What is a simple question that delivers exceptional service and generates profitable revenue? It’s the one question that every field service technician should ask. So, why isn’t every field service technician asking it?
In our workshops, we discuss the value that field service professionals provide by bringing opportunities to our customers’ attention that can help them operate their facilities/processes more effectively. One way to uncover these opportunities is to ask this question, “Is there anything else that I can help you with today?”
Strangely, only 10% to 20% are asking this question
When I ask how many in attendance ask that question, I am amazed that typically only 10% or 20% put up their hands. And I am further amazed at how enthusiastic those who do ask the question are about the value that they are creating by asking it. To drive the point home of how valuable this question is for the customer, I simply ask those who do use the question a few questions. The discussion usually goes like this:
Jim: Tell me, when you ask the question, how does the customer respond? Do they tell you that it is none of your business?
Tech: [Chuckle] Of course not. Actually, they appreciate the question. I often get one of three responses:
- Can’t think of anything.
- Thanks for reminding me. We have been having …
- You guys don’t happen to do [some service need], do you?
Jim: Do you think your customers appreciate the fact that you ask that question?
Tech: Sure do. It reminds them of something that they intended to speak to me about. Sometimes we get opportunities to provide services that they didn’t previously buy from us because they didn’t know we did it. It also provides clues to potential underlying problems that we can help with.
Jim: Can you think of any reason why you should not ask the question?
Tech: No. It’s a great question. It’s good for the customer and it’s good for us.
Why don’t more service managers ensure their field service teams asks?
If this question is of such value and is appreciated by customers, why don’t more of us as service managers ensure that everyone on our field service team ask it? One reason I suppose, is the one given to me by some of the attendees. They tell me that they don’t ask the question because they will not have time to respond to the customer’s request if it does arise. They have other customers to attend to and don’t have a lot of “spare time” to address additional issues. Although I can see their point, does it have to be a reason not to ask? And, if we don’t ask the question, who will the customer turn to to get any outstanding issues resolved?
Make asking the question a part of your service technician’s routine
My suggestion is to make the question part of the service discussion at the end (or the beginning) of each service call, and then teach the technicians how to address the three typical customer responses (see above). We can clarify with our field teams what our expectations are for “having a quick look” and what they can say to delay any follow up without giving the impression of putting the customer off. If time is really an issue, we can provide clear steps the field team can take to get another team member to deal with the issue.
This questions provides great customer service and may help your bottom line
By asking if there is anything else that we can do for the customer today, we provide an excellent service to the customer by reminding them of issues they wanted to talk to us about, uncovering larger issues that may be underlying the customer’s response and informing the customer of other things we do as a service organization. No doubt we have some on our team that provide this level of service for our customers. Why not all?
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. You can connect with me via telephone or email or leave a comment right here on the site. And as always, please feel free to leave a link back to your own blog if you have one via the commentluv feature here on the site. If you are reading this blog post via email, you will need to locate this post on my website by clicking here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will find the comment section.
“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.”
– Eugene Ionesco