For most people and organizations, 2020 goals and objectives have been set. For service leaders, this typically means increasing productivity at a lower cost, upping service revenue and product up-sells, and improving the customer experience. Being able to engage your field service workforce is critical in achieving these goals, as these frontline workers are typically the ones who bear the burden of executing on your goals and objectives.

Here are three ways you can successfully engage your field service workforce.

1. Extend Engagement Programs to Frontline Workers

Gallup estimates that a staggering 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged. In field service, the impact of disengagement can be significant as these employees are actively in front of customers. Engaged employees typically lead to engaged and satisfied customers (the service profit chain).

Organizations must extend their employee engagement programs to their field personnel. “Voice of the Employee” surveys are a good resource to capture employee feedback, but managers, supervisors, mentors, and senior technicians must be empowered to have open discussions with their teams to capture the pulse of frontline employees. Too often, these conversations only focus on performance and miss an opportunity to discuss the technician’s role as a team member and a central part of the company’s vision.

2. Reduce On-Site Effort

Technicians and engineers are now being asked to do more on customer sites. They’re not just responsible for solving the service issue, but they’re also responsible for providing a great customer experience. This requires technicians to have a broader understanding of the customer’s needs and subsequently applying a proactive approach to solving problems and issues. As a result, technicians are also measured on the leads they generate and the experience they deliver to their customers. These are powerful initiatives and can yield significant results, but they can place a heavy burden on the shoulders of field technicians.

Before adding more to the technician’s plate, organizations should work to eliminate non-productive tasks from a technician’s workday. We often find that technicians hold on to their paperwork and administrative tasks until the end of their workday, when they’re supposed to be with their families. An investment in tools to increase family time can go a long way in garnering technician support and buy in. Similarly, technicians might be spending a great deal of effort in chasing after recorded opportunities or subsequent payouts.

Reducing the effort associated with such tasks can lead to improved adoption of lead generation and similar programs. I’ve often advocated for the measurement of a technician effort score (similar to a customer effort score), which formalizes the voice of the employee and enables the creation of a priority list for field service leadership to address. That said, any leadership structure that is focused on listening to their employees should be well aware of changes that can be made that make life easier for its technicians.

Remember: “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

3. Empower Technicians

In engaging with field service technicians and engineers about their day to day work, it’s worth asking the following three questions:

  1. What would the perfect field service visit look like? (a question worth asking your customers)
  2. What do we need to eliminate to support the perfect field service visit? (effort)
  3. What do we need to add to support the perfect field service visit?

The definition of a perfect visit might require more than the organization is able to support at the current state. Yet, there might be low lying opportunities that can be addressed right away, which will not only get the organization closer to its goals but also show the engineers that their feedback is being acted on.

Organizations are always looking to prioritize investments in technology to support field service objectives. Features and tools that can be linked to the elimination of effort will generate frontline buy-in and additional support for future empowerment initiatives focused on customer experience or service revenue. Empowerment typically comes from improved access to information at the technician’s fingertips. This information includes:

  • Customer and service history
  • Installed base information
  • Resolution information
  • Customer value opportunities

Quick access to this information can put the organization’s technicians in a better position to support their customers and ultimately help the organization reach its goals.

Looking for more ways to engage your field service workforce? Read our post: 3 Effective Employee Engagement Ideas.

ABOUT Sumair Dutta

sumair duttaSumair Dutta is the VP of product marketing at ServiceMax. In this role, he helps shape ServiceMax messaging and positioning to support customers and prospects. Previously, Sumair worked closely with leaders of service businesses to define and shape their service vision while working hand in hand with implementation teams to execute on established service plans. Sumair is a thought leader in the field service and service management spaces and has conducted numerous research projects in the areas of field service, customer support and business strategy. He brings more than 15 years of experience in studying, analyzing and guiding field service organizations, first at the Aberdeen Group and most recently as the chief customer officer at The Service Council.