Your field service team can add tremendous value to your service relationships when they recommend products and services that you can provide that will help your customers be better off. They are in a unique position to do this; they have the knowledge of the technology, an inside understanding of your customer’s current processes and equipment and, hopefully an appreciation of your customer’s goals and objectives. They also have proximity to the customer. The question is however, if you engage your technicians in promoting your services, do you tell your customers?
Do You Tell Your Customers?
I recently spoke at the Field Service Forum in Amsterdam. I asked how many of the attendees either formally or informally encouraged their technicians to proactively recommend their services to their customers. About 60% of the room raised their hands. I then asked how many of those who raised their hands told their customers that they were engaging their technicians in this way and not a single person responded that they did. This is entirely consistent with other discussions that I have had.
How about you? Do you tell your customers? Do you tell them that you are encouraging your technicians to look for products and services to recommend to them? If you are not, you are missing out on an important opportunity.
Let’s examine one of the reasons why we seem so hesitant to let our customers know about the promotion of products and services by our technicians. I believe that underlying our reluctance is that we tend to see the actions of our technicians as a “selling” activity. And, it’s hard to promote “selling” as a benefit to our customers.
Where is the value for the customer in a conversation that goes like this? “Mr./Mrs. Customer, I want you to know that we have encouraged our technicians to look for opportunities for us to sell you more services so that we can increase the revenues we receive from you.” It’s hard to see any value in this statement, regardless of how noble our intentions or those of our field service team are.
Remember, It is a Service
The key is to keep in mind that we want our technicians to use their expertise and proximity to look for opportunities to help the customer and raise these with the customer when they find them. This is valuable because the actions of our technicians can truly help our customers to be better off and to achieve their business goals. Their recommendations therefore, are a service.
Yes, as service providers, we do benefit from this proactive activity through increased service revenues, but those revenues are our reward in return for the value of the service that we provide. By regarding the proactive activities of our technicians through a service lens, it becomes easier to promote their activities just like we would any other service that we provide.
Have this Conversation with your Customers
An excellent way to promote the proactive actions of our technicians is to have this conversation with our customers. “Mr./Mrs. Customer, we have provided direction and training to our technicians to encourage them to look for opportunities to help you operate your facility/processes more effectively while they are performing the service. Would you have any objection when they find something that will help you achieve your business goals, if they bring the opportunity to your attention?”
By explaining the actions of our technicians in this way, we are able to communicate the value of their efforts for the customer.
If you formally or informally engage your technicians in business development activities, I encourage you to tell your customers – and let them know why it is of value for them.
Promote their efforts to your customers as a point of difference. Let them know that you are providing your “heads” as well as your “hands”. When they recognize the value of these efforts and benefit from the resulting recommendations, they will be delighted that you have engaged your technicians in this way.
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“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
– Woodrow Wilson