How to Develop a Good Field Service Technician into a Great Field Service TechnicianBy My Service Depot on Thursday, September 3, 2020
These three simple characteristics can help you transform a good tech into an amazing tech.
One of the most important things any manager or business owner can do is to find, hire, and cultivate the best people possible. Interviewing and hiring people can get overwhelming, but by targeting the right kind of person when making hiring decisions, you can give yourself the raw materials to develop a good technician into a great one.
We’ve isolated three characteristics to consider when making new hires. By probing for these qualities during the interview process, you can start molding new techs into your great techs right out of the gate.
Target techs with good soft skills.
The first characteristic that you can start to cultivate? Soft skills. Sometimes people can get soft skills and hard skills confused. Soft skills are defined by the personal actions you display while working by yourself or as part of a team. Hard skills are skills/knowledge obtained through life experience or education.
Here are some examples of hard skills: electrical wiring, carpentry, chemical distribution for pool levels. Some examples of soft skills are: teamwork, communication, empathy, and dependability.
As you can see, there’s a big difference between hard and soft skills. Once we have an understanding of this difference, we can start to hone in on the ideal job candidate. Remember, you can always teach or acquire hard skills. But, since soft-skills are more personality-based, what you see during the interview process is often what you get. You’ll have a much easier time teaching a courteous technician hard skills than teaching a rude technician to play nice. Therefore, focusing on soft skills can help you identify technicians that you can take from good to great.
During the interview process, you can easily determine if the potential employee has the hard skills necessary to work in your trade. Depending on the questions you ask, you can also get an idea of their soft skills. For the techs in the field that have direct contact with the public, skills like communication, problem solving, and adaptability will lead to a great experience for your customers.
Imagine this scenario; you have two identical job sites with two identical customers. The only difference? The tech you send to do the work.
Tech 1 has two years of experience and excellent soft skills, whereas Tech 2 has two years of experience but tends to keep to himself. In such a case, your customers will have two very different experiences. Tech 1 is much more likely to engage the customer and start to establish a rapport. Tech 2 is much more likely to just say “hello” and start working.
Both approaches represent acceptable starts to a job, but one has the potential to stick out to the customer in the future. The soft skills required to strike up a conversation will make most customers feel better, even if they receive identical service. Of course, there is a fine line between a soft skill and wasting time through inane chatter. However, some strategic small talk can go a long way to making the customer’s experience memorable. Down the line, this could result in good word of mouth for your business.
Find techs who can explain things in simple terms.
The second characteristic involves “keeping it simple.” Techs out in the field will often talk over their customers’ heads. If the customer does not follow along with what your workers tell them, they may call another company for a second opinion. If your tech explains the issue using laymen’s terms, it will help a great deal in educating the customer.
Imagine you have called a plumbing company because of a small leak in your bathroom. The tech comes out and says, “I found the issue, you had a faulty cross, coupling, and nipple. It will cost about $200 to fix.” At this point, the customer may get confused (since they likely don’t know any of those technical terms). They might call another company and get a second opinion. This time, the tech might say “I found the issue. You had a faulty cross, coupling, and nipple. This will take around $250 to fix. Come with me and I can show you what happened and all the parts that need replaced.” Doing this gives your customer a better feeling about the whole situation. By meeting them at their level and making sure they understand, your customers won’t feel like they’re being taken advantage of.
Hire techs who do it right the first time.
You want to find technicians who will adopt the motto “do it right the first time.” By ensuring that your company has techs that do it right the first time, you save the time, cost, and customer frustration that comes with multiple trips out to the customer’s location.
Let’s look at another example. Tech 1 comes out of the bathroom and says, “Alright, we are all done in there. I replaced a few parts. No more leak.” A few weeks later, the leak resurfaces and the customer calls your company again. Now, a new tech has to come diagnose and fix the issue. Turns out Tech 1 threw some leftover parts on that weren’t meant for the type of system the customer has, probably because they didn’t have the right parts on hand. Now, Tech 2 doesn’t have the parts needed to make the leak stop, either. At this point, we’re looking at a third trip to fix a simple issue.
Now for the other side. Tech 1 comes out and says “I don’t have the part, but I can get it ordered today and swing back by in a few hours to finish this.” Doing it right the first time saves you both time and money, and it will also get you a satisfied customer. You need to find techs willing to take the extra time to get things right.
Target these three simple characteristics, and you can staff your company with good techs that you can mold into great techs. Remember, a company is only as good as its people. When you upgrade your personnel from good to great, your business will follow suit.