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Field Service Managers Roles & Responsibilities

22 Oct, 2007 By: John Reburn imageSource

Field Service Managers Roles & Responsibilities

Let's begin by acknowledging that there is a wealth of performance measuring
software and tracking tools that can report nearly all aspects of technician
productivity and quality of work to the field service manager.  Examples of such
reports include response time, open call activity and technician tracking. In
fact when it comes to copier service, and if it breathes, it can be measured. So
with this backdrop what does one do with all this data? Clearly, one has to
interpret the data and then make decisions based upon its relevancy. Then you
execute, follow-up, and go back to measuring and interpreting more data. The
more important question to pose is, just what role the field service manager
will play in effectively bringing about a successful outcome to the process.
After all, it's the field service manager that bears the greatest responsibility
with the execution of most service plans, so you must have them in top form for
you to be successful. Here are a few areas of focus some Field Service Managers
receive, or should receive, in training:

Work Ethic

This is defined as a set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work
and diligence; a belief in and devotion to hard work, duty, and responsibility. 
One cannot expect his/her technician to start their day at 8:00 a.m. unless the
Field Service Manager does so himself. Getting in a full work day starts from
the top and permeates down to the field with your actions. Accuracy in
reporting, no matter how good or how bad the numbers look, should not be
altered, changed or have portions omitted to produce a desirable report for
others to view. You will cheat yourself and your technicians by allowing others
to believe everything is fine when, in fact, it is not.   And never make any
negative comments concerning customers (internal or external) or on product or
employees. We have all seen when a viable product life cycle is cut prematurely
short due to careless comments or poorly worded memos or emails.  The
“refrigerator test” phrase was coined by top CEO,  Tom Johnson,  referring to
the photos & notes that  you proudly display on the fridge for others to see. 
The same goes for work;  post (say & send) only that which you would be proud
of,  if it was reviewed.

Partnering with Dispatch

This is to utilize Dispatch to enhance field operations and effectiveness.
It begins with daily communications with your dispatchers. With Dispatch being
the center for your communications to the field, you must be speaking to them
throughout the day, asking for customer concerns, response time issues, and
field productivity.  You should have a dispatcher attend your service meetings
on a regular basis. This helps both the technicians and your dispatcher to
become more familiar and even understanding of each others' roles and how their
overall performance can effect your customers. This also fosters teamwork and
camaraderie within your department. Let Dispatch be your eyes and ears to the
field.  Teach them to alert you throughout the day when service calls begin to
get backed-up or technicians get stuck on calls so you can make proactive
decisions to address those concerns before they get out of control. No-fault
two-way communications in Dispatch makes decision making easier based upon fact
and not emotions. Avoid the blame game at all costs so time is not wasted trying
to understand the problem,  instead, resolve the issue.  Also beware of
“emotional dispatching' which typically happens when customers or technicians
get under the skin of your dispatcher. Being in touch with your dispatcher
throughout the day control this by placing decisions more firmly in your hands
while taking the pressure off of the dispatcher.

Technician Accountability

This is to ensure time accountability and recording accuracy. For reasons we
wish to all understand, it seems extremely difficult to get your service
technicians to work an entire (8) hour shift. With apologies to the majority of
our hard working technicians that often go above and beyond the eight hour day
to ensure your customers are satisfied (there is always a percentage) there are
many that find ways to begin their work late or leave early. When you start
adding up the lost production hours through means such as MWA tech tracking, all
of a sudden you might find that you have more than enough support capacity to
prevent some of those “blown response time commitments” at the end of the day.
We resolve this issue through AM and PM checks. People do what you inspect and
what better way to demonstrate this by the FSM showing up at the technician's
first service call at 8:00 AM in the morning. This technique makes is a great
time to either recognize the individual for their outstanding work ethic, or
send a clear message that we begin the workday on time and that anything else
will not be tolerated. Some of our Field Service Managers will use the time to
review the truck stock, discuss training, or in some cases do their quarterly
review. Even if it is just to get organized along with a cup of coffee, the
message you send to the field gets around really fast and is very effective. The
AM check should be random most times but can be targeted at individuals with low
productivity as long as the technique is equally applied to others in the same
performance range. The same goes for PM checks in the afternoon. Its funny how
service calls can end at 4:30 PM everyday for the same individuals! Your field
service manager should be trained to spot this occurrence and be at the site one
afternoon to understand what is really going on. Again, the result might be
recognition or disciplinary action. The message you send to the field is one of
responsibility and work ethics.

Effective Audits

This is to ensure customer satisfaction and to maximize machine reliability.
Inspecting the quality of work in the field is one of the most important duties
of the field service managers. It is your right to understand what is really
going on with your service in the field and it cannot be managed by numbers
alone. The basic purpose of an audit is to check to see if the total call had
been done and if the initial problem had been resolved to the customer's
satisfaction. In addition, the field service manager would check to see if the
resolution to the problem had been properly explained to the customer, and if
any follow up issues needed attending to. The audit can point out deficiencies
not only in the quality of work performed, but also with your technician's
customer communications and timely follow up. This technique will get your
quality of service on track right away if you perceive there is an issue and,
once again, you are sending a clear message to the field what you expect from an
effective service call. Also, what better way to conduct a performance appraisal
with completed audits that clearly depict the quality of work in the field
without using numbers such as call back percentage rate? However, do not wait
for the appraisal as any failed audit must be reviewed immediately with the
technician so that corrective action can be made & the quality of work can be

Each of the field service manager responsibilities can be expanded on.
However, you have just read some of the basic techniques that can easily be
implemented within your service department and that can have a profound effect
on your company's performance. There is a wealth of outstanding reporting and
tracking software tools in our industry that can be used to spot issues and to
benchmark overall performance. Now you can begin to raise the bar on

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