Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wall: Wall-breaking in Field Service
Walls can protect us. We learn that from an early age, as in the “three little pigs” story.
But walls can also block and hinder us. In such cases, we may wish to have a wolf – not a big bad one, but a big friendly one – to huff and puff and blow the walls down. Since big friendly super powered wolves are hard to find, we’d better find a way to break down the walls ourselves.
What does all of this have to do with field service? Everything. First, field service is an organizational process, and like any such process it has walls: boundaries between departments, between territories, between enterprise software systems and more. Most of these boundaries are there for very good reasons: Just imagine what field service would look like when there is no division and allocation of labor and responsibility. However, the existence of each wall implies that some things are on one side of the wall, potentially hindered from access, visibility and cooperation with whatever is on the other side.
Second, field service is a service process, so it inherently involves crossing the boundary between the service provider and its customers. This is the wall surrounding the whole company, so there is an understandable tendency to treat it as separating “us” (company employees) from “them” (everybody else). No wonder customers sometimes feel like they’re talking to a wall…
Lastly, field service is a field activity, so the service engineers must operate out of the service organization’s physical location. Thus, they may be cut off from the organizational and social interaction and access which other workers enjoy. Imagine the field service technician, walled off from both his co-workers due to physical distance, and walled off from the customer by the us/them boundary. That’s not a pretty site, especially since engineers often choose this line of work because they like to work with people…
It doesn’t have to be as bad as that. Indeed, most service organizations have created at least some openings in the walls in order to make life easier for everyone – office employees, field employees, customers, contractors, suppliers etc.
Still, there’s a lot of work yet to be done. There are still walls which we often notice in field service organizations and processes. We have identified eight such walls which tend to appear often, and in an upcoming webinar series we will discuss each: the symptoms as well as the possible cures.
Yet, we are sure the field service community can contribute more ideas on walls and how to break them. So, we are breaking down yet another wall: the wall between webinar authors and webinar listeners. We are inviting you to be authors and contribute your own ideas, out of which we’ll pick the best three for a prize (an Apple iPad) and for inclusion in the webinars.