7 Ways to Strengthen Communication with Techs in the Field


Andy Bagner
Implementation Manager
July 10, 2018
minutes to read

Get to the Point

  1. Use Job Notes - Make sure you have a set way to get information to your techs where they KNOW to check.
  2. Offer incentives - Everybody wants to be rewarded for doing something right!
  3. Set Expectations - Know when to text, or when to call. Know how often you want to communicate with the field, and make sure everybody is on the same page.

Here’s a story from when I was an HVAC tech. We had a customer with two houses on the same property. I was told “nobody is home just go in through the Bilco doors in the basement.” After I did the Air Conditioning tune up on the main house,  I went to the second house. I didn’t knock since they “weren’t” home. However, after I walked in, there was a young guy, probably 16 or 17 completely passed out on the couch! I had woken him up. And it was awkward. I could have used better communication that day.

So here are some ways you can avoid having your tech find a 16 year old asleep on a couch and improve communication with your team…

  1. Incentives - If you want your technicians to do something, offer something in return to show you’re serious about wanting better communication. The goal can be, respond to every text sent, or even just be on time to every job. When the gift card or cash is given out, make sure it’s coming from you, the dispatcher, since it is your communication that is being incentivized.
  2. Know When To Call and When To Text - This might seem simple, but having a idea of the urgency for each day-to-day task will help communication. If you, the dispatcher, needs to let your tech know another job note about the next job, a text is all you need. You don’t want to interrupt them on their current job. If a tech needs clarification on billing, a phone call would be more appropriate because it is an immediate obstacle to completing a job in a timely manner.
  3. Use Job Notes - Notes are LIFESAVERS, whether you’re texting, paging, writing, or using the Notes features inside Pointman each job should have notes. It’s here you can have the dispatcher let the tech know “Customer is home, and has been contacted” This saves a conversation, and will make sure technicians don’t show up to cancelled jobs.
  4. Use Job Notes - This one is so important we’re sharing it twice. Notes should be the primary place to share job specific information. It can be anything from the key is under the front mat so just go in, to make sure you’re ready for the dog, it jumps.
  5. Set Expectations - Let the technician know exactly how much information you need from them, and how you want them to send it. Once communication becomes second nature, operations will be smoother.
  6. Use Software - Find a dispatching software that works for you, not against you.
    A. Know where your techs are automatically. Pointman offers real time updates in the field so you can see where the technician is without a phone call. Technicians open their next job in a dashboard to get all the information they need (customer, address, supplies needed). Then with a click of a button, they change their status to ‘Dispatched’ once they are on their way. Upon arrival, they change their status to ‘Onsite’, then of course at the end of a visit, they report ‘Completed'.
    B. Let the App do the Work. The jobs in the technician's dashboard are updated automatically when changes to the schedule are made. With updates to the field in real time, your techs will only have the jobs they need on their dashboard. Emergencies and cancellations have never been easier to accommodate.
  7. Weekly Meetings - If you don’t have weekly meetings already, they are an easy add to help the whole team stay on the same page. Regular communication in person will help improve communication in the field. Meetings don’t need to be elaborate or long, but they should have a goal. Start with 15 minute meetings that focus on a different business goal each week.
Once communication becomes second nature, operations will be smoother

BONUS - You’ll actually make more money!

Higher Job Tickets - Pointman puts all the information in the hands of your technician on-site. They have the info they need to track, work, and close opportunities. Tracking equipment and other key owner information makes add-ons and up-sells easier. Jobs tickets tend to be 10% higher when our customer management software is used.

More Jobs - Having all the information makes things go faster, no more tracking people down, or calling to ask when the last service was on the equipment. Not only will you have more time for additional jobs, but following up past jobs will grow your number of loyal repeat customers. Improve customer engagement and customer delight, and you’ll see more jobs coming in.

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Look at Pricing

The start of the year is a great time to look at pricing. Usually, you have an idea of how your company fared the year prior, and you want to ensure you will continue to grow in the months to come. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with respect to spending or saving in our personal lives, and it’s no different for business owners. Making sure your pricing is in line with where it should be is one of the strongest ways to start the year the right way.

Part of looking at your price book is finding where the issues are, and that can take time. An HVAC company in January is going to be very busy, so it’s a difficult time for a close look. However, a plumbing company might not be as busy. Whenever you tackle this job, your best bet is to look at what your labor rates are. Start there, and let it trickle down across the board. Ask yourself, “Are my labor rates helping my business stay profitable?”

Remember, there are many different services out there and many different groups or communities that you can engage. Never hesitate to say, “Hey, I’m a business owner in Florida. What should my labor rates be?” You can build your price from there. There are also some great billable hour calculators available.

Set Goals

There is no better time of year for looking inward than January. Set your personal goals and company goals for the following 12 months. If you can break those down into departmental goals, even better! Perhaps that means a CSR booking closing rates a little better, or a truck doing 250,000 a year rather than 200,000.

Many companies have found that using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) goal-setting system pays off. Looking for a guidebook when it comes to OKRs? Check out Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr. 

One key question is the best way to handle setting goals: Is it smarter for business owners to handle this solo, together with staff, or to delegate completely? 

The best approach is to set goals at the department level. As an owner, you need to take the time to understand what the goals are in each department, and make sure they are in line with your goals for the company. No one likes to set unattainable goals for themselves, so make sure you push your departments to set goals that are lofty, rather than simple ones to feel good about hitting. Entrust your staff to aim higher, and watch how they respond.

Pass Along these Points

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