A service organization’s field technicians are the principal customer contacts post-sale and, as a result, they will be heavily counted on to serve as an unofficial communication link to all areas of the business — both within the organization and to their respective customer bases. They must become accustomed to taking notes and communicating back to the appropriate individuals within the organization as often as practical.
If there is not already an official channel of communications for them to convey internally what they hear from customers, it is important to establish this channel. If the company does have an official channel, techs must be trained and encouraged to use it! However, if it doesn’t, they should be encouraged to form their own personal way of collecting, assimilating and disseminating important pieces of information to the appropriate parties.
For example, if one of their customers is ready to make a purchase but does not know whom within the organization they need to speak to, they should find out who that person is, and pave the way for the two parties to get together. If they are that person, they should find out what the customer wants, provide them with the appropriate information and prepare themselves to initiate a path to the ultimate sale. But if it is the responsibility of someone else within the organization, the tech should make certain that they get the message back to the customer, along with all of the appropriate contact numbers and information, to get the ball rolling. Either way, the company gets the business, and they were instrumental in making it happen!
Similarly, if one of their customers has a complaint or has shown any signs that they are getting fed up with the company’s lack of responsiveness and are considering switching to another vendor, that’s critical information that needs to be communicated to the appropriate personnel in customer service, sales, marketing or another business area.. As far as company management is concerned, saving an account will be just as important as making a sale — and either way, their involvement in the process is likely to be both appreciated and rewarded.
If customers truly believe that their field technicians are serving as their advocates within the organization, they will be better able to differentiate between the message and the messenger whenever a problem occurs.
Of course, communications channels always work both ways. Therefore, there may be times when various departments within your organization would like to get a message out to the customers, and they will oftentimes go directly to the field technicians since they are typically dealing with customers on a day-to-day basis. These may involve situations like making a new product or service announcements, or reminding them that their service contracts are due to expire shortly. The fact is that techs are always in the customers’ direct “line of fire” on either a face-to-face or phone-to phone basis and, as such, they will either be the quickest r the best line of communications to get a message to the appropriate persons.
Getting the Respect They Deserve
Being in this position also serves up some additional benefits for the field technicians, as well. For example, the more a customer relies on them to distribute incoming information or disseminate outgoing messages to the appropriate people, the more they realize the importance of the role their techs play in providing total customer service and support This will do nothing less than to strengthen their existing relationships with customers, and position them better for future cross-selling and upsell opportunities..
If customers truly believe that their field technicians are serving as their advocates within the organization, they will be better able to differentiate between the message and the messenger whenever a problem occurs. For example, they will be less likely to blame the field technician for something that really was not their fault). As such, it will be important for the field technicians to maintain a high level of trust with their customers in order to remain as an effective communicator with them — and the more effective they can be, the more likely their customers will believe they can provide them with all of the components of total customer service and support that they expect.
The key to success with respect to communications within the business is the access to open communications channels that foster a combination of sharing and listening, flowing both horizontally and vertically throughout the entire organization, as well as to and from customers. This means an environment where management shares data and information with employees, and employees share it among themselves. A field technician workforce that is directly involved and able to effectively communicate is much more likely to lead to maximum results, as reflected in improved customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.