In an increasingly digital world, the number of face-to-face interactions customers have with employees of companies across global industries is decreasing. Customer interactions have become screen-based as businesses take advantage of constantly evolving technology to speed up and improve their customer service.Though convenient and efficient within the workforce management world, modern features like digital scheduling, automated machine service alerts, and pre-recorded appointment reminder calls all result in high stakes: field service technicians are increasingly becoming your customer’s only human touchpoint.
While the standardization of many aspects of a field service operation through digital transformation increases efficiency and FTFR, field service techs have the power to impact customer ratings and subsequent business volume negatively by inadvertently making common (but fixable) mistakes.
Let’s take a closer look at common field technician errors below, as well as what you can do to ensure they’re representing your company well.
4 Common Errors Your Field Techs May Be Making
When thinking about how your field service technicians are representing your field service company, it’s wise to remember the first part of Alexander Pope’s famous quote:“To err is human...”
While you can’t expect 100% perfection, you can and should expect your technicians to follow the same high standard when it comes to servicing each and every customer to the best of their abilities. Here are a few of the most common errors your technicians could be making:
1. Technicians may inadvertently ignore cultural sensitivity.
When one of your technicians heads to an appointment to service a customer’s appliance, he or she must be aware that each customer brings a different set of cultural beliefs and norms to this business interaction.
For example, taking your shoes off when you enter the customer’s house may be more than a sign of cleanliness for some customers.
- In Japanese culture, it’s an honor to be invited into someone’s home
- In addition to avoiding the spread of dirt and dust, taking off your shoes and keeping your socks on is considered a good hygiene practice
- In US culture, one doesn’t have to remove their shoes; however, in Alaska and Hawaii, it’s expected
- In India, one is expected to take off their shoes, or it’s considered a sign of disrespect
As a manager who coaches technicians on how to understand cultural diversity in customer service, it’s key to keep this in mind:
“You’ll never be aware of all the cultural differences. That’s OK. Knowing that there are differences, however, and recognizing the logic from cultures different from yours, will help you as a service professional.”
Take the time to educate your technicians on as many of the basic cultural norms and expectations as you can. Knowing what the customers in your particular area expect during a service appointment, then communicating those expectations to technicians in written and verbal form, will empower technicians with the knowledge they need to be culturally aware and respectful. Doing so will have positive effects on your customer service ratings and on your overall business.
2. Technicians may arrive late to appointments without communicating.
In addition to acting appropriately from a cultural perspective when servicing customers, your field service technicians may be arriving late to appointments without notifying customers. Despite your technicians’ best effort to arrive on time, with traffic, other appointments, and many other variables coming into play, arriving late is naturally going to frustrate the majority of customers who are expecting a field service technician to be punctual.
Whether calling a customer directly on the phone or using field service management software to enable mobile technicians to communicate, it’s crucial that your technicians notify customers ahead of time if they’re going to be running late.
It’s one of those simple, courteous, and respectful actions that can make all the difference in how your field service management company is perceived by your customers. If your technicians respect your customers’ time, first-time customers are more likely to become repeat customers, which drives your bottom line.
3. Technicians may be making extra (and avoidable) trips to the warehouse.
While customers appreciate cultural sensitivity and punctuality, they also expect your field service technicians to come prepared for each service appointment with the right parts to fix the reported issue. If your field service technicians are constantly taking extra trips to the warehouse to grab parts they need, customers will perceive your team to be unprepared and disorganized.
Here’s the good news: you can prevent your customers from forming this negative perception through using asset management software. Instead of appearing clueless about which parts they need and which parts are actually in stock, they’ll be able to get a very detailed view of your parts inventory via a convenient smartphone app. They can then get the parts they need, when they need them, prior to arriving at customer appointments. Inventory management doesn’t have to be complicated thanks to modern day technology.
4. Technicians may have conflicting information about what it will take to fix the issue.
If technicians arrive with the right parts to fix your customers’ reported issues, that’s certainly a great start. But technicians often have conflicting information about how to fix a particular issue. Customers expect field service technicians to be the experts and arrive prepared to resolve the problem in a quick and efficient manner, as this is the service for which they’re paying.
To reduce technician confusion and boost FTFR, consider using mobile workforce management software. Using this type of communication platform with integrations gives technicians instant mobile access to teammates and experts with whom they can brainstorm. They may just find a quick solution to the issue in a matter of minutes, making you and your customers happy.
Empowering technicians with the right communication and collaboration tools will help you build a positive customer experience that will attract and retain clients.
Catch Field Service Technicians Being Great Using Field Service Management Software
While we explored a few of the common (and fixable) errors your field service technicians may be making, it’s important to acknowledge that your field service technicians may also be doing great things for your customers. These great things deserve praise and recognition.
Here are a few things you can do to catch your field service technicians excelling when it comes to customer service:
- Track consistently positive customer ratings per region, per employee
- Use field service software that automatically aggregates this kind of data
- Use these positive examples to propel other teammates toward improved performance
- Notice regions where ratings for your OEM field service team are higher, or products that tend to have higher FTFRs
If you’re able to see what is working well through the smart use of data analytics, you can acknowledge and help bring about more of the same technician behavior across your entire field service organization. You can do this by using strategic workforce management solutions.
To recap: be sure to discuss and address cultural norms with your technicians and tell them exactly how to respect them. Remind technicians to communicate with customers if they’re going to be late. Ensure technicians come prepared with the right parts to fix the issue. And finally, empower your technicians to easily collaborate with other technicians to find solutions to customer issues through the use of modern workforce management software.