Even if you as a manager have thought of everything and your department is perfectly set up, customer satisfaction may be more negative than expected. This may be due to some bad habits of your technicians.
The customer experience is influenced by many factors. But of course, the behavior of the service employee plays an important role. Of course, you shouldn't constantly monitor your team. But you might want to turn your scrutinizing eye to the following no-go's in dealing with customers.
Of course, your most experienced technicians have seen their fair share of field service. Machine problems due to human error, physical wear and tear, or "workaround" repairs that lead to further consequential problems. Of course, most things come easily to a seasoned service technician and he knows immediately where to reach.
In the process, the feeling and understanding of the situation from the customer's point of view is often lost. For the latter, the problem is new and possibly also very serious. And there is a certain need for communication to deal with the situation. If the technician now goes straight to work, without much adjustment to the customer, the customer often feels that he has not been properly met. Of course, the job is stressful and in some industries a technician has to go on 4 or 5 calls a day.
However, this should not be the reason for not taking the time to empathize with the customer and meet him in his own world. If this doesn't happen and the technician moves on directly to the next construction site after solving the problem, a bad gut feeling often remains. And the customer's satisfaction suffers not least as a result. Even under time pressure, the customer should be respected and preferably treated with the frugality that might make a Buddha envious. Even if that is sometimes difficult.
Employee negativity can impact the overall performance of the company. This is especially true in customer service. Negative experiences are passed on to a greater extent than positive ones. When field technicians think negatively, it can be caused by emotional exhaustion due to excessive workloads, poor processes, negative gossip or bad experiences with customers. And customers sense when field colleagues are not in a good mood.
Few will have antennae fine enough to figure out why your on-site rep is not in a good mood. From their point of view, he simply doesn't feel like doing his job, or even worse, about him as a customer. Neither definitely reflects well on your company and your service mindset.
To combat this negativity, listening mechanisms can be put in place to understand the mindset of technicians and take corrective action. Collect regular feedback from your employees to counter employee complaints before they impact customer service.
Sometimes technicians have the habit of shifting the responsibility for their mistakes onto others. This can be justified and sometimes it is simply a protective reaction when you are in front of the customer. You don't want to be the lightning rod and try to pass the buck.
However, the customer is usually not interested in identifying a culprit in your company. He wants to let off some steam and then he wants someone to help him. And he doesn't have this feeling if the person standing in front of him always looks for the fault in others. Your technicians are problem solvers, and that's how you should position yourself with the customer. Pick up the customer in his world by listening to his description of the problem. But then switch to solution mode and show the customer the way out of the problem.
The right "Ownership" mentality is very important here. This includes many activities. Communicating with the customer, updating service manuals in a timely manner, notifying the warehouse team of shortages, and much more. It is important to establish this mindset and act as a proactive solutions partner. Internally as well as externally. Last but not least, the company culture also plays an important role.
Often, punctuality and getting the job done quickly are considered enough. But customer service requires more than that. Unfortunately, when the focus is on getting the job done quickly, the eye for detail is often lost. Minor carelessness is then the result. The customer will forgive you one or two points, but if he then feels that the work was done sloppily because of the sum of these small carelessnesses, you have gained nothing.
This can be due to such trivial things as several spelling mistakes and carelessness errors in the final report that the customer signs. Or the maintenance was actually okay, but in several places the workplace was not left clean and there are grease and oil residues. All in itself not bad, but when these small carelessnesses accumulate, a completely different impression is created.
Negligence shows a lack of interest in the customer. And for the service manager, this behavior can be difficult to recognize. As I said, each case is not critical on its own, but in total it builds up a bad image of the company. But this is extram difficult to recognize, because only very few customers would actively contact you because of these issues. But the bad feeling remains, of course. It is therefore important for service managers to have this topic actively on their radar and to train certain antennae for it.
The business of technical field service is to some degree unpredictable. Field service technicians often have to anticipate difficulties, imponderables and unexpected events. When things go badly, this can lead to poor performance on the job site and the customer has the impression that the technician is either not well prepared or just not well trained. Neither has to be the case, but it is the customer's interpretation of the situation. And that, of course, does not reflect well on you as a company.
Misjudgments can be due to a lack of ability to assess risks or a lack of transparency in processes. Training a better understanding of the consequences and acting responsibly can enable technicians to better cope with unexpected challenges. It is important to actively promote these soft skills and train them in your own team. This helps to appear confident with the customer, even in difficult situations.
Field engineers often have to make decisions with incomplete information or weigh between several options, all of which have their pros and cons. Indecision is a common problem here. However, as already mentioned, the customer wants to be assisted by a problem solver. If the customer doesn't know what to do, or at least gives the impression that he doesn't know what to do, this will do lasting damage to confidence in the customer and your organization. Once again, a bad gut feeling will remain, which will also have a negative impact on the perception of satisfaction.
To overcome this, technicians can be supported with training in outcome-based assessment to improve your decision-making ability. Or you can involve the customer himself in the solution option by describing the options and their advantages and disadvantages. Then the customer can decide for himself and additionally perceives your technician as very competent, as he shows several solution options.
Service is a team sport! The processes in field service and between field and technical office service are usually strongly intertwined. Information from one process is important for optimally coordinating the next steps in other areas. Technicians should be shown how to organize and communicate their work more transparently to ensure that all parties involved are up to date.
Better communication between the office and field technicians could also be achieved through better integration of systems. A field service app that connects with other company systems makes it easier to find, share and stay up to date with the information needed. This avoids wasting additional time manually researching, entering or updating data.
Technology and methods are constantly changing, and it's important for field service technicians to continually update and expand their skills and knowledge. By constantly learning and sharing best practices, field service technicians can improve their effectiveness and career opportunities. In addition, technicians can help develop or improve new technologies and processes to increase their company's efficiency and profitability.
But of course you also have to be actively involved here. And that is the task of management and organizational development. If this succeeds, the technicians can become a very good source of impetus for your service transformation.
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