Last week we covered why field service engineers chose the profession of field service. In part 2 of our 5-part ‘voice of the field service engineer’ blog series (part 1 can be found here) we ask engineers what has changed about their day-to-day work.
Day 2: The Transformation of Field Service Work
Most engineers agree that the knowledge required to service products has changed. As products have an increasing array of software and digital components, the diagnosis and resolution of service issues requires a newer skill set. It is worth noting that those engineers that have been in the field for longer are unanimous in their agreement that the knowledge requirements of today’s field service engineer are changing. This has broad implications in terms of learning and development investments that need to be made to ensure that engineers are consistently up to speed on the service work that has to be done. The changing knowledge profile also raises the discussion of specialization. It might not be feasible to keep everyone trained on all the service aspects of every service product. Therefore, it might make sense to develop teams of specialists who focus on specific service areas and products. These specialists can then be used to work in their areas of expertise or to assist and train generalists when they encounter more specific service issues and needs.
The two other major takeaways from the results involve:
- Increasing management demands and pressure around work. As field service leaders are faced with increasing pressure to churn out more work, that pressure rolls downhill and impacts those on the front-lines. This was a major theme of our 2018 study and was seen in greater frequency when compared to our 2016 survey. Field service engineers are being pushed to complete a greater number of tasks and increase productivity. In certain organizations, field service engineers are also being pressured to uncover and bring in new revenue opportunities. This constant pressure to do more can be a worrying trend, especially if engineers feel a lack of support and resources in getting additional work done.
- The Impact of Technology. Younger engineers express slightly higher favorability toward the impact of technology on their service work. For those with more experience, less than one half indicate that available tools actually make it easier for them to get their job done. In the era where organizations are spending a lot of time worrying about customer effort, it might make sense to spend some time in improving the effort with which engineers can acquire the information or resources that they need to get work done.
Tomorrow, we’ll publish results documenting the best and worst parts of the field service engineers’ work days. If you are interested in getting to the end, and in 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a field service leader, I’m happy to chat as well.
About the ‘Voice of the field service engineer’ project:
In 2016, we launched the first version of our field service engineer feedback research surveys involving 200 engineers and technicians. We were so pleased with the results that we decided to run a similar survey in 2018 which yielded participation from 550 engineers. You can access the summary results (and data tables) here. The intent of this survey, as it was for its predecessor in 2016, 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.