Add Value to Your Customer Relationships
Originally published: 04.01.18 by Jim Baston
Perhaps one of the greatest opportunities for field service organizations is to engage their field teams in business development activities. What better way to increase revenues without adding to overheads?
It is just a matter of encouraging those technicians to make recommendations to your customers and providing them with the skills to help them engage your customer in conversation.
How you view the role of the technician when they engage in proactive business development is important. You may regard the promotion of products and services by your technicians as a selling ativity that is conducted in addition to the service work that the technician is there to perform.
If you do, then I encourage you to reconsider this perspective.
I suggest that you view the technician’s proactive efforts as a service rather than a selling activity. As a service activity, it is an integral part of the overall service that the technician provides.
It is as important as the technician’s ability to troubleshoot, repair and maintain the equipment. Here’s why a service perspective to product and service promotions is important.
Product, Service Promotion Provides Value
If product and service promotion by technicians is a service, then the underlying reason behind making recommendations must be focused on improving service levels.
The logic of this strategy becomes, “How can we leverage the expertise and proximity of our field service personnel in a manner that profitably serves the customer so well that they would never think of going anywhere else?”
When you approach promotion from this perspective, we avoid making recommendations for the sake of “selling” and focus entirely on promoting only those products and services that we think provide a measurable benefit for the customer.
Business promotion as a service is consistent with the technicians’ view of their role. If you see business promotion by your technicians as a selling activity, then it can be perceived as an added activity that is required in addition to their role of servicing the equipment.
Unfortunately, when this happens, technicians may be reluctant to embrace this initiative. They see themselves as service people, not sales people.
If you position business promotion as an integral part of the service provided, however, all of this changes. Technicians provide great value when they use their knowledge and expertise, along with their understanding of the goals of the customer to identify steps that the customer can take to help them achieve their business goals.
This is a service and, by helping your technicians recognize this fact you can position this activity as integral to the work that they do.
Business Promotion as a Service
When a customer is confronted by a service technician who is perceived as selling, then they get confused because the technician is supposed to be there to serve and not sell. The bond of trust between the customer and the technician starts to erode.
When the technician only makes recommendations that they personally feel is in the customers’ best interest and can demonstrate how their recommendation can help the customer achieve their goals, however, the customer will appreciate their efforts and recognize those recommendations as part of the service that they are receiving.
As a service, business promotion by technicians can be a significant business differentiator. When we focus our technicians and resources on using their knowledge and expertise to identify opportunities that will benefit the customer, we can use this strategy as a significant business differentiator.
If proactive business promotion by your technicians is perceived as a selling activity, you may be reluctant to tell your customers what your technicians are up to. That is because promoting products and services for the purpose of increasing revenues is not a very compelling story.
If you recognize that the proactive efforts of your field service team is a service activity, however, then you can position this as a positive for the customer and use it to differentiate your business from your competitors.
Developing a strategy to engage your field service technicians in proactive business development activities is not only a good strategy to increase revenues without adding to overheads, but also an excellent approach to develop a higher level of service that differentiates your company from your competitors.
Help your technicians see the value of their efforts as a service, provide them the guidance and the skill set to be successful and let your customers know how their proactive efforts will help them achieve their goals.