Why Field Technicians Are Your Sales and Service Secret Weapon
Field service technicians — jack of all trades, master of…many? This is how we should start looking at our tech’s capabilities when thinking forward in our businesses. Their value isn’t just in their ability to install or repair — they’re in the perfect position to grow your sales.
After all, sales are the name of the game in any business. Without sales, your business will die. There is a cycle that indirectly affects all aspects of your sales and service process; when you provide a wonderful customer service experience, customers are more likely to buy from you. Specifically, Bain & Company states that companies who excel at the customer experience grow revenues at a rate of 4% to 8% above their market.
Part of creating that awesome experience for your clients is your back-office customer service team. When they’re handling issues flawlessly, your customer experience will go up. But what if we could improve that at the time of service? What if we could utilize our field service staff to not only handle customer service issues but increase revenue opportunities?
The list of reasons why you should be cross-training your technicians is plentiful, but in this guide, we’re going to concentrate on what we believe to be the four most important.
Teaching Technicians to Sell and Serve
Some people hate being ‘sold’ to. There’s something unsettling about pushy sales tactics that seemingly offer little value. And even if the proposition does offer value, when presented in the wrong way, it can be a huge turn-off for a lot of customers. This is where cross-training your technicians comes into play. As you’ll soon see, selling and customer service go hand in hand, and when properly utilized, are both huge aspects of creating memorable customer experiences.
Social Proof and Influencers
Social proof is the idea that people buy things from people they trust or want to imitate. In our case, we want to demonstrate social proof from the ‘expert’ aspect. Since your technician is already on-site fixing an issue or performing some sort of service for the customer, they’re in the perfect position to upsell additional products or services. Consider this the first step into real-life influencer marketing without the need for a selfie filter or ring light.
To be clear — you should never sell something that a customer doesn’t need.
This could come back to haunt you especially if they feel like there’s no visible or tangible benefit. But a value-based recommendation from a field expert has an immensely powerful effect on the purchasing decision.
For example, a semi-annual HVAC inspection could lead to an on-the-spot filter change, ductwork maintenance, or even a smaller installation like a duct booster fan.
Part of this comes from the knowledge we gain when asking discovery questions during the scheduling process. You should offer some sort of data-gathering process — while checking to make sure all of the customer’s needs are addressed, you can look for revenue-generating opportunities. Active listening is another useful skill that benefits both service and sales opportunities. In our HVAC example, let’s imagine the customer states that one room is stuffier than the others. A well-trained technician will seize this opportunity to solve that problem on the spot. Maybe there’s a leak in the ductwork or an opportunity to perform an airflow test.
Having a sales-conscious technician allows those opportunities to be handled on the spot, which both increases the value of that job while decreasing the total cost of that technician’s labor rate.
Speaking of sales-conscious, it’s important to remember that their role is and should always be technician first, salesperson second. This helps maintain focus on your company’s true purpose of field service. If performed with integrity, their product and service recommendations will ultimately be a boost to customer service efforts.
Customer service isn’t just about fixing problems — it’s about recommending preventative solutions, too. While we’ve gone into great detail about sales, remember that this won’t always be the case.
Thanks to your employees, your customer may already be in great shape! This further bolsters our stance as to why we recommend this form of cross-training for all of your field service reps. While not every customer encounter needs to be an attempt to upsell or increase revenue directly, each interaction should be an attempt at providing great customer service experiences.
If your field technicians aren’t yet trained in sales or customer service, you can start by including them in those particular staff meetings. This will give them first-hand knowledge of how to approach customer issues or how to spot those revenue-increasing opportunities.
While in the field, commonly handled tasks such as billing or scheduling can still be routed to your back office team if they prove too complex for an in-person resolution or would otherwise interfere with your service tech’s current schedule. However, giving your technicians the ability to deliver value-added upsells or schedule simple services will only further your company’s efforts to keep your customers happy.