Consider two possible scenarios for your field service management organization:
- Your technician shows up at a job site. He or she is on-time, has the correct inventory, and gets the job done. The on-site contact mentions something about another problem the company has been having. Your technician agrees to take a look free of charge before his or her next appointment.
- Your technician shows up at a job site. He or she is about 15 minutes late -- not too much but still late. He or she has the correct inventory, but there are a few questions about customer data and invoicing. The job is finished (good), but the on-site contact hurries your technician out, a bit frustrated.
In a way, both situations above are positive -- in each case, first-time fix rate was achieved, and in each case, the job was done and was invoiced. Sure, in Example 2, the client is a bit more frustrated -- but 15 minutes late and a few questions will eventually fade as frustrating elements.
Example 1 is clearly better, yes, but both are still-positive customer experience examples where the required job was completed.
The major difference between Example 1 and Example 2 is how time -- more specifically, optimized and well-used time -- allowed your technician to solve an additional problem for your client. That’s surprise and delight, and those two elements have long been the backbone of customer service.
The client in Example 1 is much more likely to refer and recommend your field service management team. The client in Example 2 is mostly OK with how things went -- the job’s done -- but probably won’t go that extra mile on recommending.
This is a crucial aspect of field service that we sometimes forget: the role of technicians in our marketing and ‘lead generation’ efforts.
As a quick primer, if you’ve never heard the term ‘lead generation,’ it just refers to any type of system whereby you try to get ‘leads,’ or potential new business. People approach this in a variety of ways, including:
- Social Media
- Google Ads
- Industry events
- Compensated referrals
There are dozens of lead generation approaches, but the most effective for years has been word of mouth -- essentially referral. An effective referral channel comes from solid customer interactions, and this is where your technicians are invaluable.
Your back office may be fielding customer calls and concerns all day, but your technicians are actually out at the sites interacting face-to-face with the customers. That’s a huge value-add in your lead generation efforts.
What you’re aiming to do is design a relatively seamless, integrated process for your technicians so that they have the time to really focus on client needs. Traffic jams can always happen -- and techs can be late to appointments. There can always be poor communication -- and techs can arrive without parts. The system won’t be perfect. But if you’re using the right FSM software tool and integrating the different parts of your operation together, the goals are:
- Easier processes
- More optimized time for techs
- Ability to focus on client need
- Eventual lead generation
Putting an ad on Facebook probably won’t help as much with field service lead generation, no -- and sending out e-mails can keep you top of mind, but it lacks that human interaction piece.
The single biggest lead generation tool you have is your techs. Optimize their time to focus on the customers and you’ll see a referral engine begin to develop.
To find out how to make your team more productive, download our eBook here.