June 2013

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Field Technicians and Sales Building a Better Connection to Your Customers He's there to fix a machine – but you can make the most of all jobsite opportunities by teaching field techs how to repair and strengthen customer relationships, too. By Barry Himmel When I speak with dealers regarding their dealership's customer service needs, inevitably the discussion will gravitate toward the service delivered by their field service techs. They talk about how their techs are often the most important person in building a quality and trusting relationship with their customers. The time that these techs spend at the customer's location is critical. They are engaged to work on what may be the customer's most expensive and important piece of equipment. If the equipment is not working, then the dealer's customer is not making money. Not only do the techs have to fix the equipment, they need to repair and strengthen the relationship you have with your customers. Not a small job! When it comes to being in front of the customer, your techs have more exposure than perhaps anyone else in your organization. They become the face of your company. You work hard to prepare them to fix the equipment. You send them to classes, provide detailed manuals, buy them expensive trucks and tools, and give them time to practice. However, when it comes to building customer relationships, how much training and coaching do they get? If the customer is not complaining, they must be doing a good job – right? Dealers recognize the need for this development. You have some great techs and you know what an asset they are to the organization. Your customers love them. However, when it comes to training techs there are a couple of challenges. The one I hear most often is taking the techs out of the field, even for a few hours. The productivity of the tech is directly linked to revenue. If they are participating in training they are not generating revenue. There is also the challenge related to reinforcing the skills in training. How do you ensure that the skills presented in the training are being implemented? In recognizing the importance of developing these skills, there are several things you can do to build this culture of excellence among your field service techs. n Set standards and expectations. It is difficult (even impossible) to change behaviors when techs don't fully understand what is expected of them related to delivering exceptional customer service. Setting achievable standards brings clarity and direction to your expectations. Many dealerships have standards that include appearance, greeting the customer, thanking the customer, and keeping the customer current on their progress. n Develop buy-in. As a training company, we never minimize the importance of buy-in. Your techs need to know that their job extends beyond repairing the equipment. They are your ambassadors and you appreciate and value the important job they do. n Training. I understand that it is hard to dedicate time to training your techs in customer service skills; however, it will be a good investment for you. You can get creative on when 40 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | June 2013 40_Field_Tech_feature_KP.indd 40 5/31/13 1:02 PM

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