The customer service provided by field service technicians is critical to the success of any field service operation. While technical skills are important and naturally a focus in hiring and training the workforce, technician customer service soft skills are vital for problem resolution and customer retention. By providing clear expectations, guidance, and training, the field service operation can help technicians to elevate their customer service skills.
More and more, the expectation is that all members of a field service organization— including field technicians — are integrated parts of the customer experience. Delighting customers is just as important as having solid technical skills because happy customers are returning customers who offer referrals and positive reviews on social media. Dissatisfied customers seek out competitors.
Good customer service also helps with a technician’s direct interaction and ability to complete service jobs. When in challenging situations, positive interactions with customers will help to get to a resolution faster and with ease.
Premier technician customer service should always be a part of company culture and training. For field operations, it is a set of skills that can continuously be improved. Just as there is continuing education for technical skills, field service organizations should ensure that high-quality training is available for technicians to improve key customer service skills.
Fundamentals of Customer Service for Technicians
Customer service can be looked at in a variety of ways. Largely, it comes down to empathizing with what a customer is experiencing. A program should emphasize three points: Be on time and ready, be engaged, and communicate. The key to success is to identify how to improve and how to track that improvement.
Be On Time And Ready
Customers dealing with broken equipment or new installations are already facing disruption. If the technician is clear about scheduling and arrives on time, customers can plan around the service call with confidence. And if the field service technician takes less time performing the work, the happier customers will be.
Field service organizations should already be tracking on-time percentage and first-time fix rate. Often thought of as measures of productivity, these metrics also correlate closely to the customer experience. If the technician has all the parts they need and arrive at the appointment on time, it alleviates stress for the customer. Schedule optimization is a way that the organization can support technicians in their efforts to be on time and ready.
When a technician arrives, the first thought on their minds should not be about their equipment. They should be thinking about the customer. By engaging with the customer first and making sure that their needs are clearly understood, the technician can streamline their own work while also demonstrating that the company is responsive to them as people. That will make the tasks go more smoothly and strengthen the ongoing relationship with the customer for the entire operation.
Communication is a key part of all engagement, but it also needs to be called out on its own because it is so critical and far-reaching. Customers thrive on clear, complete, and empathetic communication. It should be a part of every site, every visit, every day. These days, communication takes place on the phone, in written messages like texts and emails, customer portal messaging, and face to face. Field service technicians need to leverage good customer service practices across all these channels, providing enough information to allow the customer to share in important decisions.
Technician Customer Service Needs Organizational Support
It is not enough for an organization to just tell technicians to be good at customer service. The company needs to show its own commitment through training and guidance. A one-time seminar won’t cut it. Customer service is not a switch to throw, it is a dial to turn. Everyone can improve.
Today’s successful organizations promote a culture of customer service. Different companies approach this in different ways, but generally, it means that there are ongoing touchpoints and commitments. These organizations often emphasize what is right rather than focusing on what is going wrong. Along with asking for the employees to improve, they provide resources, support, and encouragement, even for their third-party contracted technicians.
Training, Mentoring, and Peer Groups
Training, mentoring, and peer groups grow the culture of customer service and allow field service workers to revisit the issues together. Existing customer service superstars can also help to communicate what customer service means and provide actionable insights to the rest of the team so that they can improve.
Tracking Customer Service Success
Metrics and surveys such as the well-known Net Promoter Score can help demonstrate the effects of technician customer service initiatives and focus on what needs to be improved. Again, focusing on improvement and replicating success creates a better outcome and process than homing in on failures and problems.
Ongoing Effort Equals Great Technician Customer Service
There is a model for customer service initiatives that field service organizations already use; most organizations have a safety program with regular meetings, bulletins, and surveys. This has made for fewer accidents and injuries over time. However, one presentation on safety does not immediately stop all accidents; the whole organization has to keep working on it. The approach to customer service needs to be the same. All levels of the organization need to show ongoing commitment and energy to customer service.
A field service organization’s success is not just in fixing things. Customer service needs to be emphasized; being ready, staying engaged, communicating, and committing to ongoing improvement.
While tracking time to close, first-time fixes, on-time percentage, and productivity show a lot about the workforce, customer service is a key – and growing – part of field service jobs.
The right tools help organizations and field service technicians to be successful, and when it comes to customer service, ServicePower enables you and your team to fulfill the customer service promise.