Training is an investment. As with any business decision, stakes are involved. Therefore, choosing what and how to train your field service workforce shouldn’t be a snap decision. You need to take several factors into account and assess the potential return on investment for your business.
That being said, training can be a very smart investment indeed. Many field service executives recognize the many potential benefits of training on their operations. In fact, according to a recent study, training is the number 1 area of investment for service executives.
The benefits of workforce training
There are many good reasons to train your workforce, including:
1. Service consistency
Training helps to develop standards that help ensure consistent performance and service across the board.
2. Worker satisfaction and retention
Helping your workforce strengthen weaker skills and develop new ones can boost their confidence, morale, and job satisfaction. It’s been proven time and time again that satisfied workers are more likely to stick around than unsatisfied ones.
Training increases employees’ knowledge and helps them identify and apply appropriate solutions to problems more quickly.
To learn more about boosting field service productivity, read our blog on improving field service productivity with existing data.
Following an up-to-date training course helps field technicians stay on top of the latest methods in a particular field and offer skills to customers that competitors may lack.
All of the above—consistency, worker satisfaction and retention, productivity, and competitiveness—can lead to increased profitability. Training workers in other areas (aka cross-service training) such as customer service and sales can also have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Pick a training subject, but not just any subject
Field service workers can benefit from training in several areas of the business. You could consider advancing their technical ability, or even honing their customer service and sales skills.
Here are some training areas to consider for your field service team:
1. Technical training
Let’s start with the obvious one. Technical skills are the main reason you brought every one of your technicians on board. Each one has outstanding technical skills, backed by top industry certifications.
But technical training shouldn’t stop there. Technical practices, technologies, and techniques are constantly evolving, so it’s important to keep your team’s skills up-to-date by consistently offering them the latest technical training in their field. That way, they can continue offering competitive service.
2. Non-technical training
Yes, technical ability is paramount. But the best technicians also have strong skills in other business areas that they touch on in their day-to-day. They offer customers a great overall experience and generate more business on the ground. Non-technical skills pay, literally. Here are a cross-service training areas to consider to help your technicians develop their non-tech skills.
- Customer service training
Customer service should be any company’s top priority. According to recent findings, 7 out of 10 US consumers claim to have spent more for great service. In fact, experience is now a more important factor than the price in a customer’s purchase decision. In the field service industry, technicians have arguably the most important role in influencing the customer experience, which is why they need the skills to deliver.
- Sales training
Out of everyone in your company, field service technicians are in the best position to make sales. They are the ones in the company visiting customers every day and learning about customer needs and challenges. Sales training can help them spot sales opportunities on the ground and nurture customers, and ultimately help increase your operation’s bottom line.
To choose the right training for your workers, start by assessing which new or improved skills would have the biggest impact on your business. Find the biggest skills gaps: ask yourself which goals are your priority and which skills can help you achieve them. For instance, if you’re not getting enough new leads or repeat business to hit sales targets, you might consider investing in sales training to help your team build on their sales skills.
The way you train also matters
Not everyone enjoys learning the same way. Each person has his or her preferred learning style and method, including aural, visual, and physical. To know which training method is right for your technicians, simply start by asking them which one they prefer. You could also think about which training methods have brought the most success in the past.
You could also consider blended learning—a combination of various training methods. A recent industry study found that companies had the most success using a combination of three training methods: instructor-led training, online self-paced training, and live online training.
Measure the impact of training
Successful training doesn’t stop at the last lesson. To help your workers get the most out of their training and understand its impact on the business, you need to measure its efficacy. Do this by speaking to your team and looking at quantitative results.
- Get feedback from your team
Listen to your workforce. Once your team has completed a training course, ask them for feedback. What was their biggest takeaway? How will they implement it at work? That way, you can learn what was useful and what wasn’t. This can help you decide what to repeat or avoid in the future.
- Look at the results
The ultimate goal of training is to have a positive impact on the business—whether that be employee satisfaction, revenue, or something else. To understand the impact of training on your business, you need to measure its return on investment (ROI). You can do this in several ways. The most “standard” calculation, according to chron.com, is:
ROI (percentage) = ((Monetary benefits – Training Costs)/Training Costs) x 100.
When measuring the impact on a specific aspect of your business, you need to measure any new figures against baseline figures (taken before training). Say you want to measure the impact of sales training on the number of sales made by technicians. You would need to compare the number of sales per month post-training to the same variable pre-training.
Expert Service Solutions offers a fully-integrated ERP solution and an FSM management app for field service businesses. To learn more about how our platforms can help you and your field team, please get in touch.