A well-trained field service team is the face of a company. When a technician arrives at a business or residence for troubleshooting and repair, the impression he or she leaves will be more telling than a company’s snazzy brand promises or expensive commercials. If the technician is highly competent, courteous, and goes above-and-beyond to help the customer, chances are, the customer is going to be left with a positive impression of the company, and will most likely keep using the company’s service or products. In contrast, a poorly trained technician who doesn’t complete the job properly, is rude, or who doesn’t have good people skills will have the opposite effect on the customer.

Training your field technicians thoroughly is essential for your company’s reputation and driving customer loyalty. Since it’s a new year, let’s explore some new employee training tips for your field service technicians.

The training trickle-down effect

In large organizations with hundreds of field service technicians, sending every tech through advanced training courses may not be economically feasible. With rapid changes in technology, or with continuous updates to your products, keeping your whole team up-to-speed may simply not be an option. If you feel constrained by the type of training you can offer your whole team, choose your top technicians and invest in their training – on a frequent basis. Designate them to be training leaders within the company who can teach their new skills to the other technicians in your organization. The key here is to make sure your company is still investing in state-of-the-art training programs – but use your own manpower and develop processes to ensure that the whole team can benefit from the high-level training.

Use technology to connect everyone in the field

If your field reps come across a problem they can’t solve, empower them through enterprise-level internal communication programs so they can instantly connect to other employees to get help and assist with troubleshooting. Invest in tablets so that field reps can connect to the network while they’re in the field and get advice from other reps, or connect to their training modules. The cost of tablets or smartphones will be much less expensive in the long run than paying for reps to reschedule the call if they are unable to troubleshoot on the spot.

Time your field training so it flows with the workflow

The height of your busy season is definitely not the time to invest in training for your field service technicians, nor is at the end of a busy field day. Structure your training sessions way in advance during your slower seasons, or schedule training on a rotating basis with your technicians so they can focus on field training – and just field training – instead of trying to fit it in between their normal workload. If you want to offer weekly refreshers or check in with your team, designate a morning where you can sit down with the team for coffee – before they go out into the field. Give your team breathing room and a lighter workload when you want to offer field training tips so they can focus on the training without the distractions of a heavy workload; they’ll be more receptive to learning and more relaxed.

Training for field service technicians is an investment, not a cost

Investing in your field service technicians has been shown to improve field resolution times, increase the number of service calls technicians can handle in a day, and improve your customer service scores. With a little strategy behind your field training investment, you will be able to maximize your training dollars and improve your field technician training program. Spend your training dollars wisely by designating top performers to train, and invest in technology that keeps everyone in your organization connected. Finally, schedule your field training times accordingly so that your team can get the maximum benefit from the training sessions.