helps customers plan for major investments in advance.
  3. Offer incentives for field engineers to share their insights with you. Even if the information doesn’t lead to the next big sale, it does lead to information to help the rest of the company (R&D, Marketing, Sales, etc.) have better information to sustain long-term customers.

I’m always happy to save a dollar but if I have to spend it, I appreciate knowing it was spent based on the advice from a trusted field engineer.

Happy New Year!

If you enjoyed this article, check out Gartner’s Magic Quandrant for Field Service Management! View the full report here.

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