In any sort of business, communication is key to smooth operations and an efficient company. In field service, this can be a bit of a challenge. With field service technicians spread out all over the map, you may find it difficult to stay in touch with each one on a regular basis. Fortunately, with these tips, you can open conversations and keep everyone on the same page.
Create a Friendly, Open Company Culture
The first and most important step in building communications within your team is to create a culture that fosters open communication. If team members feel uncomfortable or intimidated, they’re far less likely to reach out with problems or concerns they may have. On the other hand, technicians who feel that they are valued members of the team will be more likely to keep you in the loop, no matter what may be happening in the field.
Building a positive company culture can be a challenge, despite the number of websites promising easy methods to achieve this goal. The truth is, techniques for improving company culture will value widely based on the personalities of the individuals in each organization. Get to know your team, spend time with them, and learn what motivates each team member. There is no shortcut to a positive culture of open communication.
Be Intentional About Your Fleet Communications
It’s important to remember that you must intentionally communicate with techs you may not see every day. While it’s easy to get lost in the busy work of managing a fleet or running a service organization, it’s vital to set aside time to communicate. By intentionally reaching out to each of your technicians regularly, you will open up lines of communication that might otherwise fall by the wayside.
First, determine a communications schedule that works well for your field service business. When you hire new technicians or identify those who may be struggling and need extra help, you might want to reach out daily to make sure they’re on track and doing well. For techs who have been on the job for decades and are used to solving their own problems, the frequency will likely be far less.
Next, set aside a specific time to speak with each tech. For some businesses, short individual meeting times for phone calls or video chats work well. For others, a quick daily or weekly group meeting before everyone heads into the field will suffice. Take some time to determine the schedule and communication style that works best for everyone on your team.
Incorporate Field Service Tools and Technology
Communication technologies have improved by leaps and bounds over the last few decades. There are field service managers working today who remember the days before mobile phones and portable internet-connected devices. Yet today, almost everyone carries a phone, a tablet, or another device with them at all times. This means you stay in contact with technicians, no matter the distance.
In addition to connected devices, software and apps allow you to make communications easy. With products like Azuga’s SafetyCam AI Premium dashcam, you can see what is happening inside the cab and outside of each vehicle in your fleet. The onboard microphone and speaker allow you to communicate with drivers in real-time, coaching them toward safer driving, and easily communicating changes in the daily schedule at the touch of a button.
Keep Your Communications Consistent
Just as it’s essential to set a consistent tone when communicating with customers, the same is true of communicating with your team. If one manager is saying one thing and another is saying the opposite, this disparate messaging creates tension and can completely shut down communication within the organization.
Ensure that all management levels are on the same page before communicating operational updates to your team. Hash out details ahead of time, and if questions arise that you’re unsure about, simply let your technicians know you’ll get right back to them, find the answer quickly, and be sure to follow up. A good organizational flow chart can help delineate which management team members are responsible for specific topics, and this will mean less confusion in the long run.
Ask for Feedback Regularly
Finally, you might be surprised how many of your employees are unlikely to offer up feedback unless they’ve been asked directly. Some may be afraid of “rocking the boat,” while others simply want to go about their day and without having to think about sending feedback to the home office.
Create a means for field technicians and other employees to submit feedback on just about any topic. This can include feedback from customers but should primarily focus on direct feedback from your team. Be sure to take note of all feedback offered, and incorporate team suggestions when possible to help your employees feel valued and appreciated.
At the end of the day, the onus for good organizational communication falls on your management team. Be sure you’re taking the time to foster good communication within your team, and you’ll reap the benefits of a more efficient operation.