By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
There are a lot of factors that go into a successful field service business. But according to Larry Wash, CEO of KONE, there’s a key ingredient that a lot of companies overlook — and that is the impact your people (employees) have on your brand. I listened to Larry speak at a conference earlier this year, and he discussed how absolutely critical it is to put more focus on the people aspect of your brand — his point was that your people ARE your brand. “A bad brand experience is far more difficult to recover from than a bad product experience,” says Wash. “You can ship a new product, but you can’t ship a new experience.”
I liken this to an experience at a restaurant — it isn’t too difficult for me to forgive bad food if I’ve experienced stellar service, but it’s nearly impossible for good food to overshadow a horrible service experience. As a field service company, think about putting a little more time and thought into exactly what type of service experience your workforce is providing.
Tips For Improving Your Field Service Brand
During Wash’s presentation, he brought up a handful of different areas you can focus on to make improvements to your service brand. First, examine your hiring practices. Are you hiring well, or just taking what you can get? You need to be somewhat selective in whom you bring on board, and look at it through the lens of not just their technical skillset but their ability to deliver on the brand experience you want to provide. Next, think about what that brand experience IS. What are you promising to your customers in terms of the service experience, and what do you need to do to make sure that experience is delivered?
You need to be clear on what you want your brand to be, and you need to hire people you know are capable of delivering on that vision. From there, it comes down to making sure your workers are well-informed and welltrained so that they can live up to your and your customers’ expectations. Wash suggests putting some thought into how you want your workers to present themselves to your customers and then making sure that you clearly communicate your expectations to your workforce. It might also help to formalize this vision into policies and procedures for them to follow and provide training to new employees so that they know from the beginning what exactly is expected. You also need to make sure you’re teaching your workers how to communicate clearly, effectively, and appropriately with your customer base, and keep in mind that the more information they have access to while at a customer site, the more effective and informed their communication can be. Finally, Wash suggests preparing your workforce for conflict management. Train them on how exactly you want them to handle conflicts when they arise so that you can ensure your customers will be treated in a way that you feel best represents your service brand.