In a few years, your top salesperson could also happen to be your top-performing technician. Soft skills—including the ability to deliver high-quality on-site customer service and to upsell customers—should now be as important to you as an employee’s technical expertise.
Soft skills training for technicians is either a high priority—or the highest priority—for 50 percent of field service companies. The field service industry is more customer-centric than ever, and being able to deliver high levels of customer service is vital.
In The Service Council’s report, “The Field Service Leader’s Agenda for 2018,” 58 percent of field service leaders say they believe that changing customer expectations is one of their biggest market challenges.
Field technicians are largely the face of your business’s customer service: They represent your brand. With the rise in automation and the internet of things, you must invest in training that will enable your technicians to deliver first-rate customer service to make every customer interaction a reason to stay loyal to your organization. If your technicians can’t deliver on customer service, your customers will find what they’re looking for elsewhere.
Crosstraining: Enable your sales team to train your field service technicians
Your technicians arrive on site with a specific intent: to fix a problem or install equipment. But what if you could fill two needs with one deed?
Though it’s likely that your technicians have not been trained in sales, they are the face of your organization in the field. Investing some time for your sales staff to train your technicians is a great way to boost your customer service ratings.
With the rise of the internet of things, Gartner predicts that by 2021, 10 percent of reported issues will not need a site visit by a technician to be resolved (full text available to Gartner clients). With fewer site visits, you’ll have to work extra hard to ensure that your technicians are making each site visit meaningful to the customer.
Customers trust technicians because they see them as the people who solve their problems. Because of this, they’re more likely to trust their suggestions than a phone call from your marketing or sales team. Customers are also likely to view recommendations of new parts, warranties, or service offerings not as a sale, but as a way to make their lives easier.
Ultimately, training your technicians to be able to identify and act upon chances to sell presents more opportunities for you to increase revenue—with a very small cost to your company.
Embrace blended-learning training strategies for your technicians
With any hope, you no longer gather your staff into a conference room and have them endure training videos from the 1980s. In today’s customer-centric market, cheesy videos just aren’t going to cut it—and they’re not going to excite or engage your technicians either.
Blended learning is an educational concept that strives to deliver a hybrid learning strategy of both traditional classroom and online techniques, which can be applied to the field service industry.
For example, you can teach your staff how to use new equipment during several workshops (traditional classroom experience), while they complete digital skills reinforcement courses alongside (online training experience). And now is a good time to invest in blended learning training: 61 percent of organizations believe that it’s critical or at least important to improve individual performance.
Set technician goals that are linked to customer service
Like in any industry, setting goals for your employees can have a huge effect on employee motivation and, in turn, customer service satisfaction levels. Goal-setting is also a way to move your entire organization toward one common objective such as high customer satisfaction.
Support customer service training for field technicians with field service management software
Training your technicians in customer service doesn’t need to break the bank—but smart organizations know that investing in training their technicians can improve productivity and, in turn, customer service. Start strategizing now to maximize the benefits of your technician training plan.
Above all, according to Gartner, 70 percent of organizations will derive “customer satisfaction” from implementing field service management tools by 2020 (full content available to Gartner clients). Not only can field service management tools support your day-to-day business, but they can support the future of your business, which rests on how well you’re able to deliver customer satisfaction.