Putting Your Best Techs on Every Site
In my last post, I talked about the two things that the companies I’ve talked to tell me are their differentiating factors: integrity and having the best service technicians. In that first post, I shared stories with you about how and why integrity needs to be verified and justified. Now, let’s talk about the second part of what customers consistently tell me sets them apart: their technicians.
My view on this is that just the fact that your service company has great technicians doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them better tools. And I believe technology can help your technicians complete higher quality jobs with less wasted time by helping them to be better prepared for every customer while increasing their knowledge in the process.
How Much Does an Unprepared Technician Cost Your Company?
One problem that I hear a lot about from field service technicians is how poor field notes usually are. For example, I recently spoke with a technician that said, in his experience, about 80 percent of the time when he goes to a new job, he spends the first 15 minutes on the phone with the previous technician that serviced that customer trying to find out what service was performed, as well as any context needed around the service call. Most of these 15 minutes are spent describing which building they are at, which machine, and the problem at hand.
That 15 minutes is time that he can’t be properly diagnosing and addressing a problem, and 15 minutes he is stealing from the technician on the phone. because needs the information about that last call to do a great job on the current service. This process is costing your technicians valuable time which means it’s costing your business money.
To compound this cluster, consider that this is a process that’s repeated across every one of your technicians on every unfamiliar customer they service. Maybe you have 100 technicians and they’re each doing three jobs a day. Each one of them is spending 15 minutes talking to the previous technicians that serviced each of those jobs to find out the context of the previous service call. In this example, that could cost your company as much as 50 hours of productive time a day. That’s a huge drain on your resources.
The good news is that technology provides your technicians with an easy way to capture those field notes. Leveraging the available technology tools through a structured workflow, your technicians can pull relevant video clips, photos, and information about everything that happens during a service from the beginning of the call to the completion of the service.
But that information isn’t useful if it just lands in a Dropbox folder, or stored on Google Drive somewhere. It needs to be accessible to those techs. Fortunately, technologies like natural language processing can be used to pull relevant keywords from the recordings as tags that can be searched for easy retrieval. This provides an easy and seamless (read:actually doable) way to record a complete picture of the previous service call, without relying on a technician to keep (and enter) legible service notes. Using that technology over time over time, all of the information captured in the field can then be combined to an entire, well-documented history of all the customer’s service calls, all of which can be available to whatever service technician is on-site, from his mobile device.
The Knowledge Techs Need, When and Where They Need It
Those same capabilities can be expanded with additional technologies to provide your technicians with the knowledge they need, when they need it.
Here’s what I mean: one of our Customer Success Managers, Mike Mantegna, worked for 10 years as a commercial service technician for a global company. The company had tons of resources, but when I asked Mike how he found information on products he was unfamiliar with in the field, his answer was, “I Googled it.”
Google is a great resource but sending your technicians to Google to find wiring diagrams, manuals, and other information about the products they are servicing isn’t the best use of their time.
Instead, leveraging technologies like natural language processing and optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities could mean that every word of every document you scan into your system could be analyzed and appropriately tagged with keywords. This means you can scan in wiring diagrams, manuals, and other relevant information which, using technology, could be automatically tagged with the same key words that are used to tag associated videos and photos.
For example, if one of your technicians needs to find information a “Trane CGAM 100-ton chiller”, they can search for that and pull back all of the relevant information about that specific unit. At XOi, we started with training videos and photo content, but now have combined it with non-media content to provide a rich knowledge delivery platform that keeps your technicians off Google and on to meaningful information they need onsite when they need it.
So if great techs and integrity are the reasons your customers turn to you, ask yourself this question: How are you going to ensure that your great techs and your deep integrity will still be the winning combination in the future?
We think XOi Vision™ is the answer.