Service Technician Careers Part 3: Invest in Your Field Workforce for Increased Retention Rates

Aug 21, 2014

Attracting quality technicians can be a huge burden for service organizations. Invest in your current workforce to keep them on your team.

repair technicianYour repair technicians are the frontline of your service operation. They’re the ones who get down and dirty, making sure the job gets done well and on time so your client stays happy. The best thing you can do to improve SLA compliance rates, decrease employee turnover, and create a happier work environment is to invest in your technicians with time and resources.

We already know that, within the realm of service technician careers, the demand for skilled technicians is on the rise, and recruiting and hiring new workers is a huge challenge facing service organizations today. But, while it’s important to focus on hiring new talent, everyone knows it’s cheaper and generally preferable to retain skilled, loyal workers. Here we’ll go through how you can invest in your technicians to prevent employee churn, increase productivity, and improve morale across your workforce.

While there are plenty of ways to help your techs, here are a couple of investments that will have lasting, positive effects for your workers and organization:

1. Invest in technician training

While training technicians on the job may seem obvious, routine training is easy to overlook in service organizations, especially busy ones. Providing continuous training for your technicians, whether it’s in person or online, will help them master various repairs, solidify their understanding of the operation and ensure they have the skillset needed to fulfill your customers’ SLA’s.

If you need to teach new topics quickly, host a newsletter, weekly bulletin, or company blog that details trending product issues and provides instructions/tools needed to address those issues.

You might even consider investing in professional training programs, like Caterpillar’s ThinkBIG, to prepare your techs to compete in an increasingly demanding service environment.

2. Invest in mobile apps and other field technology for technicians

mobile technologiesIn the grand scheme of things, making your technicians’ jobs easier and work-lives happier will eventually make your job easier and organization more productive. That’s why investing in a service management application and mobile solution can be tremendously beneficial; it allows your techs to work better and faster.

With a mobile app at their fingertips, techs can:

  • View schedule in real-time
  • Access to a visual scheduler creates seamless connectivity between the scheduler and technicians in the field. Techs receive live alerts on their mobile device about changes to their schedule. And schedulers receive real-time information about technician location, status, and skill-set.
  • Update technician status and labor time
  • Instead of calling or driving back to the office, technicians can update their hours and active status and sync to the back office in real time.
  • Track and manage assets and inventory
  • Field techs with visibility into their customers’ equipment and the tools they need to solve the problem experience higher success rates and generally more pleasant experiences with their customers.
  • Gain full access into service & work-order history
  • When techs are aware of customer and equipment service history and work-order details, they can walk onto a job site with confidence, knowing where to go, who to talk to, and what to fix.
  • View warranty and contract details

When technicians have access to warranty and service contract information, they don’t have to worry about charging the customer incorrectly or looking up details before performing a service. They appear knowledgeable and prepared in the eyes of the customer. They can even see which pieces of equipment don’t have a service contract and work on selling a new contract while they’re on the job site.

Service

Access repair instructions - Nothing is more frustrating than when you’ve been working for hours and can’t figure out how to fix a problem. With a field service app, technicians can look up instructions in word or video form and view them right on their mobile device. They can even see which other techs might be free to come and help them or answer a call if they really get stuck.

Perform inspections - A mobile inspection app speeds and improves tedious inspections processes. With a drag and drop builder and mobile reporting, companies can customize inspection forms, and quickly sync them into the system for fast action and analysis. Technicians no longer need to print cumbersome forms or travel back-and-forth to the office.

With the ability to view and document information on their mobile device, technicians no longer need to perform pesky paper processes or manual documentation procedures. Instead, they can do what they came to do: service and repairs.

Retain Knowledge for Future Workers

In addition to providing technicians the tools and information they need, a fully integrated mobile strategy allows workers to take notes and document information so that it’s instantly saved and easily accessible to anyone in the company. With your best technicians’ wisdom stored in a company-wide database, you won’t lose that expert knowledge when they do retire or leave the company.

Prevent Employee Churn

think bigOne of the best ways to improve customer relationships and loyalty is to retain technicians by showing them they’re appreciated and preparing them with the right training and tools. Your customers will appreciate the consistency and professionalism, and your technicians will thank you with their hard work and loyalty.

With the near-dire demand for skilled service technicians, you can’t risk losing the quality workers you already have. Take the necessary steps to keep them on board.

About Joanna Rotter

Joanna is the content marketing specialist at MSI Data, a provider of field service management software, and creator of the enterprise field service app, Service Pro.