It’s no secret that third-party contractors have become a crucial part of modern field service management companies’ success--with no signs of slowing. According to Field Service News, “independent contractors are likely to continue to expand their presence,'' as each contracted technician brings specialized expertise upon which field service companies rely.
As active participants in the new “gig economy,” highly sought-after third-party technicians enjoy the flexibility of selecting which jobs they take. They come to the rescue of busy field service managers, while also deciding when they work and how often.
While contractors certainly benefit from this modern labor model, field service companies like yours also benefit from this ever-growing gig economy. Hiring expert contractors on an as-needed basis is an effective way to supplement the work full-time employees can perform when faced with increasing customer demands, specifically in niche areas.
To handle these increasing customer demands, field service managers must effectively manage their workforce. You need to ensure all your technicians, whether they’re full-time employees or paid-per-job contractors, perform at the highest level to meet and exceed customer expectations. But when you have significantly less interaction with contractors than you do full-time employees, how do you empower your contractors to deliver peak performance?
Learn how and why using business goals is an effective way to boost your third-party contractors’ customer service ratings.
The Psychology Behind Setting Goals
Before we jump into how you can set contractor goals that when achieved, boost your customer service ratings, let’s take a look at the psychology behind goal-setting to understand why it works.
Formal psychology research sheds light on the positive impact that goal setting can have on people, whether they’re full-time or contracted employees in a company:
- Psychology Today notes: a 2015 study by psychologist Gail Matthews showed when people wrote down their goals, they were 33% more successful in achieving them than those who formulated outcomes in their heads.
- “Participation in goal setting encourages a search for new strategies to aid success. Finding novel ways to utilize our skills and push our abilities increases task-relevant knowledge while enhancing self-efficacy and self-confidence.”
- When examining the science of setting goals, researchers found that “setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that the desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.”
Based on the above mentioned findings, as well as a large body of growing data, it’s clear that goal-setting is effective. Specifically when applied to the metrics-oriented business world, goal setting is a key determinant in not only an individual’s success, but also an organization’s success.
Learn more about why it’s important to leverage KPIs in your field service management.
Action for field service management leaders: take the time to set specific, actionable goals with your field service contractors. By formally documenting these goals and supporting them on their quest to achieve them, you’re increasing the likelihood they’ll achieve them. As your contractors achieve those identified and clearly-documented goals, your customers will benefit from improved, higher quality service--and that’s when customer service ratings will begin to skyrocket.
Follow these Steps to Set Defined Contractor Business Goals
As the lifeblood of the modern service industry, contractors know they’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to their careers; however, when it comes to goal-setting, you as a field service management professional, need to take the wheel.
Step 1: Share your company values, your business model, and your goals with your contractors.
When onboarding your contracted field service technicians, make sure they understand the philosophy and vision of your company:
- What is your company’s mission statement?
- What company values and agreements do you and your technicians uphold?
- What is your business model and how does your company operate?
- What are your 30-60-90 goals?
- What do you expect from contractors? (Be thorough!)
By sharing what your company is all about and inviting your contractors to become a part of it, they are more likely to be invested in making a positive contribution during each service call. By discussing the goals your company is collectively trying to achieve and the areas you’re trying to improve, you’ll set the stage for a productive individual goal-setting session with your new contractor.
Action for field service management leaders: take a look at the onboarding process you currently use for your third-party contractors. Is it thorough and specific? Take the time to create a fresh, honest, and authentic welcome packet that contractors can easily access and read. Send it to them electronically and if possible, walk through it in-person. Empower your contractors to develop a better understanding of your company’s values, vision, and day-to-day operations so they can quickly and effectively solve your customers’ problems.
Step 2: Schedule a goal-setting session with each contractor and document what you discuss.
After you’ve onboarded your contractors with a warm welcome, it’s time to get specific about what you expect from them and what they expect from themselves. When it comes to goal-setting with contractors, it’s all about the measurable KPIs.
To kickstart the goals conversation, ask your contractors the following questions and document the answers:
- What are your career goals for the next 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, five years?
- How do you handle demanding customers?
- What would a significant accomplishment look like to you?
- What is your average customer service rating per job?
- How many work orders do you aim to close per day/per week?
- What is your target MTTR (mean time to repair)?
- Are you satisfied with your average FTFR (first time fix rate)?
- Which field service management metrics are you looking to improve?
- How can I support you?
By asking these questions and documenting the answers using field service software, you’ll learn what makes your contractor tick, where he or she wants to go professionally, and how you can support him or her along the way. The result? Happier, more productive contractors, and higher customer service ratings.
Action for field service management leaders: set up recurring in-person meetings or phone calls with your contractors to discuss progress toward their goals and offer support where needed. By scheduling 15 to 30 minutes with your contractors on a semi-regular basis, you’re demonstrating your commitment to empowering them to achieve their goals.
Invest in the Best Field Service Software to Measure Contractor Goal Attainment
After successfully onboarding your contractors and setting measurable, specific goals they can work toward, you need to be able to measure the outcome of these goals. In 2019, the age of efficiency and automation, you have access to workforce management software that measures customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and field worker performance.
Leading field service software companies offer reporting and analytics tools that present business intelligence through an intuitive user interface. You and your contractors can easily keep tabs on operational performance and monitor customer satisfaction from your phone or computer, in real-time.
Use Business Goals As Fuel to Drive Positive Customer Service Ratings
Field service management leaders: to create a productive, encouraging, and harmonious culture that ultimately drives positive customer ratings, remember the following when it comes to goal setting:
- It’s crucial to first share your overarching business goals with your contractors.
- Once these lines of communication are open, schedule time with each of your contractors to discuss his or her individual career goals in detail, then document these goals in writing.
- By clearly communicating and documenting company goals, contractor goals, and the game plans to achieve them, you and your third-party workforce will be aligned as you forge ahead to serve your customers.
- Each contractor can then act in accordance with the direction of your business, while accelerating their own careers along the way.
The result: your customers will be more satisfied with their experiences and will be more likely to give your field service management company positive customer ratings.
Interested in more field service contractor guidance? Learn how to boost customer satisfaction and turn your field service workforce into a revenue machine.