Top Tips for Field Service Management

Technology has brought various innovations to field service management, but at the core of it, the management best practices developed by Peter Drucker in the 1970s still remain. The guru of all management gurus laid out the following principles:

  • Define the mission
  • Set the vision
  • State the goals
  • Empower
  • Communicate
  • Use metrics carefully
  • Treat employees as a valued resource

In this article, we will offer 3 tips for field service management to navigate “Communicate” in the world of endless field service technologies.

1. Use Technology That Simplifies Communication

Staying in touch with your engineers while they are on the job is crucial, which means choosing a platform that eases communication rather than complicating it is a must.

The pitfall of many enterprise-grade communication solutions is that the technology is difficult to use, resulting in low adoption rates. This translates to disconnected employees who feel they aren’t supported by their organization and eventually end up leaving.

The antidote to this is getting your team on an enterprise app that feels just like the consumer messaging apps your techs are used to. Another factor you’ll want to consider is having every mode of communication accessible in one place. If the way you communicate now requires you to bounce between different apps for messaging, calling, video calling, document sharing, etc., it’s time to find another solution.

With an all-in-one communication platform, you can dramatically cut down on wasted time and field tech frustration. It is estimated that businesses lose an average of $11,000 per employee per year due to inefficient communication. With the simplicity of having all work communications in one place, on whichever device is handy, you can expect to see your field service technicians’ performance skyrocket.

Kyle Christensen, the communications manager at Vivint Smart Homes saw this happen across his workforce after enlisting the help of Zinc. By using Zinc to connect field service teams in real-time, Vivint saw a 50 percent improvement in employee engagement and an impressive 37 percent reduction in time to service.

Essentially, making communication easy to do arms your workforce with the information they need and lets everyone focus on getting the job done well.

2. Make Communication Consistent

As we touched on above, field techs need to be kept in the loop to perform their best. So this tip is pretty simple — communicate often.

Field service management should regularly check in with field workers to ensure they have everything they need. Not only will you build relationships with your team, but you will also find areas for improvement that could have been hidden from your viewpoint. Plus, when employees feel valued and heard it results in higher productivity, which boosts the company’s financial performance.

Top-down Broadcasts or mobile group messaging opens up those vital two-way lines of communication and ensures your team receives your updates in real-time.

3. Create a Culture That Values Diversity

The best teams are made up of people who see the world differently from each other but can work together in a constructive manner.

Solving problems and reacting quickly to situations is an important skill for field service teams. By communicating a team culture that values a diversity of ideas, thought processes and professional backgrounds, you can develop a deeply connected and high-performing team.

This means understanding the differences between right and left brain thinks for example, and empowering techs to play to their strengths. Give them the ability to reach a solution through their own methods, rather than forcing an identical line of thinking on everyone.

With a culture that openly values the diversity of each technician’s backgrounds and cognitive preferences, understanding and respect triumph over angry clashes of opinion.  

Final Thoughts

Strong communication across your team (and the entire field service organization) leads to more informed, engaged, and ultimately higher performing employees.

By giving all your techs an easy way to communicate, keeping them in-the-know, and valuing their differences, you are sure to see some impressive results.

ABOUT Kristen Wells

Kristen is the senior manager of corporate communications at PTC and editor of Field Service Digital. She is passionate about elevating the stories of women in field service and improving communication between the field and the office. Prior to ServiceMax, Kristen held content marketing roles at startups such as Zinc and cielo24. Kristen holds a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis on Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara.