As any business professional can tell you, not being able to fix or solve problems in a timely manner can be the death knell of productivity for many organizations, regardless of size or specific business. Therefore, it becomes critical that the service technicians, associated with your business and its various assets, be aware, capable and ready for whatever is thrown their way. This preparedness can come in many forms, but is primarily derived from the relationship between the organization and the various service techs who will be called upon to keep the business on track. Communication, information and candid discussions of expectations are all key to fostering this relationship and continuing to cultivate it over time. Let’s look at some specifics for making sure you and the service technicians can maintain a positive working situation, regardless of unforeseen future problems.
One of the first steps to gaining trust and maintaining open communicative channels is to outline expectations of service amongst the various service techs. Especially if you are working with an outside vendor and their service department, make sure the contractual language matches the regular procedures. If you don’t see a necessary service or aspect of service within the contract, don’t assume that your desires will make the service a reality. The old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ rings true, as services provided only add up to what was initially agreed upon. Even for your in-house service technicians, explicit parameters and expectations are critical for a positive working relationship, moving forward. Make sure you and the service technicians are in complete agreement about service technician expectations and actualities. Then, the level of service received from the service technicians will more accurately reflect the expectations of the service requestor, when a call is made.
Technology Fuels Success
Equip your service techs with tools that streamline the regular tasks, such as processing and tracking service requests, so they can focus on assessing the problem(s) and reducing downtime for repairs. Service Request software has been specifically designed for just this type of scenario. Instead of paper tickets or e-mail generated requests, which may end up in the wrong inbox, service request software is able to receive and notify techs of requests, track working time, and process completed tickets with technician generated notes and cost analysis. In addition, information regarding prior service requests, customer specifics, or service requestor descriptions of problems are all available, while remaining fully mobile to applicable devices.
Maintain Current Data
Although tracking performance data is nothing new, there are quite a few managerial models which suggest regularly sharing the data on success and progress, as well as failures, with the workforce. This gives a team a real view as to how their performance stacks up and where areas of improvement can be identified. These performance markers then transform into long and short term goals and by having direction and motivation, issues of accomplishment become more rewarding.
Data, or metrics also supports the team by maintaining accurate records of use and replacement of equipment, parts, tools, and even regularly scheduled servicing of machines or other assets. Involve the service departments in the metrics to help them recognize and view metrics as another tool to assist the workforce and service technicians. Then, management and workforce start to become equally aware of potential concerns and considerations, such as…
- Are staffing levels appropriate for customer needs?
- Average time for a service ticket to be processed and completed.
- Current inventory of repair parts and assets.
- Overall and specific costs associated with service tickets.
Sharing data is a win for all involved, if it is consistent and used for informative purposes, not inditement or laying blame. Make sure problems addressed are followed up with potential solutions. Remember, you want to foster a culture of success and promote positive attributes whenever possible.
How often do you just talk to your workforce? Not simply for work related conversations, but to see what they are like as people outside of the office. If you haven’t or don’t more often, make an agreement with yourself to reach out more often to the team. It doesn’t have to be an afternoon expelling neuroses or painful childhood memories. Just a 5 minute conversation, though, can make all the difference in the connectivity amongst the group. And this kind of connection is another facet to increasing the resolve and desire of the team to work hard for excellent results.
“When you invest in someone, it ... creates an environment where people want to work hard. Care about what's going on in their lives. Show them it's not just about ... the bottom line or getting the job done — it's about what you're doing together. If you genuinely care for someone and their well-being, they'll allow themselves to be pushed harder because it's not coming from a place of greed." – Jay Bacrania, CEO, Signet Education
Technology, communication and checks and balances may seem like obvious managerial tools, but these are simply words and thoughts. How you turn them into actions will make the real difference. Know your people and provide them with the best tools, and they will strive to do their part to make your organization perform at the highest level.