Can you handle the truth about field technician satisfaction?

ProntoForms gathered a panel of field service executives and technicians to discuss how to improve satisfaction for technicians and customers alike.

If you ever wondered what it would be like to have field service executives and technicians together in a (virtual) room engaging in an honest, no-holds-barred discussion, well here’s your chance. An IdeaShare event sponsored by Service Council™ and ProntoForms provides a rare opportunity to witness a nourishing, but slightly spicy conversation.

We gathered a stellar panel of executives and technicians from Schneider Electric, Trane Technologies, and Cummins to talk shop on improving satisfaction across the board for technicians and customers alike. This discussion is a perfect example of the vital conversation that many companies need to be having given the vicious war for field service talent.

The data doesn’t lie

Setting the foundation for the discussion, John Carroll, CEO and Founder, and Michael Israel, COO of The Service Council each presented compelling information gleaned from two research projects their organization has worked on during the first part of 2021.

Service Leader’s Agenda

This study, geared towards service leaders, uncovers the macro-level trends showing what executives are currently experiencing. Based on 100 respondents, the research presents what pressures service leaders are facing and how they’re responding, what investments they’re planning to make next year and how they’re setting their organizations up for operational and financial success moving forward.

Voice of the Field Service Engineer

This research project was based on the responses of over 725+ field technicians and engineers. The VOFSE offers insight into what technicians like and dislike about their work, their thoughts on their careers, and the companies they work for, among other key considerations.

It’s remarkable to see how many of the data points from The Service Council’s research were aligned with what the technicians and executives spoke about as their personal experiences during this panel discussion. The data doesn’t lie.

Are frontline workers satisfied?

The beauty of this IdeaShare is that it was so honest. The technicians on this panel felt comfortable enough with their employers to express their opinions, and this kind of radical candor speaks volumes about their organizations.

Whether it’s seeking a better work-life balance, feeling frustrated with trying to accomplish their many tasks, or the overwhelming demands of labor-intensive work, often in harsh conditions, it’s essential to learn more about the challenges faced by field service techs.  

Some common issues that were brought to the table were:

  • spending more time at work with other employees than with their families
  • coping with the knowledge gap when a technician takes on a new role or retires – and the difficulties they face when transferring tribal knowledge to get a new or junior hire up to speed
  • feeling challenged to perform their work faster and better all while learning new technologies
  • wanting to take advantage of training opportunities to grow their knowledge and advance in their careers

Each technician expressed a deep passion for their work and a desire to advance in their career. They also acknowledged the companies they work for are making moves towards listening to and acting on their feedback and ideas for improvements. It is easy to see how invested techs are in the success of their organizations and how deeply they care about their customers.

What are leading field service executives doing in response?

It’s clear that the executives on our panel are aware of what frontline workers are saying. One panelist shared how his organization has taken a more field service technician-centric approach to how they operate.  

A few suggestions that emerged from this panel as to how executives can increase technician loyalty, retention, and overall satisfaction include:

  • Forming an executive committee so field technicians can sit at the C-level and offer input on what they’re seeing on the frontlines. Beyond just listening, Schneider Electric performed an organizational redesign as a result of these conversations. Cummins also have a technician panel that meets regularly to provide their unfiltered input.
  • To make technicians a priority, Trane Technologies have an approach they call the ACBs. This stands for associates first, customers, then their business. Going deeper into this philosophy, Rod Cook, Director NA Service Operations said, “In reality, if we’re not taking care of our people, we won’t have any customers to take care of.”
  • Running organizational health surveys to take a closer look at what you’re doing as a company and then provide leadership, guidance, and opportunities.
  • Creating a sense of belonging. Ensuring every field service employee feels like they’re a part of something special and not just collecting a paycheck. Encouraging them to bring their whole self to work is what builds a great corporate culture.  
  • Offering role clarity ensures it’s clear to techs that their role is to be in front of the customer and resolve their issues, and supervisors are there to supervise and managers are there to manage. Being disciplined around these roles ensures expectations are clear for all.

Technology serves both sides of the table

Whether you’re a field service technician or executive, technology is only increasing in its importance. Several of our panelists spoke to how field service technology solutions assist in removing wasted time in a frontline worker’s day and ensuring they best meet their customer’s business needs. Accomplishing work faster, with greater ease, accurately, on the first visit is a win-win-win for customers, technicians, and leaders.

Regardless of the solution, getting buy-in from the frontline workers is vital because if they’re not adopting the tool or technology, it’ll be of no use to anyone.

You absolutely owe it to yourself and your business to make time to watch the recording of this one-of-a-kind IdeaShare. You’ll hear the unscripted voice of the field service technician, something that if you’re not hearing in your organization, is worth encouraging with the suggestions we’ve shared here.

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