In the first blog in this series, we talked about the first step to create a Proactive Service® focus for your field service team. The second step involves encouraging them to get to know your customers’ business goals. At first glance this may seem a bit off of the beaten path of the technical nature of their job, but it is critical in providing a higher level of service. A technician who understands the business goals and challenges faced by the customer will be attuned to opportunities to help their customers achieve them.
Without knowing the goals of the customer, how can our technicians make valuable recommendations? A solution that works for one company might be contrary to the needs of another. There is a wonderful story circulating around the Internet that illustrates the danger of solving problems without understanding the business goals. Perhaps you have read it. It goes something like this.
An employee of a large company was working late one evening. She sees the CEO of the company standing in front of the shredding machine with a piece of paper in his hand. He looks completely at a loss of what to do. He asks the employee to help him make it work, explaining that his executive assistant has left for the day. The employee is delighted to help and takes the paper, turns on the shredder and feeds the document into the machine. As the paper disappears into the shredder, the CEO says “Thank you. That is an extremely important document. I only need one copy.” Oops!!!
Understanding the customer’s business goals adds a critical piece of information to help the technician solve the puzzle of what they can do to help. Knowing this will ensure the recommendations address the right problem, or as in the story above, prevent the creation of a new one.
How can a technician understand the business goals and challenges of the customer? There are several ways, including doing Internet research, reading annual reports and catching up on the trade press for example. But perhaps the best and easiest way is simply to ask. This does not have to be a sophisticated discussion, but merely a conversation with the customer. For example, the tech might ask about the most challenging aspects of building maintenance or what problems that, if eliminated, would make life much easier for the customer. Or inquire about the most common complaints raised by tenants. They may ask about their interest in LEED certification for existing buildings. They may even ask about long-term plans for the building or process. As managers, we can identify the best questions for our customer base and provide these for the technician.
An informed technician who can make recommendations that can directly contribute to their customer’s goals, is a valuable business partner. They do more than fix things – they make things better.
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“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”