The Service Council recently reported the results of their latest survey of leading global service organisations. Their report concluded “In the business of customer service and service delivery, people are the product” - and went on to point out that “those who work with customers to solve issues and add value quite often are the only organisation representatives that come in direct contact with customers”.
Our latest executive briefing “7 secrets to ensuring that your field force is aligned and engaged” suggests seven specific ways you can help to ensure that you’re building the sort of highly-aligned and engaged workforce that will allow you to anticipate and address the rising tide of customer service expectations - and create a field service offering that will enable you to stand out from the crowd.
You can read the full document here, but in the meantime, here is a summary of our recommendations:
1: Focus on behaviours - not just tasks
If you’re to fully engage with your workforce and ensure that you are doing all you can to realise their potential, you can’t afford to focus only on the things you need them to do. Scheduling resources and managing tasks are just part of the picture. It’s how jobs are done, and not just what is done, that influences the achievement of outcomes.
2: Ensure you establish real-time visibility
It’s often said that you can’t hope to manage what you’re unable to measure. With a highly dispersed field force, it can be hard to see what’s really going on at the front lines of your business at all times. But without this visibility, it’s nigh on impossible to ensure that you are consistently achieving the outcomes that you are targeting.
3: Capture on-the spot feedback from customers
Traditional survey software can help managers analyse customer feedback after the event - but whilst the results might inform future strategies, they typically arrive too late to do much about the current situation. Real-time, on-the-spot feedback from customers can help to ensure that potential issues are addressed before they impact customer perceptions.
4: Identify the winning habits of top performers
Every service organisation has some of them - field workers who just seem to perform at a higher level than their colleagues. Every service manager wishes they had more of them. But unless and until managers can isolate these winning habits and identify these “patterns of performance” it’s hard to propagate these best practices across the organisations.
5: Target training based on need
A great deal of training investment remains relatively untargeted - with every employee of a certain type put through the same product or technology training regime. Unfortunately, these traditional training programmes often fail to focus on the “soft skills” that are so vital to the customer service experience. Organisations can no longer afford to waste scarce training opportunities in this way.
6: Incentivise employees based on performance
Armed with accurate performance data at the personal as well as the team level, and spanning both hard and soft values, organisations can target incentives and rewards based on individual performance. These targeted incentives have the power to encourage the desired attitudes and behaviours, as well as the outcomes achieved.
7: Recruit for aptitude and attitude as well as experience
Once organisations have identified the “winning habits” they are looking for in their field force, together with the associated attitudes and behaviours, it becomes easier to recruit for these desirable traits as well as the expected experience. Recruiting people with the right attitudes has an overwhelmingly positive impact on overall workforce performance.
You can download the full briefing here. How many of the principles are currently in practice in your service organisation? Our ground-breaking Fieldforce iQ platform could help you make them all a reality.