The Importance of Sales and Device Training for the New Field Service Technician

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As improvements in remote diagnostics and smart enabled products increase first time fix rates and enable more preventative repair, the role of the field service technician is evolving to fit the changing needs of their customers. In the past, a technician needed to be able to quickly diagnose and fix a malfunctioning product on-site, but there was much less of a focus on taking advantage of that time spent from a sales perspective. As improving diagnostic technology means that technicians can be remotely guided by a small core team of master techs, they are increasingly able to carry a more communication heavy line of competencies. When smart enabled products are added to the picture, with the ability to report when they are nearing a malfunction in order to reduce or even eliminate down time, the new field tech is in an advantaged position in terms of making a customer connection and upselling contracts.

The former scenario surrounding a service call, wherein a highly competent, but perhaps less customer service trained tech arrives on site to fix a machine that has potentially been broken down for some time, does not set up the means to create a strong customer connection or sales opportunity. Things have changed, and now service executives realize the importance of a high level of customer service in conjunction with a proactive approach to meeting consumer needs. Add mobile devices to the equation, and it allows a whole lot to get done by a single onsite technician or small team.

Field Service 1Where training comes into the picture is in enabling the highest level of effectiveness from this new breed of service tech. Hiring for soft skills is a trend, pointing to the fact that the sales and device enabled technician is able to create and actualize business opportunities while on site. However, in order for this potential to become a reality, it is important to make sure that the full picture is there in terms of training to support desired outcomes. In an interview with the Field Service team, Ken Walsh, VP of Engineering and Operations at London Hydro, said, “One of the common problems I’d observed coming to Field Service was companies were investing in newly developing technology to aid technicians in the field, but neglecting to adequately train them on the devices themselves. Companies want to be able to say to their technicians, ‘use this iPad to do a diagnostic test’, but before you give somebody an iPad they have to know the basics of how that iPad works. If they can’t get a signal, if it doesn’t boot up, or if it locks up on them, they need to know what to do.”

Recognizing the movement of the industry, it is one thing to take steps to put the right tools in the hands of technicians. It is another to make sure that they have the full range of skills that will allow them to take advantage of the unique sales and relationship building opportunities made possible by technology. Putting together the whole picture of the new field service technician will be one of the topics covered this year at Field Service Fall, the premier forum for service executives to share their successes. Discover what the future holds for the industry in technology and human capital from your peers; it’s a learning opportunity you don’t want to miss.

By Andrew Greissman ,  Digital Content Manager for WBR and a guest blogger of Appolis.  For more information you can contact us at or 612-343-0404.

by Appolis, Inc.

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