If you could build your 2021 dream team, what would it look like?
A service team’s job is serious business. But there’s always room for a little fun in the planning process. Recently, Edwin Pahk, Aquant’s VP of Product Marketing and Business Development, asked service industry leaders an important question as part of the virtual roundtable, Building Your 2021 Service Dream Team.
“What does it mean to be the Michael Jordan of your service organization?”
The phrases he heard included:
- “Most experienced technician”
- “Provide cultural support”
- “Problem solver”
- “The glue of the team”
- “Push the team forward”
It sounds a lot like the legendary basketball player, doesn’t it? Of course, it’s unrealistic (and likely not profitable) for every member of your service organization to be a Michael Jordan. You need players with the right mix of experience, a dedicated coach, and an organizational structure that enables your customers to succeed, too.
Here’s how to build a service dream team.
The Role of the Superstar
Gyner Ozgul, SVP of Operations at Smart Care Equipment Solutions, says his superstars are his lead technicians. “I usually start there to understand what we’re hearing from customers or technicians and things we need to know about as an organization,” he says. “Not only are they culturally there to support [the team] and give them moral support and advice, but also to push the team forward to excel in terms of performance.”
Superstars are skilled at fixing problems, but they also think beyond the problem at hand. A superstar might repair one part, but before leaving, they’ll make sure all the other parts are running smoothly to avoid any unplanned downtime.
Richard Albanese, VP Technical Support & Service Training at United Imaging, offered a slightly different perspective on these superstars. He describes his idea of a star employee as someone who may start out knowing very little about the industry, but “through support, mentoring, and training becomes one of our superstars.” These team members are eager to learn, confident in front of customers, collaborative, and supportive of other team members.
Still, in the words of John Carroll, CEO of Service Council, “service is a team sport.” You can’t have a dream team if you only hire superstars. He talks about a technician-agnostic infrastructure being crucial to success—and driven by access to information. “How are you enabling your team in the field to do the things they need to do?”
This brings us to our next step.
How to Assemble the Rest of Your Dream Team
At United Imaging, the service dream team has a mix of field service engineers supported by technical support and senior engineers. Albanese describes technical support and senior engineers as “the gurus of the organization” that hold all the technical knowledge and serve as role models and mentors. “We like to staff our team about 30 percent of these industry veterans and then 70 percent early career.”
Layered on top of that experience mix are collaboration tools and a culture driven by teamwork. Ultimately, that leads to early career team members becoming the next generation of superstars.
The same is true at Smart Care Equipment Solutions. The goal is to create an environment “so that the technician who’s been here 40 years has the same level of access to information as a technician that’s been here four,” says Ozgul.
But let’s take a step back. What if you don’t already have the right team members in place for this dream team.
“You’re going to have to think differently,” says Ozgul
Here are a few things to look for in your search:
- Do they demonstrate problem-solving skills?
- Do they have an eagerness to learn?
- Are they confident during the interview?
Once you have a team that demonstrates these qualities, says Albanese, it’s up to you to create a culture that empowers people and focuses on collaboration.
And what about recognizing future superstars? Albanese says to look for people who are already:
- Evangelizing your product
- Ambassadors to your brand
- Influencing customers to repurchase
Don’t Forget the Coach
Your dream team isn’t complete without a coach. “The coach sets the theme of the culture and the team,” says Albanese. “You need to foster open collaboration across boundaries and not build artificial hierarchies. Allow anybody and everybody who can support or provide a solution to join in. If you have a potential solution, it doesn’t matter if you work in sales or work in the factory. It’s the coach’s role to break down the boundaries of collaboration.
Keeping Your Dream Team Together
It’s one thing to build your dream team. It’s an entirely different challenge to keep these talented employees engaged.
“One of the alarming trends that came from the recent release of the Field Service Engineer study was that two-thirds of the technicians responded that they were not likely to be a technician for the remainder of their career,” says Carroll. He recommends gaining a strong understanding of what these team members like and dislike about the job.
Here are some findings to get you started:
- They like being outside of an office
- They like solving problems
- They like the work and interacting with customers
- They like the autonomy of the role
- They dislike the paperwork and administrative tasks
- They dislike the pressure to work faster
- They dislike time spent looking for information
- They dislike having all of their actions tracked
While some of these dislikes are unavoidable, it’s best to emphasize the positives and tone down the negatives wherever possible.
Almost Time for Tip-Off (Final Thoughts)
We shared a lot of information above. If your dream team feels like a work in progress, that’s ok. Start small and build momentum over time. Invest in the right technology infrastructure that will deliver real value in the long run. Whether in business or the sports world, dream teams aren’t assembled overnight.
Learn more. Listen to the replay of Building Your 2021 Service Dream Team.