Hearing first hand experience
We love hearing from field technicians first hand. It's the only real way to get a first hand understanding of how your field technicians are feeling and to see for yourself their daily frustrations with processes, technology and a host of other things.
The purpose of reaching out to your field teams in this way is to ensure that you have a full and rounded understanding of all of the different aspects of your field business. This might include how your field workers understand your strategy, the way in which they actually deliver your critical end to end process and the systems they use. You will also want to understand customer experience from the technician's perspective and of course the responses of your customers as the service visits are happening.
When we are working with clients we light to conduct a programme of ride-alongs or DILOs (Day In the Lives). This will usually involve accompanying field technicians whilst they go about their usual day of work. The number of field engineers that we will accompany will depend on the diversity of the work but we like to experience different regions (for example rural and urban) and have the chance to view different work mixes.
Organisations can sometimes feel they need to put forward their most shiny and enthusiastic employees for ride-alongs. Don't get me wrong it's great to see motivated and enthusiastic field staff but in reality it's as useful to talk to the ones who are much less so! The ones who find things hard day after day or have been in your field business through change after change. Your low performers can help you understand what needs to change. Often they are disgruntled because no-one has ever taken the time to listen to their specific issues and they have given up caring. It's important to give them a chance to be heard.
In field organisations ride-alongs doesn't stop with field technicians. It will usually include those who support and enable their work. This might include warehouse operatives, logistics staff, individuals who plan and schedule their work, technical support, customer service staff and so on. Field service is a team game and all of those voices contribute to make a bigger picture.
Technicians and schedulers tend to do their jobs because they are problem solvers. They like to provide critical services to customers that get things done, sort things out and help to make a difference on the first visit. They don't tend to want technology and process to stand in the way of getting things done. Unnecessary paperwork and duplication can be a big frustration. Time spent travelling that can be avoided feels like wasted time when they could be helping customers. There is a whole host of information that technicians could access or find useful when working but often these are held in siloed or different systems. Often these systems aren't accessible on mobile devices or perhaps aren't available offline when the field technician loses mobile signal. Listening to the needs of technicians for things like work history, asset information, safety briefings, organisational knowledge and so on can really make a difference.
Addressing practical challenges
We have also seen many times in the field, technicians struggling to use the tools and systems they have been given. Sometimes the issues are practical - tough books running out of battery or the technician struggling to capture data on small screens. Sometimes the are down to productivity such as going between different systems to key in data in multiple places. Sometimes the technicians don't get the full picture of the customer engagement so turn up to a customer on a service visit but receive complaints about a customer's other issues they've been raising to another department.
Either way when technology solutions and business transformation takes place it is vital to clearly communicate to the technicians and work hard to gain their trust and buy-in. Give them a direct voice on the implementation programme and understand and address ways to improve their experience. Leverage their understanding and experience of customers and use their real-time feedback to shape your solutions. Transforming your business is an ongoing journey and your staff need to have chance to give their feedback during that journey. So get out there and start talking to your techs!
Talk to us
Leadent Digital helps organisations to achieve transformational change. We love developing apps that transform customer experience and help you deliver a more frictionless service experience across all of your contact points and channels. Why not get in touch to tell us more about your current CX priorities?