By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
You’ve heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” Well, you can arm your field tech with all of the latest and greatest technologies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll do his job the way you’d like. It’s crucial for you to take an active role in monitoring and evaluating technician performance.
Many times, an organization will implement a solution it feels will streamline its operation and help its field technicians provide better service and then take a hands-off approach, assuming the work is done. While technology is an amazing enabler, it isn’t a magic bullet for technician skill, commitment, and execution. It’s important for you to stay involved in your technicians’ day-to-day operations. Regular evaluation and feedback lead to more motivated, better performing employees, and this type of interaction facilitates an environment of constant improvement versus one of obliviousness. Monitoring and evaluating technician performance will also force you to see firsthand how the technology you’ve chosen to arm your workforce with is performing and will often enable you to optimize certain areas or even brainstorm further uses to drive additional value. The most important aspects of field technician evaluation will differ from organization to organization, but here are a few I’d suggest considering:
Customer satisfaction ratings. How do your customers feel about the service your technicians are providing? This is arguably the most important measurement of success, because if your customers aren’t happy with your service, they will ultimately go elsewhere. It’s important to understand the why behind the rating or score your customers are giving. If it’s a high score, what did the technician do well? If it’s a low score, what went wrong? Understanding the specifics of your customers’ feedback will enable you to provide good feedback and direction to your technicians.
Repeat trips. First-time fix is the ultimate goal — it saves your organization money and goes a long way toward customer satisfaction. That said, repeat trips will happen. What’s important is to look for trends and reasoning. Trends will show you if any specific technicians have higher overall instances of repeat trips than others, which may put up a red flag. Understanding why the repeat trip is necessary is important so that you can determine if the reason for the repeat trip was due to a technician issue or something out of the technician’s control. Repeat trips due to technician error, lack of skill, unpreparedness, and so on need to be addressed with specific feedback and a plan for improvement.
Compliance. Another area of opportunity to evaluate technicians on is their compliance with the rules you have in place, tools you’ve asked them to use, etc. Do you use GPS tracking? Periodic checks on technician location ensure they’re where they’re supposed to be. Do your technicians complete work orders in the way they’ve been asked in the timeframe in which they’re supposed to? Remember, you’ve given them tools to help them be more effective — any sort of misuse or nonuse of these tools provides an opportunity to give feedback and improve performance.