In 2016, we launched the first version of our field service engineer feedback research surveys involving 200 engineers and technicians (Note: hereinafter we’ll call them “engineers” collectively). We were so pleased with the results that we decided to run a similar survey in 2018. The participation from our community has been outstanding.
Over the next five days, I’ll be sharing some interesting charts from our recently conducted survey of approximately 550 field service engineers across the globe. You can access the summary results (and data tables) here. The intent of this survey, as it was for its predecessor in 2016 (report, webinar for North America, webinar for Europe), is to uncover the voice of the front lines. We often hear from service and field service leaders, but we rarely present the voices of the front-line field service engineers.
Day 1: Why Field Service?
It isn’t the most sought-after profession, especially when we consider the types of dreams and aspirations that children typically have. This in turn is part of the problem that the overall industry is facing when it states that there is a talent crisis in engineering or repair and maintenance-oriented disciplines. The brand of field service is poor and needs some work, and all of us – analysts, software providers, service companies, consultants, and educational institutions – are responsible to reshape the image of field service. While the lure of new technology might help in reshaping the profile of work being done, the core rebranding of field service has to be built around the financial security, the safety, and the opportunity to learn and grow that the profession provides to new entrants.
The 2018 results are very similar to the 2016 results and they continue to bring an interesting discussion to the forefront. Many of the technology investments being made in field service are aimed at eliminating inefficiencies. These inefficiencies infect every part of the field service ecosystem, from call scheduling to appointment booking, and from dispatch to actual field service work completion. Field service engineers enjoy the process of figuring out a customer’s issue and deciphering the necessary steps that need to be taken to resolve the issue. It is part of the pride of being a field service engineer, and while some of this might retire with the current generation of workers, we doubt that this will completely go away. This is something that companies must consider as part of the change management thought process around new automation. If the field service engineer is only seen as a worker drone that needs to get the job done, then maybe pride has no future play, but if the field service engineer is seen as a customer asset, then the pathway adopted should be very different.
At the end of the day, field service engineers want to fix things to solve customer problems. Enabling them to do so in a professional manner is the key to improving their work. (More on this later.) Their work, and the interest in their craft, is what keeps them in the profession.
If you are interested in getting to the end, and accessing the entire deck of results, please visit us here. If you are a field service engineer, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to add your comments or email me at email@example.com. If you are a field service leader, I’m happy to chat as well.