“We believe that customer service shouldn’t be just a department; it should be the entire company.”
- Tony Hsieh, Founder and CEO of Zappos.com
As an extension of your company, field engineers are more than just a problem solvers; they’re also the customer service department in action.
Timeliness is essential to both your customers and your bottom line. Though technology is helping to narrow the traditional 4-hour window of arrival for the field engineer, on-time arrival accomplishes only one part of an engineer’s visit. Frankly, if all your business can offer today’s customer is an on-time arrival, it can still end up lagging behind the competition.
Achieving excellent representation of your brand requires operations to extend beyond an on-time arrival. It must also include the service engineer’s face-to-face time with the customer. Creating a service visit that’s focused on establishing rapport and relieving the customer’s stress will build a relationship with your customers and result in a better experience for them and ultimately, improved loyalty.
Achieving this level of relationship-building service can be achieved through three C-s of hiring and developing customer-focused field engineers:
Technical competency is a key requirement for any new hire. But, what about the ability to solve unexpected problems or relate with diverse types of people? The customers of today’s service industries demand that a field engineer’s skill set include the ability to provide relatable, personable service.
When considering a candidate for hire, it’s beneficial to evaluate if the individual is capable of connecting with your customers, in addition to being able to resolve any technical issues they’re assigned to. He or she must be able to navigate the sometimes challenging nature of interpersonal relationships by using people skills, especially when they’re faced with a disgruntled customer. Their ability to do so may be the deciding factor to prevent a customer from churning.
Everyone on a job site feels the stress created when a project is halted because a vital piece of equipment is down. Sometimes, pressure to resume work to maintain a project schedule can make everyone involved relax basic courtesies and politeness. When your field engineer arrives on site, they need maintain their professional composure and become a source of solution and reassurance.
Simple politeness and courtesy can go a long way to help build a customer relationship or calm a frustrated operations manager. In fact, most business professionals understand that interruptions in work due to the need for service or support can happen with any equipment or technology. A service engineer who can provide calm, informed direction and resolution of an unexpected issue is a valuable asset to your company. Your customer will remember a courteous and friendly visit and feel a positive connection with your brand.
Whether it’s between the office and the engineer, or the engineer and the customer, clear communication is a foundational part of successful customer service. It’s imperative that the field engineer receives clear instruction of the work to be performed before he or she arrives at the customer’s site. Likewise, it’s just as important that they are able to demonstrate an understanding of the customer’s business. This helps to create an opportunity for them to provide education about the use and maintenance of your products or services, partnering with them to becoming better customers.
By developing a field service workforce that uses these three C’s, you increase your level of value and create loyalty that helps to develop customers for life. This provides stability for your business and positions it to grow for years to come.