Service Council research and conversations with Service Council members reveals that more and more service organizations either already have, or are considering, moving to a blended workforce. That is, a service workforce comprised of both direct W2 employees and independent contractor organizations or individuals. Of course, these independent contractors must be well trained and thoroughly vetted to ensure accurate service delivery.
The reasons for incorporating contractors into a blended workforce, and the benefits to be gained by doing so, are numerous. For example, data from the Service Council’s 2021 Service Leaders Agenda survey exposes “Workforce and Talent Shortages” and “Lack of Resources” as top challenges service executives will face this year.
Augmenting an existing direct field technician workforce with well qualified and trained contractors is an obvious way to alleviate those challenges.
Moreover, Service Council’s 2021 Voice of the Field Service Engineer (VoFSE) survey reveals that more than 70% of actual technicians in the field feel:
- today’s products are more complex
- more knowledge, specifically more technical expertise, is required to service those products
- both customer demands and management demands are greater
- they are required to travel more
A service workforce incorporating independent contractors can help relieve each of these burdens. For example:
- Contractors can take on more predictable tasks, such as inspections, routine preventive maintenance, moves/adds/changes, etc. Freeing the direct workforce to focus on mentoring and training to increase their technical expertise.
- An augmented workforce can ease the pressures on the direct workforce due to increased customer demands by allowing them to spend more quality time working with customers.
- It may also strengthen technicians’ abilities to adhere to company and management-imposed processes and reporting requirements by freeing sufficient time for the techs to adhere to those requirements, thus easing management pressure.
- And, using contractors to service equipment in remote areas will also lessen the burden travel often imposes on field engineers.
The 2021 VoFSE survey also uncovers what field engineers like best about their jobs:
- they like solving customer problems,
- they enjoy fixing and repairing things,
- many say they like meeting and interacting with customers.
An augmented workforce taking on more routine tasks, such as those mentioned earlier, frees the direct field force to concentrate further on the things they enjoy most, while strengthening customer relationships at the same time.
Service contractors can bolster service delivery, boost direct technician engagement and productivity, enhance customer loyalty and satisfaction, and potentially reduce overall service costs.
Furthermore, well-qualified, well-trained, and carefully vetted contractors can help provide “Technician Agnostic Service.” In other words, service delivery that is consistent, reliable, and thorough – no matter who is providing the service.