Extending The Impact Of FSM
FieldAware’s Marc Tatarsky explains how you can tap into your all-star resources and advance your field service operational maturity…
As your overall field service maturity evolves, one way to move your operational maturity to the next level is to extend the impact the field service team has on the success of the entire organization. To achieve this goal, field service leaders have several critical levers they must pull to gain momentum.
The first lever is to change the organization’s view of the potential role and influence of the most valuable resource within the field service organization – the field technician. The second lever is to integrate the tools that empower these all-star players with the broader business systems necessary to make them successful in an expanded role. And finally, they must encompass these efforts with a well-developed change management program. The program should focus on tooling the field technicians with the necessary skills for success, providing them proper training, and aligning their workflows and client interactions for a smooth transition to the expanded roles, ensuring long-term success.
Role of definition in field service
As one of the first faces to the customer, the field technician has the potential to support or even take on several critical roles for growing organizations. These roles could include:
- Customer Success
- Relationship Manager
- Marketing/Brand Ambassador
- Proactive Support
To take advantage of the field technician’s regular and in-depth interactions with existing customers, organizations need to embrace their expanded role. Resistance to change and under-utilization typical occurs due to one of two drivers – hyper-focus or fear/trust isolation.
Hyper-focus happens when there is a perception that the technician’s time and skills are too valuable to allocate to new tasks other than pure field service deliverables. Non-core field service activities could be viewed as distractions. Fear/Trust isolation, on the other hand, is typically driven by broader siloed organizations that don’t trust the “ill-equipped” field worker to adequately perform tasks that are not considered core to their skill set. Many times, these fears are exasperated by limited training opportunities, poor system integration and data flow, and a lack of available supporting tools that would be necessary to capitalize on the expanding role of the field worker.
Field Service system and data integration
Some of these challenges lead us to the second critical lever – integrating FSM with other key Systems of Record. To achieve this next step in operational maturity, the organization must already be at a level of technical maturity that leverages an FSM platform that easily integrates and plays nice with other non-field service systems of record. These can include:
Having access to data and workflows that interact with some or all of these other systems is critical in determining what areas an expanded field tech role could best add value to the broader organization. One of the typical areas of role expansion includes supporting the sales process with upsells or relationship management.
To effectively and productively improve an organization’s capacity in these areas, the field technician must have access to critical elements of the CRM data on the mobile device while in the field.
When adequately equipped, with both data (key contacts, contract details, etc.) and workflow (sales/service order, upsell options, etc.), the augmented field technician role happily engages with customers. When employed at the appropriate times, they can improve upsell-revenue opportunities and reduce churn metrics. When done correctly, these interactions are seamless and provide value to the customer as well as the service organization.
The final lever, change management, is often the most critical step even though it is the least complex and technically challenging. In this context, change management represents the longer-term set of processes, training, and workflows that help to ensure the new activities and responsibilities you designed for your all-star players can be successfully executed and deliver the value as promised.
Program leaders must carefully evaluate the data made available to the field technician on the mobile, design an aligned scope of tasks/activities, and identify triggers that are easy for the technician to utilize and execute as well as create training.
Training should consist of both hard-skill (technical, data workflow, etc.) and soft-skill (business process, interpersonal, etc.) techniques. It should create steps and criteria for when to use the new procedures. Finally, you will want to establish success criteria so you can track the progress the field workers are making, how easily they are adopting and executing the new responsibilities, and ultimately measure their success in terms of financial impact.
Endless opportunities for field service organisations
The opportunities to leverage and build on the excellent customer service your field workers already provide are endless. In many organizations, the field technician represents the one employee that has an intimate pulse on your customer’s health and overall success with your products. As your Field Service organizational and technology maturity develops, expanding the role of these critical all-stars is a natural fit for improving the overall success of the broader organization.
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