Haley Bucelewicz | 11.24.16
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Most field service organizations recognize the importance of customer satisfaction by now. But some still put employee satisfaction in the back burner. They might not recognize that happy employees are more productive and better at making customers happy.

But think about it. One field tech hates his job because he feels undervalued by his company. Another loves his job because management values his efforts and respects his opinion. Who do you think will put more effort into repairing a customer’s HVAC system? Probably the happier one.

Research has shown a strong positive correlation between employee satisfaction, engagement, and happy customers. In other words, happy employees are more productive because they feel happy at work. And happy, motivated employees deliver a better customer experience. It makes complete sense.

Happy employees are engaged because they come to work in a good mood and care about their job. Likewise, they are knowledgeable about company practices because they care enough to learn these things. They know their accomplishments will be acknowledged, so they’re motivated to work hard. They’re driven to deliver better customer service, which leads to happy customers. And the goal of field service is to make customers happy and deliver quality service. So employee satisfaction is a win-win-win for your employees, your customers, and your business.

Best-In-Class field service organizations (who achieve on average 92-percent customer satisfaction), measure field technician engagement. By measuring their employee’s engagement levels, these companies are better equipped to improve on it. And per research from Gallup, the most engaged workplaces are more likely to have higher-than-average customer loyalty, profitability, and productivity.

So why don’t some organizations put the same emphasis on employee satisfaction as they do customer satisfaction? It might be that they don’t recognize a problem with employee satisfaction because they don’t measure it. And without this data, they probably wouldn’t know how to improve on it. Here are few ways field service organizations can keep field technicians happy:

Give your technicians more power and autonomy

Your technicians are the experts at their trades— that’s the reason you hired them in the first place. You shouldn’t need to hover over them and tell them how to do their jobs right. Trust your tech to make the right decisions and value their opinions.

Author Daniel Pink writes about the power of intrinsic motivation in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. He explains that people work harder and perform better when they believe their work matters and they have the freedom to deliver something important.

It’s also important to give techs the freedom to choose their own tools. They know from experience what tools they need for a job and what tools work best for them. They’ll likely feel more comfortable completing a job with the tools they are familiar with.

Give access to better information in the field

You shouldn’t leave your field techs hanging. They may go to a job site alone, but that doesn’t mean they should feel isolated from headquarters. Make sure your tech can access the information they need to finish the job on their first visit. This might mean access to service manuals, training videos, and customer history on their mobile device. It could also mean implementing technology such as live video support or live support via augmented reality smart glasses.

Offer incentives and reward excellence

Your employees should feel valued rather than discouraged at work. They should have a reason to work hard and perform well. In sales, employees earn commission as an incentive to sell more. Likewise, waitresses earn tips as an incentive to provide better service.

But monetary rewards have actually proven harmful. Pink explains in his book that extrinsic motivation narrows our focus to the reward. And it makes the reward separate from the satisfaction of the work. Rather, the true keys to keeping employees motivated are autonomy, purpose, and developing a sense of mastery.

Being said, praise and recognition can also be incentives for your field techs. It provides a sense of accomplishment and encourages them to work towards mastery in their trade. It’s also been found to increase productivity and loyalty to a company.

Remove obstacles in the way of getting work done

Your tech has a purpose—and that’s to solve customer problems. According to The Service Council, the best part of most field tech’s days is solving customer problems. And most techs said the worst part of their day was paperwork and administrative tasks. That’s likely because these tasks don’t help techs fulfill their purpose. Rather, it takes away time that could be spent servicing the customer. It might be time to consider mobile applications to eliminate paperwork, and allow your techs to do their job.

If you think about it, employee satisfaction is just as important as customer satisfaction. The satisfaction level of your tech determines the effort they put into a job. And it could make or break your customer satisfaction levels. Remember that when employees are happy, the entire business is happy.

If you’d like to learn more about the power of employee satisfaction and how to maintain it, follow the links below: