Are Your Field Technicians Living the Dream?

brucebreeden

The dreaded phrase I hear over and over is “I’m living the dream” as field service personnel greet each other or even their customer.  To me, this phrase exhibits drudgery, working for a paycheck, boring, same old thing, etc.  It’s used in a sarcastic sense, but do we know if FSEs/techs are truly excited about their work goals or are they in this stagnant state?  You may be thinking this writer is simply making the point to spice things up a bit for motivation.  I like the idea of spicing things up, however there’s a bigger picture.

Imagine an FSE job posting:

  • Brand ambassador utilizing customer relationship skills, technical aptitude, ability to manage time and expenses with strong organization and self-management skills within a two-state territory
  • Active team player who solves technical and customer-service related issues, and both requests and provides assistance using instant messaging, mobile field apps, knowledge base systems, wearables and other creative resources.
  • Initiate activity to achieve team goals and develop lasting customer relationships.
  • Decision maker with daily schedule, customer outcomes, safety, problem solving.
  • Champion of our company’s products and services and promote solutions as a trusted advisor to the customer, both in interactions and in written reports.
  • Safety obsessed, both as an individual and for the team in preparation, actions, communications and outcomes.
  • Values company property; vehicles, equipment, inventory and protect and care.
  • Self-aware, committed learner and accepts coaching. Owns their career development and continuous learning through experience, training and special projects

Most field service job descriptions or work objectives basically indicate to install and maintain equipment, complete technical and regulatory training courses, maintain customer relations, maximize productivity and complete reports on time, have few callbacks, follow safety guidelines, sell services, generate product leads and manage inventory.

Yet, at key company meetings we promote the fact that FSE/technicians are brand ambassadors, problem solvers, generators of after-market revenue, product lead producers, safety and inventory managers who also contribute to profit through productivity and use of systems.  This message resonates and provides reflection on the contributions FSEs have on their company’s bottom line.

One of my favorite exercises to do in facilitating FSE and manager courses is to pair up the participants and have them explain what they do for their company while riding in an elevator with a stranger who asks about their company logo.  99% of the time the FSEs respond with what kind of equipment they work on and that they install and maintain the equipment.  While correct, they omit that they are a brand ambassador for their company, problem solver, generator of after-market revenue, etc.  Their answer highlights the fact that while we talk about these critical attributes, the bottom line is often there is a gap between our vision and the typical work objectives and goals.

It’s been written that unless we are excited about our goals, then we won’t be excited about our work.  How do we get FSEs and technicians excited about their goals and work?  Field service leaders have a great opportunity to lead and assert the new field service role with their teams.

Why not use the above job posting to be congruent in our words and actions?  The language we use as leaders sets the degree of organization energy around mission and purpose.  Old-style language for descriptions and goals have outlived their usefulness to inspire and energize an organization on a new mission.  Goals should be in the SMART format to be effective, and each of these goals can be modified or supported with specific, measurable targets.

We also need to leverage the usefulness of inspiring goals and language.   Proper leadership messaging will attract top talent from new generations and engage this generation in their career roadmap and continuous growth.

With exciting times in field service with advancing technology, FSE role responsibilities and service market growth, spicing up goals will have an energizing effect on organization performance and business outcomes.  Living the dream can be possible in the serious and inspiring sense for FSEs/technicians as brand ambassadors and problem solvers.

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