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Are Your Techs Afraid of the "C" Word (Commitment) ?

6 Mar, 2002 By: Ronelle Ingram imageSource

Are Your Techs Afraid of the "C" Word (Commitment) ?

field service personnel requires an entire different set of skills than managing
in-house employees. Effectively supervising field reps requires the techs to
"buy into" whatever procedure management requests. Just telling employees
who predominantly work away from the office to do something usually won’t
work. Once an employee is out of sight, management edicts can be quickly


personnel must believe in the worth of any recommended changes. The best way to
get techs to “buy into an idea,” is to make the ideas for change to come
from the techs. It is much easier to get a tech to follow their own suggestions
than to follow management’s new rules.


in the United States are at a twenty-year high. It is vital that each employee
realizes their work habits have a direct effect on their worth as an employee.
Many entrepreneur companies are educating their staff to the realities of
employee value. Rather than laying people off, management is emphasizing the
need for each employee to be responsible for generating more profits than their
employment costs the company.



I was preparing this year’s service department budget, I asked my field techs
for their suggestions on what could they personally do to improve the service
department’s profit margins. At a service meeting, I handed out a sheet of
paper asking the question: What Am I
Personally Going To Do To Make FKM a Stronger Company?
I asked every tech to
commit in writing something they, as an individual, could do in the coming year
to help secure all of our jobs. Below are direct quotes from the questionnaires
that were returned after the service meeting (the grammar and tense may not be
perfect, but the commitment shines through).


Remember that the other 16 hours of the day are possible because of the 8 hours
I spend here.

In an effort to help bring in new business, I will give out my business card
when I’m in an office that might have a need for our services.

Reduce the number of callbacks that are created through negligence on my part.

I plan to become more concerned with my education and work performance.

Treat FKM as if it is my company. Because it is.

Talk to my friends and other people I do business with about what I do. You
never know when a friend or business associate will need something we sell.

Ask for referrals.

Always thank our customers. They ultimately are the one who are responsible for
our paycheck.

Handout the flyers we are given in the service meeting to our current customers.

I would volunteer to attend "Digital" meetings on a Saturday once a
month. I think we need to spend more time practicing setting up on new machines.

Return all unused parts to inventory (especially those I have been storing in my
garage because I never use them).

I will play a larger career part with the senior members or the FKM service

Turn leads for machine sales and M /A’s

Use my own towels to keep cost down (I can wash them at home).

Bring my vacuum to all PM’s and use it. Vaccum or replace all filters. Doing
the job right, the first time saves time and money.


Leave a written account of anything that needs to be done on the copier that the
customer is unwilling to pay for (Waiver). In addition, let dispatch know so
they can record what is needed and how much has been quoted.

I will maximize my time on calls by doing paper work and cleaning exterior of
copier while copier is warming up.

Read the Bulletins. Remember what I have read. Update (do mods) when

I will provide time for customers' questions and concerns, while still using my
time wisely and efficiently.

I am personally going to school to learn about networks so I could use it on my
daily duties at work.

Get to work early and do that extra service call a day.

I’m working on putting my entire inventory in an excel spreadsheet to enable
me to update my inventory daily.

Car maintenance. Develop a list (game plan) of maintenance needs and budget
expense check money for car expenses only. Do not use my car expense money as my
personal allowance.

Take advantage of more video training and CD ROM interactive training and train

I will return all over ordered toners and disposal bottles in customers’
offices that have a Cost Per Copy Service Agreement.

Accuracy will help reduce unnecessary parts replacement.

Keep doing my job, working as a group with the service department.

I’m going to continue to strive for excellence in my personal life, which
directly affects the way you work, and your attitude in the job that you do.

I will share the knowledge I gain through education or on the job training with
other technicians so we all will improve.

Keep parts inventory more accurate.

I’m always aware that I represent FKM by how well I do my job and how
customers perceive me.

Use my sick time only when I am really sick.

I will continue to be at work everyday and on time.

Find new ways to assist sales in their sales cycle, especially with printers
and networked copiers.


here is earth shaking or original. This is an excellent list of the little
things that can make a huge difference. Every tech can always do a little more.
Effective managers must remind and encourage their field staff to always put
their best foot forward.


shared this list of with all my techs. Each tech could directly connect with one
suggestion. I made sure I included the comments from every questionnaire that
was turned in. Most could easily commit to at least half of the other listed


plan to revisit this list of personal goals each quarter during the next year. I
will re-handout the list. I will ask each tech to check, circle and underline
the items they have been able to accomplish. The list will be theirs to keep as
a reference.


the end of the year, I hope to see a list full of checks, circles, and
underlines. This can be used as a guideline for improvement; a visual way to see
accomplishments; a list of success.

techs can accomplish an enormous amount of good will with our customer base.
Techs have time to think about their goals and accomplishments as they drive
from service call to service call. Part of being a manager is creating an
atmosphere of good will and appreciation.


challenge everyone to go back to your own service departments. Pose the question   
What Am I Personally Going To Do
To Make ______________ A Stronger Company?"


what types of answers you receive from your field service techs. If you have
success, please email me the results. I will print them in a future column.

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