From The Editor | January 24, 2017

3 Field Service Mistakes To Avoid In 2017

By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
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Sarah Nicastro

Happy New Year! A new year, a new opportunity to consider how you’ll transform your field operation. I may not be able to offer you an individualized plan for exactly how to achieve success, but I can provide insight on a few mistakes to avoid that will certainly inhibit you from accomplishing your goals.

Mistake #1: Not Getting Closer To Your Customers
Focusing on the customer experience is key in 2017. If you don’t take the time to determine how you can get closer to what your customers need and want and where you’re falling short, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Do you feel like you have a good gauge on your customers’ expectations and satisfaction? You need an even better perspective. Figure out how to drive for this — do you need a more dashboard view? Focus on executing customer surveys. Do you need more detailed insight? Work toward having individual conversations that can give you a deep dive. Do you know how you compare to your competitors? Ask their customers what your competitors are doing well! The point is, however much knowledge you have about what your customers value, what they expect from a service experience, what would make them happier, and how they feel you’re performing — you need more. The more of this insight you can gather, the further you can improve your business this year.

Mistake #2: Not Expecting More From Your Technicians
The reality is, there are too many tools and resources available today for you to NOT be demanding more from your workforce. But the caveat is, you have to arm them with these tools and sufficient training to use them appropriately. If you haven’t already, invest in the tools that will help them do their job more efficiently and effectively. Examine the processes in place, and determine what needs to be revamped. Train your employees well — not just on how to use the technologies you’re arming them with, but also in what you expect from them and how you’d like them to deliver a service experience (don’t forget the soft skills). Ask for their feedback, and incorporate it. Make them feel valued and appreciated. Offer incentives for exceptional work toward goals you’ve set for them to accomplish.

Mistake #3: Not Thinking Outside The Box
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. The term “disruptive thinking” has been tossed around a lot lately, and the point is that you need to think differently. Don’t confine yourself to just thinking about how to make incremental improvements to what you’re already doing —examine whether or not you should be doing something different altogether! This mode of thinking can be applied in many ways: Is there a business process that needs to be completely overhauled or eliminated? A technology you didn’t think was applicable to your industry that you should reconsider? A service change or new offering that would transform your customers’ experience? Sometimes it can be difficult to step back and really review your business model and operation objectively, but that is the goal — and as you do so, think outside the box on changes you could make to really set yourself apart.