By Bruce Breeden, Field Service Resources
Whether the service business is operating remote or able to go on-site, the key to continued success is a centering focus on FSE job fundamentals.
To work efficiently, solve problems, promote the company brand and products, these seven FSE focus areas are pillars of success. Difficult and uncertain times will likely prompt further innovation in how we conduct operations, but the core skills and job focus areas will remain.
- Technical Proficiency – Learning and demonstrating technical skill enables complimentary job and soft skills. FSEs must have a broad set of technical skills to work in the field and their proficiency is the platform to drive customer satisfaction and operational productivity. Product technology and associated applications are changing at a record pace. Fortunately, most technology simplifies the diagnostic work FSEs undertake. Still, as FSEs are cross-trained and the installed base the FSE services includes many variations of product, software, and applications, maintaining technical proficiency is a daunting challenge. Ensure your teams having learning goals to leverage the various mediums, and most importantly have a system for FSEs to demonstrate their skills.
- Customer Relations and Methodology– Customer satisfaction and building loyalty must be supported by an operating methodology or daily system. FSEs are an important element of this strategy and must demonstrate the skills in serving customers, escalating issues, and not just completing service orders but building lasting customer relationships. These soft skills are vital as FSEs encounter multiple problems, customer personalities and physical environments each day. While your company may have a methodology for customer service in general, consider a field service-centric method to account for FSE work styles and environments. The “GRIP” methodology centers on the four FSE interaction steps; Greeting, Relating, Informing and Promoting. These four steps provide a daily method to maximize the customer experience, build trusted advisors within your service team and create lasting customer relationships.
- Safety – Safety is a relative risk depending on the nature of each service operation but always a constant risk for any field service business. FSE’s must be trained and equipped but most importantly, engaged to be focused and make good decisions.
- Productivity and Use of Systems– FSE must be able to plan and maximize their use of time for productivity and customer satisfaction. As remote, field-based work teams, FSEs must work with scheduling and customers to best optimize their time and reduce travel costs. Mobility tools greatly simplify and automate work processes and managers should ensure the FSEs understand their role in timely system usage.
- Service Sales and Product Sales Leads– FSEs provide an enormous opportunity to sell new services or retain valuable contracts, as they follow the GRIP customer relations methodology. As brand ambassadors, FSE’s can generate sales leads and make appropriate recommendations for customers to consider.
- Inventory Control – Field service requires good inventory control defined as usage, vehicle stock value and physical count accuracy. IT systems facilitate this process with FSE focus and attention to detail or usage of the system.
- Commitment to Professional Development – Adopting to changing products, customer expectations, regulatory factors, and company strategy is more important than ever during these times. An organization committed to learning, teamwork and continuous improvement requires skill development and career growth. FSEs should have clear development pathways defined and measured. Professional development attracts both new talent and retention of top talent.
Leading a service organization through difficult and uncertain times is hard. By establishing the fundamentals and FSE objectives, innovation will be built on a solid operational foundation.
About The Author
Bruce Breeden is the principal of Field Service Resources, LLC, providing consulting, training and digital transformation for service organizations. Bruce is the creator of the Field Service7 and GRIP service operation programs and author of the book:The Intentional Field Service Engineer