As a Field Service Engineer or Technician, are you interested in advancing your career either in a technical or management role? I am a firm believer that field service engineers and technicians have multiple opportunities to advance their career with their current employer and for other field service opportunities.
As industry experts have noted, soft skills are key differentiating factors in being considered for advancement. Field Service Engineer soft skills are the single most important influence on advancement and opportunities. While soft skills are a must, advancement begins with a technical foundation as the basis for which all good things are built upon.
To build a solid technical foundation, FSEs must recognize how your company products are used by the customer and define the specific service tasks you as a FSE are responsible for: installation, programing, operator training, applications, calibration, preventative maintenance, diagnosis and repair, retrofits, upgrades and reinstallations. Promotable FSE’s first demonstrated their proficiency in completing the various and often very diversified technical tasks. Of course, as technology evolves, this is a constant development responsibility of the FSE and their service management to maintain proficiency with newer technologies and practices.
Now with the technical foundation built, here is where a FSE has the most opportunity and why field service is such a dynamic and rewarding career. Jack Saccone with GE Oil and Gas stated, “A cross-trained field service engineer with a high first-time fix rate and soft skill capabilities is gold.”
Today’s FSEs have more responsibility in representing their company’s product and service offering and directly impacting their brand. They are the face of the company and have a direct influence on customer product and service buying decisions, and the lifetime value of a customer. Soft skills represent the FSE’s ability to positively interact with customers, while addressing some complex and often emotionally charged situations. Soft skills are also the ability of the FSE to become a trusted advisor to the customer, sometimes their advocate. FSEs position solutions and sell valuable support programs, and create leads for their product sales representatives. FSE’s project confidence, empathy, gratefulness and overall professionalism. Safety is another skill and represents quality and professionalism.
With field service management systems and automation, the FSE who adopts this technology and understands how the customer experience and outcomes are tied to these management systems will also stand out amongst their peers.
I am always amazed at the talent of a FSE to self-manage their productivity, address complex problems, sell their company solutions, and build lasting customer relationships. This is the art of field service engineering and generates results for their company. I’ve worked with many FSE’s who advanced technically to senior field positions, technical support, service training and engineering. Others used their skills for service and sales management, project management, marketing, fleet and safety, and executive leadership opportunities.
Finally, we can’t underestimate the significant experience base in working with various internal and customer personalities over the years that have led many FSEs to other management careers. A commitment to excellence and self-development that is focused both on technical and soft skills will reward FSEs with advancement and fulfilling field service careers. Be the Gold.