As a service business owner or operator, you’re juggling many variables daily. Fundamentally, you must focus on serving your customers with excellence, and one way to accomplish this is to recruit the best staff in the industry. However, there is one challenge. According to Aberdeen, field service organizations identified……

As a service business owner or operator, you’re juggling many variables daily. Fundamentally, you must focus on serving your customers with excellence, and one way to accomplish this is to recruit the best staff in the industry. However, there is one challenge. According to Aberdeen, field service organizations identified skill shortages as a top current market pressure. More specifically, 45% of these organizations are struggling with an aging workforce as the baby boomer generation gradually moves towards retirement.1 Luckily, there are a few guidelines to follow to attract the top-notch talent of tomorrow, starting today.

Why the Right Talent Matters

In an industry where technicians interface with customers daily – problem-solving and often saving the day – they have a direct and immediate impact to the customer experience. With an aging workforce and turnover, knowledge retention is a risk to a service organization’s performance so it’s important now more than ever to think about the future of your staffing needs.2 So, how will you attract the next generation of technicians to serve your customers and exceed expectations? Preparing now for the future, especially when it comes to streamlining the workflow for field technicians, will reap rewards as staffing becomes increasingly difficult.

How Technology Factors into Staffing

It’s no secret that technology is what makes the world go around today. So, let’s consider how the lack of technology can make your field technicians’ job more difficult and make it harder to recruit top talent.

Without the proper infrastructure to help technicians on the front-lines, you can’t truly empower your workforce to drive excellent results when serving customers. If your technician is spending a quarter of their day on administrative tasks that could be automated or simplified via a software solution, frustrations are bound to mount. Couple that with the expectations of a potential employee who is already used to an automated and connected mobile solution and your business is suddenly perceived as operating in the dark ages.

Understanding the technicians’ point of view and what motivates them daily verifies the importance of having the right systems in place. Most technicians enter the role because they like fixing things and problem-solving, not being bogged down in administrative tasks. The more technology infrastructure you can integrate into your business to alleviate the “paperwork,” the happier your technicians will be, and the easier it is to recruit new employees, especially since many technicians find their jobs via referrals. If they hear positive comments from their friends, they will be more inclined to join the ranks of the field service company.

Remember, you want to empower your field technicians with tools that make their jobs more efficient, especially when it comes to administrative tasks. We live in a digital world with smartphones that have computing capabilities and fit into our pockets. Think of how mobile technology can play a role in a field technician’s day, saving them time, frustration, and providing access to much-needed information. Already, many organizations have deployed some form of mobile application for their technicians.3 Of course, some solutions are more robust than others, however companies should ensure their technicians have access to service manuals, parts/inventory availability, customer history, quoting capabilities, time tracking, etc., which can all make a technician’s day easier.

Understanding Your Future Employee

Let’s say you have a strong system in place, how exactly do you prepare for the next generation of field service technicians beyond the technology?  Just as Baby Boomers received Generation X and Y into the workforce and had to figure out how to manage them, it’s important for field service companies to recognize the personas of their future employees, which includes Millennials, as Boomers retire. There are a few core considerations to help your company understand how to attract field technicians with 10 years or less experience. Figure out why they got into the industry in the first place, what motivates them, and what will keep them loyal to a company.

Since many of these technicians fall into the category of Millennials, you can easily assume they are tech savvy and that they’ll want to work primarily on a smartphone or tablet.  Millennials have grown up in a connected world and will want to collaborate with colleagues within the company to avoid isolation. That’s again where technology comes into play and can become a viable asset in attracting (and keeping) the best talent.

Conclusion

Are you ready to position your field service company to attract the industry’s most talented problem-solvers to serve your customers with excellence? If so, starting with a plan of how to integrate the right technology to empower your technicians and cut down on ineffective administrative time is a great first step.

Contact Jolt Consulting Group today to assess your options and plan for your future staff…starting today!

Business owners and executives in the service industry, like any industry, are always looking ahead to the “next generation” of how to elevate customer service to drive more business and increase profit. It’s a challenge for any industry to remain up-to-date with changing customer expectations and behavior.1  However, there are ways to engage, delight, and exceed customer expectations to remain top-of-mind in today’s competitive environment.

With 5G networks on the horizon and IoT becoming more mainstream, soon devices, cars, systems, and entire cities will be connected, making everything “smarter.” The possibilities of keeping connected devices working properly are limitless and one way to accomplish growth today in service is to focus on performance-based contracts to increase company performance and elevate value.

Performance-based contracts are results-oriented and focus on the outputs, quality, or outcomes of deliverables by your company; but before drafting up these types of contracts and dispatching technicians based on the usual service schedule, you’ll have to lay some “predictive” groundwork first. One of the first steps in achieving success with performance-based work is to integrate predictive analysis into your operations, enabling you to more easily monitor, track, and maintain machinery while simultaneously fulfilling the service contract and keeping your costs down.

According to Aberdeen, increasing adoption and use of connected devices provide service leaders with insights such as product utilization and service needs. Coupled with predictive analytics, companies can use these insights to become more productive in the service industry – a necessity to excel in today’s marketplace.2  To raise the bar on customer service and become an industry leader, you’ll want to find out exactly how your customers’ systems work. It will be imperative to keep current customers happy and impress prospects by collecting data within their organizations plus providing recommendations. You’ll also be able to minimize reactive dispatches and prevent machinery from breaking. The latter point is especially important to customers since every minute of inactive machinery is money out the door for the end-user.3 A service firm that can offer equipment uptime and prevent costly failures is a valuable partner to the customer.

Predictive maintenance processes also provide service leaders and field technicians with the ability to cross-sell and up-sell. Employees will be able to discuss their method of keeping a customer’s equipment operating and how the service business uses integrated, intelligent systems opening lines of communication for everyone involved building a stronger, collaborative partnership. For example, a field service company can guarantee, as part of a performance-based contract, that the uptime of a machine will be 99.9 percent. The company will be able to charge the client a premium for this service and by utilizing predictive analysis can more efficiently service the machine prior to breakdowns while avoiding unnecessary service calls; this is a win-win for both the customer and service company.

Companies who want to offer performance-based service contracts and truly optimize their operations processes will need to work their way up the “Service Excellence Curve℠” vying for “best-in-class” status. This means that your cloud-delivered applications and integrated enterprise systems can anticipate service events proactively. Greater information sharing leads to more successful contract fulfillment, period. This level of service also gives the customer confidence in your expertise and keeps operational costs down. The best-in-class performance is what all service leaders should strive to achieve.

Conclusion

We’re living in a consumer-driven world where savvy clients expect a certain level of service, but by elevating the customer-excellence experience, service companies can bank on better relationships, more profitable contracts, and repeat business. This “win-win” for both sides can only be accomplished when everyone can ask “what’s in it for me” and get a tangible answer. For customers, they’ll have access to performance and uptime based maintenance contracts to keep equipment operating in optimal conditions with little to no downtime; for the service companies, they’ll be able to charge a premium for contracts and function efficiently and effectively by integrating predictive analytics into their operations. The more sophisticated a company becomes regarding predictive operations, the more they can surprise and delight their customer while increasing profits. To achieve “best-in-class” success, service companies must simply work smarter…starting now.

Ready to integrate performance-based contracts and best-in-class service into your business? Contact Jolt Consulting Group to develop a (predictive) roadmap to achieve success.

1 “Use Predictive Analytics to Drive Field Service Excellence.” Aberdeen, June 2017.
2 “Use Predictive Analytics to Drive Field Service Excellence.” Aberdeen, June 2017.
3 “Use Predictive Analytics to Drive Field Service Excellence.” Aberdeen, June 2017.

Molly McGee

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